Small business owners resist creating marketing strategy like many resist getting their teeth cleaned.
Over the years, I’ve discovered why this is: An effective marketing strategy requires understanding who you are, choosing to be different than everyone else, and committing to one simple way of doing, acting and creating – to the exclusion of all other ways of doing, acting, and creating.Now, that’s some scary stuff!
The above set of requirements may seem difficult to accomplish, but accomplish them and you will set your business free from the tyranny of making up the idea of the week over and over again. However, that’s the crutch that keeps business owners from ever taking strategy head on. It’s far too easy to just grab another tactic, this week’s twitter, and run with it. If this week’s tactic fails, no harm, no foul, find next week’s thing. (A bit of a dart board strategy approach.)
When you commit to a marketing strategy, you’ve actually got to put your entire authentic self on the line and that scares the hell out of people. What if that fails, how do you recover? Well, it starts with a realistic and practical way of thinking about strategy and a mindset that links your marketing strategy to the culture of your organization – if a marketing strategy is real and true for you, your customers, and your people, to some extent you cannot fail.
My take is that a marketing strategy should scare you a bit, push to you an uncomfortable place, and make you stretch – otherwise is may never truly require you to anything remarkable to reach it.
Here’s what you need to discover and capitalize on to create your one true marketing strategy.
What business are we really in? – another way of saying this is – what does your customer really buy when they buy your product or service? – does someone buy insurance because they want an insurance policy? Do they hire a plumber because they’ve always had a hankering for a new P trap? Well, what do they really get from a successful experience with you – it’s probably not what you think.
Who is our ideal customer? - You’ve undoubtedly read this from me already, but I can’t say it enough – not everyone is your ideal customer, you’ve got to know enough about that perfect customer you are trying to attract, so much so that anyone in your organization could spot who is and who is not that customer. Hint: look long and hard at the make up of customers that are referring business to you – there’s a good chance they hold the key to discovering your ideal customer.
What do we do that our customer really values? – The answer to this question is the essence of your thrust to differentiate your business from all others in your industry. It’s likely that you have a unique way of doing business, serving the customer, and creating a winning experience, it’s also just as likely you have no idea what that unique value is, but your customers do – go ask them to tell you what your magic is and then let it shine in all your marketing messages, because it’s a pretty good bet your ideal prospect wants that too.
The best news of all is that once you do this, decision making – what new product should we create, what should our direct mail say, how can we use Facebook – gets very, very easy. Simply ask yourself – how would this help us achieve our marketing strategy?
Just remember, safe is boring – bold is where the opportunity resides, bold is how your create something extraordinary – do it now!
If you’ve read this blog for any amount of time you know that my definition of marketing is getting someone who has a need to know, like and trust you. And that’s precisely why I give Chris Brogan and Julien Smith’s book Trust Agents in the must read category.
This is blatant promotion for someone who’s earned my trust, as I hope I’ve earned yours.
Trust is hard earned and so easily lost, but more that a useful read, this book is a toolset that shows you exactly how to engage, build your reputation and earn trust in a shifting marketing world. In addition to buying and reading this book I suggest your follow Chris and Julien around the web and learn from the example that available in every tweet, presentation, and blog post.
You can also find out more about how to get Chris to come out and share his wisdom with your organization –check it out here.
Have you ever wondered about who you’re interviewing for a position, buying something from on Craigslist, dating (or, even worse, who your kids are dating)? You can do a Google search, but there are many people with same name. I discuss a service that enables you to enter a person’s email address and find his or her presence on more than fifty sites at a time. Click here to read it—before it’s too late
The long tale is the never-ending story you tell your prospects, your customers and your employees.
The hard part is getting a little bit of permission to start telling your tale. The overlooked part, the part that wastes all that permission, is that you forget to keep telling your story.
Are you really the same as you were a year ago? How often do you re-introduce yourself? What's truly new (as opposed to what does the salesforce think is new)? What's the next chapter that matters? Almost all the goodness of marketing comes not from the big announcement, but from the long tale.
When the outside world changes, do you? Does the regulatory or environmental or competitive marketplace have an impact on you or us? That's part of the tale. Share it.
Recent volatility in Global Market did pose a question on the credibility of outsourcing market; hundreds of highly trained and hard working professionals recruited from India’s best colleges/universities were laid off to save the multi billion dollar companies from vanishing.
These moves not just made consideration of uncertainty in one’s career important but also lead to changes in trend of employment statistics in India. And as said “Change is always good” (at least I believe so!) the situation demanded the working population to think about other possibilities.
Self Employment came out as a major resultant of the situation. No doubt the idea doesn’t promise six digit salary and added perks and luxury but it does manage to give self reliance to an individual.
Many of you might question how does it save one from uncertainty? In fact it escalates the same. For that doubt I don’t have any sound fact to defend but a simple logic, just the way in a highly paid job we tend to bestow our faith in its management (obviously run by key individuals), in case of self employment the onus falls on one’s self (SELF EMPLOYMENT).
So, this form of employment is more than just earning money (analogy is intended for the perks). Indian employment sector is witnessing evolving growth pattern in this area.
The dependency rate which is estimated to be around 17.1 (17 for 100 working people) for India in 2025, is expected to go down if the trend continues. Until now rural India has dominated this sector with self employment of 57% among males and nearly 62% among females. The corresponding figures in urban India were 42% for male and 44% for female.
Though there are reasons to cheer for the shifting trend as it reflects the growing entrepreneurial values among the masses and the healthy quest to explore possibilities there are reasons to be concerned about as well.
Our government is still contemplating to give this sector its share of recognition, self employment is still regarded as part of Unorganized Sector, which could be a major turn off for aspiring participants.
Moreover, while education system does play its part to inculcate basic skills among youth, traits like creativity and innovation can’t be taught, they can be harnesses and honed. MNC’s can play a vital role here to make up for the missing attribute of our present education system.
So instead of working aimlessly for these big corporations’ youth can work for a reason, this not only offer challenges to ones skill but the psychological factors can release many from the gloominess of mundane and extracting work life.
Would love to hear your views on this!
[The post has been written by Kirti Agarwal, an engineer by profession and aspiring consultant/analyst. you can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org ]