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!