Are you jumping right over the Marketing Strategy?

  Photo by andy_c

Maybe this has happened to you.  You’ve got a great idea for a new product or a new business – something you just know people are going to be lining up to buy.  You do some quick back of the napkin business planning and realize that you need to get the word out on your new brilliant stuff!  You need a website, or advertising or public relations!

The problem is that you’ve jumped directly to a marketing tactic and you’ve totally skipped the marketing strategy!

I’ve talked before about the importance of consistency when it comes to winning the marketing game – consistency comes from having a clear strategy for your marketing to begin with and then being able to stick to a plan.  However you have to have the plan first!

Not sure what I mean?  Here are 5 questions that will help you form your strategy first:

Marketing Strategy  – where to start?

I ran across a great marketing resource recently – The Reality Marketing Revolution, I haven’t had a chance to read the book yet (it’s back-ordered on Amazon) but I’ve heard good reviews and I did get to check out some of their other materials.

One of the things I really liked is their list of questions to consider as you’re looking at marketing your business or product.  It’s similar to the many conversations I have had with business owners.  However they’ve really honed it down to 5 straightforward questions that have to be answered if you’re going to have a strategy.

Question 1:  What are the company’s revenue goals over the next 12 – 18 months?

What do you really want to get out of this product or business?  If you don’t have a clear idea of how big this is going to be, then you can’t really determine how many customers you need, how large your reach is, etc.

Question 2:  Who is the exact target audience that will purchase your service?

The exact target audience…not everyone who can fog a mirror, but a detailed breakdown of what that audience looks like, acts like, thinks and feels if you can get there.  You have to know who you’re talking to if you’re going to be able to communicate with them.

Question 3:  What pains and problems does this target market have when they purchase services like yours?

You’re solving problems (or at least you better be if you want to succeed) but unless you’ve created something totally new, there’s an existing marketplace out there and they are likely unhappy with some aspects of existing solutions.  If they’re not unhappy it could be a tough market to get into (unlikely but possible).  You need to know what they’re not happy with:  An example:  Service Repair technicians that schedule an 8 hour window to come over and fix your appliances, cable, etc. 

Question 4:  What solutions does your company provide to cure those pains?

You have to provide a quality product or service, but to stand out you will need to do more.  You need to solve those other issues.  I know Joe’s plumbing will fix my sink, but I don’t know when he’s coming over and he always makes a mess.  If you can fix my sink and I can get a firm appointment and you’ll be extra careful not to leave a mess…then Joe’s out an existing customer!

Question 5:  How are those solutions remarkable enough to start a buzz and set you apart from the competition?

This one is tough – I’ve talked before about Shatto Milk as a great example of taking something common and doing something remarkable with it.  At Shatto they don’t really sell milk, they sell a premium drink with unusual and interesting flavors in old fashioned glass containers that both makes the drink taste fresher and is the epitome of green!  They sell milk, but it’s remarkable milk that people talk about and will pay a premium for.

Bottom line – you need to have a pretty good answer to all of the above questions if you want to succeed in the long run.  Have you taken the time to think through your overall strategy…before jumping into tactics?  If you need someone to talk you through all of the above – you might consider your local business coach!  😉

What does your business do to stand out and solve the problems people typically have with your industry?  I’d love to hear your examples – share them below.

Shawn Kinkade Kansas City Small Business Coach