Archive for marketing
Today we’ll cover part 2 of our 3 part series on, “What Is Marketing?’
In the last post (What is marketing part 1) we covered some of the basics of what categories fit into marketing and talked a little bit about PR and Sales.
Today I want to start a list of marketing strategies you can consider when you start to build out your marketing plan and marketing calendar.
I say ‘start a list’ because there are as many marketing strategies as there are creative people in the world… and there are new possibilities for marketing coming up each and every day.
An example of a completely new area of marketing in the last few years is social media. Until the last few years social media didn’t even exist and now it makes up a large portion of many entrepreneurs marketing time, energy and sometimes budget.
I invite you to add any of your favorite marketing strategies to this list by adding them to the comments below. :- )
(Also, if you are looking for a big comprehensive list, I happen to provide one in my Marketing in the Morning™ program – if you want to learn more about that, as well as my single most important tip on marketing, you’ll want to check out my upcoming FREE webinar. You can register here.)
So here’s the ‘start’ of the list:
- Google Hangouts
- Online Forums
- Online Advertising
- Business Cards
- Hotel Keys
- Magazine Ads
- Editorial Coverage (PR)
- Sidewalk Art (the legal kind :- ) )
Getting the drift? The list simply goes on and on and is only limited by your imagination. What would be fun for you to do in your marketing today?
In our next post we’ll continue to dig into What Is Marketing as we talk about your compelling message, so be sure to check back!
Today I want to dive into a pretty BIG question… What Is Marketing?
The reason I want to explore this is because it’s a question I believe people want to ask, but are often afraid to ask when in a group or when talking to a marketing ‘expert’. Heck, it could be embarrassing, right?
There was a time, some years ago, when I didn’t understand or know what marketing was… I confused sales, PR and marketing and really didn’t understand how the different parts fit together, never mind how they fit in my business.
So, for anyone who really wants to know, “What is marketing?” Let’s dig in… we’ll do this in 3 parts. :- )
The first part, which we’ll cover today, is the overall picture of the activity of ‘marketing’.
According to Merriam-Webster.com, this is the primary definition of marketing: the activities that are involved in making people aware of a company’s products, making sure that the products are available to be bought, etc.
The secondary definitions add a bit to it, so I’ll include them as well:
1a : the act or process of selling or purchasing in a market
1b : the process or technique of promoting, selling, and distributing a product or service
2: an aggregate of functions involved in moving goods from producer to consumer
What does all this tell us? Basically, marketing is any activity that gets the word out about your product or service or helps people to make a purchase of your goods.
So, by definition, it makes sense that I was once confused (and you might be too) about what fits under the umbrella of marketing. Basically – it’s ALL the activities – which means ‘Marketing’ includes PR, it includes sales, and it includes the typical activities most people label as ‘marketing’ – things like advertising, social media, pamphlets, business cards, networking and much, much more.
Now, I do separate PR, Sales and Marketing into 3 sub-categories for marketing as it makes understanding each area much easier, and it has helped me and my clients figure out what areas to place focus as we grow our businesses.
To me, PR, or public relations, is the process of getting ‘editorial’ style coverage for you, your business, product or service. Meaning, someone else is saying things about you to their audience… often, that makes it a VERY valuable piece of the overall promotion and marketing puzzle. Without a doubt it’s one of the things that needs to go into your marketing plan.
And, to me, sales is the process of helping someone determine if you, your product or service is the right fit for what they want or need. Without the sales process, you could do all the marketing and PR you want and you might not ever have money flow into your business. It’s the final step in the marketing process and deserves a great deal of your attention.
Finally, ‘Marketing’ as I’m defining it here are all the activities you do to make people aware of your business, products and services. As I mentioned – everything from advertising to business cards fits into this category – and in order to have a successful business, you’ll need to have a whole SLEW of marketing strategies in place and working for your business to grow.
In the next post we’ll dig more into the question, “What is marketing,” by looking deeper into all the different marketing strategies you can consider as you build out your marketing plan and your business.
What is a ‘customer driven marketing strategy’ you ask?
It is a marketing strategy that keeps your customers squarely in the middle of everything you do… from the beginning stages right through the end… and it’s the only kind of strategy you will want to use for your business.
Here’s a bit about what goes into a customer driven marketing strategy:
Focused On Your Target Market
This means you know as much as you possibly can about who they are, what they want, what they need, what their preferences are and more. You understand all of the demographics and psychographics of your target market (you can read more about those here) that is possible, and you take every opportunity to learn more. Then, you make sure all of your marketing is planned and oriented toward them and what they want… sometimes that means forgetting completely about you and what you want if your market is different than you or varies from you and your wants, needs, and preferences.
Satisfying BIG Wants and Meeting BIG Needs
This means that all of your marketing is focused on helping your current and potential clients understand how what you have or what you do satisfies their most important wants and needs. Oftentimes people are more motivated to take care of their wants than their needs (Example? Most of us would rather buy a new dress, new shoes, or an awesome new smart phone than tires for our car…). Customer driven marketing strategy is all about educating your prospects and clients on how what you’ve got meets what THEY want and what THEY need.
Finding Out What THEY Think
With customer driven marketing strategy you are always interested in your people… so you ask them for feedback ALL THE TIME. You conduct surveys, you talk with them and ask questions, you find out how they are using your product or service, how it’s working for them and how you can make it better. This sounds challenging, but it’s really pretty easy – it’s about having conversations and focusing on collecting information all about THEM. People love to share their thoughts, ideas and opinions, so you focus on giving them room to do it and you let that information guide your future product and service development and ALL of your marketing.
The Big Bang For Your Effort
Many things can come from customer driven marketing strategy… just a couple include building tremendous customer loyalty and raving fans. When people feel truly taken care of and understood they share their joy and delight with others, and they keep coming back for more.
How can you look at your marketing efforts and begin to shift them to customer driven marketing strategy?
So, what goes into your marketing plan?
Today I want to talk about the marketing funnel that goes into your marketing plan.
Your marketing funnel is generally a visual representation of the steps and stages a potential client (and then client) can travel through your business. It’s often pictured as a funnel (as in this picture below), or turned around the other way, making a pyramid shape.
At the top of the funnel is where you would have any free offers you are putting out to the world. You want to remember, as you put out those offers, they need to be very enticing and they need to connect deeply with one of the bigger wants and needs (if you can do both, all the better) of your target market. You also want to make sure that you are truly serving people – giving them some of your very best stuff. This is your chance to make a stellar impression, so don’t cheap out on this.
The next step in the funnel is something that is also easily accessible, so it may be a well-priced offer that gives a lot of great support and information as well. It lets people try you out in another way and begin to wade into the waters, without having to commit to something huge, or dive right in – which most people are just not ready or willing to do.
On occasion, someone will be ready, though, so you want to make sure that this funnel isn’t a requirement – it’s not set up like pre-requisite courses in college. You don’t HAVE to go through the 101 level to decide you want to dive into the deep end and go big. If you have someone who loves your work and they’re ready for the whole kit-and-caboodle, then let them go for it, and give them an awesome experience.
In the next level, you step things up a notch – both from the standpoint of the level of investment and the level of time and service involved. People that reach this stage have often invested before, they’ve tried you out and they’re ready to go into the waste deep water now. They’re making a commitment.
Then, as you continue to flow downward, you add premium offerings. As the funnel suggests, a smaller number of people will trickle down to that level, but it’s ok. The people that do are your best customers. These are the ones who are generally raving fans (there can be some at every level, but these folks are deeply invested in your products and services).
The idea behind this piece of your marketing plan is that once you get someone who is interested in you and what you offer, you want to make sure you continue to serve them in multiple ways. You want to find out as much as you can about what they want and what they need solved, and you want to create and offer products and services that give them what they want.
When you do, your business has depth, and you can build long-term relationships with your clients, giving them more of what they want, and in turn, building a business that grows and thrives.
Here’s a question I get all the time…
People ask, “What is a marketing plan and why is it important… is it like a business plan? Do I have to create one? What goes in it?”
I don’t even get to answer before there are about 5 more questions added on the end… it’s something people understand is important, but they don’t know enough about it to even decide if they want to learn more.
What Is A Marketing Plan
A marketing plan is basically a way to lay out (to plan) the marketing for your business, your products, and/or your services. It covers everything from information about your target market to specific step-by-step processes you will use to build certain marketing systems and strategies.
It is a document that helps to guide you while you build your marketing, it helps you stay on track to building a more successful business, and it helps you focus your attention on your marketing – which can be a pretty hard for many people.
A marketing plan, the way I help my clients build them, is for internal use within your business, and serves as a map to help you and your team get to the destination you’ve chosen for your business.
Why Is A Marketing Plan Important
Frankly, marketing is one of the single most important places you can focus your attention in your business. Particularly if you hope to create a successful business. Marketing equals money,when it is done right, and most businesses don’t put nearly enough attention on their marketing planning process, or on their marketing.
That means that creating a solid marketing plan that can help guide you throughout the year, and help you stay focused on building the systems you determined, would support your business growth the way you want it to go. It is one of the best ways to assure your success.
Marketing is challenging for most people, until they learn more about it and have some successful experiences… then they often become ‘converts’ and start singing the praises of marketing. Until then (which can take a little while) having a plan or a guide can make all the difference between focusing on the things that will create income and bring in customers, and the things that are perhaps easier to do, but that won’t have the same level of impact.
So, what is a marketing plan and why is it important? The bottom line is it is a guide to building a successful business, and it’s important because without one, you can get hopelessly lost and never reach your destination which in this case, is a level of success with your business that makes you happy.
And, speaking of marketing plans… we’re going to be talking about them and several other key tips to having marketing that really works to bring in the clients and increase your bottom line on my next webinar. If you’re interested, you can register for it here.