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Making Marketing Toe the Mark

Making Marketing Toe the Mark

Tom Daly | SmallBizLink

Most small businesses don’t have marketing, but too many of those that do, don’t get what they need.

Don’t give marketing any excuse
As a business owner, you expect your employees to do their job. Then why do you allow marketing to only do half the job? You allow them to place ads and print flyers which do nothing to improve your business. Why? Probably because you yourself don’t know exactly what they should do, or how to recognize a good job from a bad one.

What should marketing do for you?
In its simplest definition, marketing should bring prospects to your door ready to do business. If your marketing people are not bringing them in the door ready to do business, then it is time for a change. That change may or may not require new people, but it does mean that you’ll have to change either your message or delivery vehicle.

Does anyone need what you sell?
If they do, that is good, because it will make it easier to sell. Should you be in the unfortunate position of trying to sell exactly what others sell, then your marketing people must innovate – make a change which gives you something special to sell. It can be a product, a service, or delivery mechanism, but it has to be something different than others offer and it has to be something your clients/customers want. If they tell you they can only sell on price, get new people. Price is #6 in buyer importance, not #1.

Create a powerful message
Every successful business has two things: 1. Something they do better than their competitors, and 2. A powerful message that tells everyone what they do that is so special. Your marketing people have to ask and test. Ask customers what they want, and then test to be sure it is true, that customers will buy if they are given what they have said they want. Surely, they wouldn’t lie to you, would they? No, but then again they don’t really know why they buy. So testing is important.

I once worked for a small division of a very large company better known for appliances than the technical product we were selling, and we flew all over the country asking our customers what they wanted in this product. A year later we came back with what they described, and nobody bought it! We should have created a test purchase situation to find out what they actually would buy.

Once you know for sure what they will buy (and why), then your marketing people should create a powerful message which they weave into all of the support material they produce. If they don’t have the writing skills to do this (and most don’t), then they should find a good copywriter.

And where should this message go?
It should go to the same places that your buyers go to obtain purchasing information. Why spend money transmitting your message in places your buyers never visit? To find out, ask your buyers.

Measure twice and cut once
Ask all callers and buyers how they found you, and record the results. The promotional material which brings the most business, you keep. The next best, you improve. All the rest, you cut. They are a waste of your money. Use the saved money on the effective material and marketing venues.

After you do this a few times, your marketing will be bringing prospects to your door ready to do business, but only if you push your marketing people until they measure up to t

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