Anyone in business must market. Yet which marketing strategies are the best choice?
What will deliver the most response from your audiences? How do you get the biggest return on your investment?
There are so many choices these days, it’s important to narrow your focus and not spread your budget and time too thin. After more than 35 years in the marketing business, working with clients in many diverse industries–from non-profits to government; food processing to manufacturing; education to financial services–I’ve seen and managed the marketing strategies that work.
Every effective strategy starts with the audiences you must reach to be successful.
We offer these five essential marketing questions.
Answer them and you’ll have the foundation for the marketing strategies that will drive response for your organization and your audiences. Answer them and you’ll transform your marketing results.
(Each question is linked to a longer blog post with more explanation)
- Define your “someone” first. Who is your target audience? Create “personas” that define demographics, lifestyle and role in a purchase decision.
- Then define your offer… what are you selling? Also …what are they buying? (see #4) They’re not buying the product or service you offer, they’re buying the result or outcome, the problem you solve.
- When you know who “they” are and you have a good profile, you’ll be able to pinpoint where they’re looking. And keep in mind, 80% of adults these days began any search for goods and services online.
- Whether you’re presenting your organization online, in real time in a retail store, or at a meeting or conference, keep it simple, clean and recognizable.
- What do you stand for? What do you offer? Think “at a glance” and “sound bites” … which is how we all take in information or recognize a company, brand or product.
- Is your presentation clear, quick to read or see, and easy to understand by your target audiences? Avoid industry lingo or acronyms. Use images that reflect what they’re looking for.
- When someone is looking for what you offer, they’re looking at other options within a category, your competition. How do you stand out against the others? What makes you unique and recognizable?
- A strong visual brand will help you differentiate from others. Focus on stepping out of the chaos and confusion with color and design that is unlike the others. No more “me too” marketing.
- Marketing strategies must be about who you’re trying to reach and how they perceive what you’re offering.
- What are the perceptions or mis-perceptions? Why should they care? Why should they choose you?
- Rather than listing the features of the products or services you provide, focus on the benefits. What are the outcomes and results a buyer/user will receive?
- People have little patience these days. You must make the next move clear and simple–whether it’s where to go on a website, what the price is, or a phone number to call. Don’t make people think.
- In today’s online world, people are using more sources to learn, evaluate and compare before they buy. You can become the top choice by helping them choose.
- Provide information that is helpful in the decision process and you’ll build a relationship.
- Is there a clear call to action on a website page, on every ad or mailer?
These five questions give you the framework for developing marketing strategies that are tuned for your audiences, focused on what you offer, and designed for your category. Understanding how, where and when your audiences connect and choose will give you the foundation for success.