So, I have a story I’d like to share.
While doing a presentation on marketing at an AG event in Saskatchewan, Jean and I had an interesting encounter with a local businessman who pronounced marketing a waste of time. He also said it was easy – that anyone could do it. And the kicker was that he announced all of this to the entire audience just before our session.
Whether it was ego, a lack of understanding or that he had this perverse desire to shock everyone in attendance, it’s hard to say why he said what he did when, time and time again, a marketing strategy has demonstrated its weight in gold. How do you think MacDonald’s, Nike or Apple got where they did? Through a lot of hard work and determination, yes, but well-designed marketing campaigns sealed the deal.
Maybe Mr. Local Businessman truly believes in the saying “If you build it, they will come.” But just think about that. Firstly, “they” have to know about it. Then you have to convince them that they need it. Or perhaps, more appropriately, you decide to build it because they want it. Seems to me he made no effort to consider any of this.
It’s a well-known fact, at least to most business owners, that just because you have a great idea doesn’t mean people are going to flock to buy it. You can put together a promotional flyer or post an ad in the local newspaper, which may work for the duration of a sale or for a short period of time. But what about beyond that?
What many businesses may not realize is that a comprehensive, well-thought-out marketing strategy – a plan with a vision, tactics and budget – pays off in the long haul. It can be a bit of a slog to put together, but the investment (time, money and effort) will be worth it.
Before we go any further, what is marketing?
Marketing can be defined as “the process of exploring, creating and delivering value to meet the needs of a target market in terms of goods and/or services.”
In other words, it’s the development of strategies that make it possible for you to successfully sell your product and/or services to customers who need or want what you are offering. It’s more than one-off selling tactics or relying on the same old sales every year.
Every marketing strategy has key components that help you better understand what you’re selling, who you’re selling to, what makes you better than your competitors and how you’re going to accomplish your goals. It includes elements like:
Identification/review of vision, mission, values – to understand your priorities, purpose and the value you bring to the marketplace
Audience identification – who they are, what they’re looking for and how you can help them
Competitor analysis – who the competition is and how they compare to what you’re offering
Tone of voice – how you want to portray your business to your customers and how you want them to feel about you, the personality and style of your brand
Core messaging – the essential selling points of your enterprise laid out in clear, succinct language that you can use for all your marketing efforts and will keep your team on the same page when communicating about your business.
This is just the beginning, but it‘s a great foundation that you can base your strategy on. From there, you need to decide on the most effective ways to reach your customers – when, where and how often you connect with them. Some of your options will include:
Direct mail campaigns
Radio or TV commercials
Community and business events
And so on!
And there’s no denying it: A well-conceived marketing strategy will focus your marketing efforts, keep you on track, help your team reach your sales goals and more effectively deliver what your customers are asking for.
And so how is our friend, Mr. Local Businessman, doing?
Well, I’d say their “marketing” is missing the mark, their reputation is suffering and I expect they aren’t meeting their sales targets. All because they don’t believe in marketing and think their product will sell simply because it exists.
Whichever way you look at it, marketing can play an oh-so-important role in whether or not your business makes it – or doesn’t.
If you don't want to end up like Mr. Local Businessman, Let’s talk!