Why worry about little details? If I deliver the goods, who will notice?
The more products or services seem similar, the more important the tiny differences become for a buyer. That's when the little extra touches and personal relationships can tip the sale in your favor. Customers do notice those "little details."
What is marketing anyway?
Getting and keeping customers is what a business and marketing is all about. Marketing is not a function or department...it involves your whole firm. Marketing makes prospects want to listen to you. Make everyone act and feel like a marketer!
What am I really selling?
You are selling a relationship, one person at a time. Each person is buying more than a product to satisfy a need at a price...so you need to understand all they are buying and all you are selling.
Maybe I should just add more products and services to increase my sales. Won't that solve the problem?
You cannot be all things to all people. What can you do better than others? Focus on your best skills as a company and the most logical prospects for your skills. Then tell your story to everybody, every day, every way!
I am selling a commodity, so why do I need marketing?
If you cannot see how your product or service is different from competitors you must look again...harder. If the differences you find aren't meaningful to your customers and prospects, aim to create greater differences or additional points of differentiation. Remember, everything can be differentiated, even flour and water...consider Gold Medal and Perrier!
I've heard people talk about branding. Is that a good idea?
Give your products and services distinctive names. Brand names help customers become more familiar with you and your offering. That's a good start toward improved marketing and easier selling.
How can I get more repeat business?
Customers repeatedly buy where they feel comfortable dealing with the firm and its staff. That means relationships and trust are important decision points. 'No hassle' and 'peace of mind' spell repeat business. Warranties add confidence too!
Customers and prospects are bombarded with a huge number of commercials. How can I get them to remember me?
Deliver two important things...GREAT VALUE and JOY! Customers will love you for it. Be remembered...be a supplier with a decent sense of humor.
But isn't price an important consideration?
Yes, and price is usually related to the "perceived value" of your offering to your prospect. Most often, customers rank price somewhere between third and fifth as a decision component. Quality, availability, delivery, and services often rank higher than price. If nobody remarks about your price, it is probably too low. According to marketing author, Harry Beckwith, "Setting your price is like setting a screw. A little resistance is a good sign."
What kind of market research should I start with?
Invest in independent customer research to learn more than your competitors. In most cases, your biggest competitors are customer indifference and your own ignorance of market reality.
I am thinking about investing in more marketing and sales effort. What should I do first?
Get your product offering and services in good shape before you spend much time and money on more marketing. Don't get yourself into a position of over-promising and under-delivering...that's marketing suicide!
What about marketing planning?
Marketing planning is like horseshoes and hand grenades - when you get closer to the objective than the other guy...you score!
Good marketing plans implemented with gusto usually do better than brilliant plans executed poorly or late.
How should I 'position' my company in the marketplace?
To position yourself in the market is not possible. Your customers position you in their minds! What you can do is make everything you do a positive influence on their perceptions.
You need to understand what position you now have in customer's minds. That's your reality. You start your influencing (marketing) effort from where you are and work toward the position you want to occupy in the future.
What role do warranties play in better marketing?
Long-term success hinges on the confidence customers have that you will deal fairly and keep your promises. Warranties add heavily to that confidence. Customers expect a reasonable warranty, but how would they react to one that is far beyond their expectation? If your product will last 20 years, why are you only offering a 12 month warranty?
Sure, we have some problems that frustrate our customer...doesn't everyone?
Well, most companies frustrate their customers and that is why there are so many unhappy company owners! You need to eliminate hassles that make you a bad choice. Being a good choice at the right time is better than being a perfect choice a day late. People will often buy from a familiar source rather than a potentially better choice because they want to reduce their risk and vulnerability.
I want my prospects to remember me! What could I do to make my marketing communications more effective?
Deliver value and JOY! You must bring your clients and prospects something of value or they will ignore your communications. But, many firms have information or something else of value to offer. You will both valued and remembered if you also bring JOY! Find a way to 'lighten up' your marketing communications with something to make your audience smile. Bring some joy and laughter into your reader's life and they will remember and appreciate you and your message.
I provide a professional service. How do I position my company in the market?
Most people buy professional services from an individual, not a company. It is important to create and market yourself as a 'personal brand,' rather than depend solely on your firm's reputation. Think about who you are and what you do, both in business and in your personal life. Build your own unique 'position' from that perspective, then market yourself!
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