Marketing is a confusing topic to most small business owners. The process is not well understood. Owners want more customers to buy more of what they provide – simple. The word “marketing” itself is looked upon skeptically.
Much confusion stems from the fact that communication tools are evolving at a rapid pace. Social, digital and mobile platforms are taking the place of traditional selling and advertising. New subject matter experts promote magic bullet solutions to finding new customers. Beware – if bad choices are made, lots of time and money can evaporate.
The Hammer and the Nail
When listening to advice from a marketing service provider, remember Maslow’s comment “to a person with a hammer, every problem is a nail”. Website designers pitch new websites as the best way to get more customers. Social media gurus suggest the latest social tools (Pinterest, Twitter, Facebook, etc.), and on it goes, leaving the small business owner confused and vulnerable, worried they are missing the boat entirely, because each expert sounds convincing.
The best approach is to follow a process and not get worked up about any specific executional approach. Here are five simple, time tested steps to achieving small business marketing success:
Five Steps to Business Growth
- Determine the business growth goal for the company
- Create a profile of the ideal customer (person and business, current and new) needed to attain this growth
- State the single unique benefit that this ideal customer is lacking right now which your company’s service or product will provide. Remember this is not the service, or product itself, but the benefit of that product. The company must solve this need. Throw all other features, bells and whistles out of the window.
- Determine 2-3 ways the intended customer learns of these types of services. Get creative here and think of that customer. Don’t forget word of mouth recommendations – What that person reads or sees, where they go to conduct business or pleasure, and in what groups they belong or participate, such as networking communities (traditional or online). Dive into the way the customer is exposed to the category of services the your company or product delivers.
- At this point, focus all communication efforts on the one or two most important communication vehicles that match this customer’s behavior and tell the story of the business, and the benefit it provides.
Simple? Logical! The trick is there’s no trick. Follow the process.
More energy should be spent on understanding the customer than understanding the latest communication tools. There are no “hammer and nail” social media solutions that bring magic results. When the process is followed, marketing delivers a powerful message to the customer.