Great marketing is impactful.
I mean great marketing.
Great marketing is the stuff that you see and it makes you go, “I want a part of that.” Great marketing is the stuff that inspires you and it moves you to action, to take some variety of step. Great marketing is what moves the world!
The reality is that great marketing is very basic and it's very simple. It's hard to understand sometimes because it doesn't get broken down simply. But really only three pieces you have to understand when it comes to marketing.
The message of the piece. Your target market. And the methods of distribution that will work best to carry that message. It breaks down to just three M’s of marketing!
We’ve needed this online for a while, so get ready for a quick masterclass in small business marketing!
1) Your Message
Your marketing message is going to come from your mission statement. The beautiful thing about the United States economy is that if a business is in business, it's in business for a reason. Our economy is free flowing. There is very little to force you to stay in business. If you go out of business, it's because the market didn't want or didn't need what you have to offer, or didn’t know that they needed. The flip side, the positive side, is that if you're in business, you're in business because you have something the market wants or needs.
The mission statement is what your company exists to do. What you exist to to transform, or to change. But a lot of times when I'm working with small business owners, I find that their mission statement is not necessarily tangible. Rather than “We exist to fix air conditioning units” we’ve shifted the view to a broader perspective of “we exist to create a home like environment.”
Keep in mind that there has to be something different about your mission statement compared to others. A lot of times the mission statements are intangible because you're providing the same service as a hundred other people. There has to be something special about your business. That's what your mission statement explains.
Once you know what your mission statement is, now you get to figure out how to communicate it in a way that people are going to be able to really dig. Keep in mind that while your message is based on your mission, they are not the same. Your marketing message is also NOT the same as your tagline.
For example. In the ad you’re watching on TV you see a couple on the beach, then hiking, chilling on the couch watching TV, then in a restaurant and the gentleman drops to one knee, opens a box and they smile and both kiss as the tagline plays across the screen: “Every kiss begins with Kay.”
Putting aside the fact that they are trying to manipulate you into buying the biggest diamond, the message they are trying to communicate is that this person is part of your life and they make life better, and a great piece of jewelry makes life better for them too. Their message is that to create a memorable moment for that memorable person, you need a memorable piece of jewelry.
That's the story they're telling to their target market.
Now it’s your turn. What’s your mission? What message does it offer that makes you unique? And can you draw a 2-5 word tagline from that message?
Too many business owners move on to #2 and #3 without getting a solid foundation in #1, and I don’t think we have to be a general contractor to understand how skipping a step in the building process creates catastrophic results!
Start here first!
2) Target Market
Once you know your message, you can move on to step #2!
Here's the key. Small business owners need to get much more detailed than they think. When I speak with small business owners about what age group is their dream market, too often they give me a generic ‘25-65.”
That is FOUR generations! You cannot create a targeted message that will highly resonate with four generations at once unless you have millions of dollars to spend on your marketing because they will need to see that message many times before it will stick! Yes, you’ll have some buyers from outside your target, but for this exercise, figure out who is the primary age group. And if you’re insistent, you can have a secondary focus.
Clarity here needs to include not just age, but also who does the decision making? How many stakeholders do you have in the buying process? (Example: Yes, the majority of people who purchase houses are couples. But who does most of the decision making? The wife. So the marketing needs to appeal to her most.
What industries do they work in? Are they white collar, blue collar, pink collar? And provide a sample smattering of the industries that meet that designation.
Dig first into the customer demographics (age, gender, jobs, income, families, where they live, how many homes do they own? How many cars? Where do they hang out? What are their hobbies & interests?) and then dig into their psychegraphics. What do they want and how do they think about it? What are their aspirations? What do they like? What do they dislike?Etc.
It takes longer. But it’s worth it! As you build a solid mental image of your prospect in your head, you’ll start to understand how they think, what they want, and how to get their attention!
With a complete target market, it makes it easy to understand how to distribute that message! You’ll know what websites they’re hanging out on, and can start to use those websites smartly. Putting banners on them, or building a site similar to gather attention.
This part of marketing really stems from the other two steps. You simply cannot figure out an effective distribution of the message unless you know your target market intimately. If the target market looks at fliers, or emails, or radio ads, that’s where you need to go!
And now you can start using the different methods together! Write an ad on Facebook that talks about what they just saw on their favorite Tv show yesterday, and your market will start to recognize that you understand them, and it will build brand loyalty and willingness to give you a chance over the non-focused competitor. We all want to feel special!
Like I said, marketing is super simple, if you know what to do.
And I know this is a longer-than-normal blog, but the truth is, marketing deserves much more attention than it is given inside of small businesses! And we’ve got to shift how small businesses approach their marketing by highlighting and focusing on the message and target market first. With as much emphasis as most entrepreneurs and business owners put on the final piece without working out the first two, is it any wonder that most of their marketing is not working if they're skipping the first few steps?
So, take some time. It does take time, but I guarantee it's absolutely worth it!
If you’ve already taken the time for the first couple steps, that’s awesome! Pat yourself on the back, and remind yourself to revisit this regularly to keep it up to date!
If this blog helped you, please feel free to pass it along and let’s see if we can effect change across the business community!
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