Small business owners are phenomenal! I work with them every day, I should know. But when it comes to marketing, I’ve noticed a common denominator between the business owners that struggle (and often crash and burn) in their marketing. So I want to break that (and the solution for it!) down.
Before we dive in, I need to break down a key concept for marketing (and especially Small Business Marketing).
If you’ve been following me for a while, you might want to skip ahead. I’m about to break down the foundations of marketing that I’ve been talking about for years now: the Three Ms of Marketing. Why? Because the solution I’m going to break down works well, but it works a thousand times better if you have this concept in place first.
M #1 - Target Market
Your target market is the group of people you sell to, but it goes beyond understanding that you sell to “men between 30 and 45.”
The target market needs to give you demographics (age, gender, location, jobs, etc.) but it also needs to give you psychographics (what do they think, feel, want, need, desire to change in the world, etc.). The first step to effective marketing is always to understand the people you’re marketing to, so you know how to communicate with them and where you can communicate with them.
M #2 - Marketing Message
Once you know who you’re communicating to, you need to know what you’re communicating. It’s tempting to think this is the marketing tagline, but I’m going to tell you here and now that’s not true. You need to know what you’re trying to communicate through your marketing message, and you’re not trying to communicate (for example) “Every kiss begins with K” or “We sell Diamonds.” You’re trying to communicate the difference your product or service is going to make in the life of your customer, and your message is a statement about what that looks like.
Our marketing message is “You’re more incredible than you realize and we want to give you a glimpse of yourself through our eyes.” So our goal with all of our marketing and events is to bring it back to that concept at the end of the day. It goes beyond “we put on events for small business owners” and reaches to the difference we make in their lives. Your marketing message needs to do the same thing with whatever you sell.
M #3 - Methods of Distribution
This M relies upon the other Ms. If you don’t know who you’re speaking to or what you’re saying, you won’t know what methods of distribution are going to work. Not everyone is on the same social media. Not everyone is looking at a billboard. So the third M is the actual distribution of your marketing that says “we’re putting this ad that we’ve created up on this billboard, in this youtube ad, and on that website.”
The Key Concept I Mentioned Before...
Back on track (or if you skipped ahead, stop here!) with that concept I mentioned earlier. The simplicity of it knocked me over the head, and I think it might do that to you too. But here it is:
Marketing CRAVES creativity.
When you do the same old thing that everyone else is doing, you’ll get the same old results everyone else is getting. So when people come to me asking for social media content quotes, I often turn them to a different marketing resource. Why? Because I’ve learned from putting together hundreds of marketing plans for hundreds of companies that most people don’t necessarily need social media marketing. Everyone is doing social media marketing, so often that’s not necessarily the best route to go.
Creativity is the key to marketing. If you apply creativity to every aspect of your marketing, you’ll start to see a difference.
Here’s what I mean…
I play the violin in my keynotes. Which is cool, but I wasn’t selling anybody on hiring me to come play the violin on stage. They could get a classically trained violinist if they wanted. So I had to get creative on expressing how I’m using the violin that is different. What I came up with? It’s no longer just a violin that I’m selling when I pitch for speaker gigs.
I’m selling the fact that I use the violin to take nebulous concepts and give them a concrete framework to make abstract ideas like marketing or leadership make sense.
So if you’re struggling with the feeling of “I provide a better service/product, why am I having so much trouble finding business?” try applying this concept to your marketing to create unique marketing that conveys something the rest of your industry isn’t.