Why are you in business? What are your goals? These are questions you should be able to answer.
I am a marketing professional because I want to help businesses brand themselves, offer incredible customer service, and drive sales. My client’s success is my success. In order to market a business, I need to understand their goals. The goals for their business may be very different than what I feel they should be. It is my job to make recommendations, but in the end, it is the business owners decision as to the direction they wish to take their business. Why? Because they are the customer.
In your business what drives your decision process? The most valuable piece of advice I can give any client is that when it comes to business, it is not about you! It is about your clients and prospective clients. I have been marketing products and services to consumers for 29 years in one way or another. Throughout my career I have found myself involved in many industries and economic markets, many of which I could not personally identify with on a personal level. The easy thing to do would be to stay within my comfort zone and do what came naturally. That is the trap so many fall into easily.
How often do you think about making a change of some sort to your business model, but you never move forward, because after all, you’ve been successful in the past with your current strategy? Is the status quo good for your clients, or does it simply provide you with comfort? Resistance to change is the #1 reason for failure in businesses today. It is important to reinvent yourself to continue to grow. Do you want to be comfortable or do you want to pay the bills, or better yet, do you want to be incredibly successful?
Your business is something that you have built. It is part of your identity and therefore you have a specific vision for it, but ask yourself, “Does my business meet the needs of those I would like as customers?” If your business is not growing by leaps and bounds or at least maintaining its sales volume, the answer is “no!” Let’s assume you are a designer. If you are showcasing teal on your website when the hottest colors are shades of tangerine and sage green, are you satisfying your taste or the needs of your clients? If you are a retailer with a middle to low income clientele and you prefer high end fashion, what should you purchase for your store? Give your customer what they want.
Being a marketing strategist may be one of the most difficult jobs in the world because while it is clear to us what our client’s customer’s needs are, it is not easy for them to see beyond their own ideas and tastes. Take these suggestions to heart when you market yourself and you will be far more successful:
- Take your ego out of the business. Remember, it is not about you.
- Identify your customer and their needs and give them what they want.
- Understand how old your target market is, and where you reach them?
- You may have always advertised via mailer or print material, but just because you are not online doesn’t mean your clients are not.
- Do not fear change, embrace it.
- Competitive shop. Understanding what your largest competitors are doing will keep you on top of trends.
- Wants and needs will defeat loyalty every time. (Remember when there were diners and now there are Starbucks?)
- If you don’t give the customers what they want, someone else will.
- Your brand identity is key, if you do not have a website, you have no credibility.
- If your website is out of date, you have no credibility.
- If you have no social media presence you are losing a large portion on the marketplace.