Understanding your WHY – Marketing
Part 3 of a 3 Part Series
Marketing is a broad based term. It not only means promoting and advertising a business. There are so many forms of marketing available to us today, that to simply use the term “marketing” doesn’t tell the full story. Business is tough for everyone in today’s competitive market place. Many businesses, especially older, more established businesses that would never have considered a marketing strategy before, are now doing so. Before your business begins a marketing campaign, ask yourself WHY?
Why am I doing this?
The most obvious answer is to increase sales, right? But, that isn’t enough of a reason to jump into a “marketing” campaign. Of course every business wants to increase business, but there are many other factors to consider. Everyone’s WHY, as it pertains to marketing, is different, and therefore, so are the appropriate methods.
Is your business established and centralized within a small community, or are you a national e-commerce business owner? The WHY and how of marketing would probably be vastly different, wouldn’t you say?
Are you in need of new customers and hoping to expand into a new market or is your goal to remind your current and previous customer base of your quality, service and commitment to the community? Again, the strategies would probably be different.
Before you begin any advertising campaign, or if even if you are already heavily promoting your business, stop, and put down on paper WHY you are thinking about, or currently paying for marketing.
Here are examples of various reasons for multiple business types:
1. A small business that has seen a decline in business because of the economy and less expensive competition needs to increase sales dollars. WHY market?
- To be as visible as the competition
- To attract new clients
- To show expertise and quality are superior to lower priced options
- To regain confidence in previous clients
These reasons why marketing is needed will now shape the methods used to market. A marketing strategy needs to mirror the reasons for the campaign in order to be successful. In this example, visibility is critical. How is the competition promoting and attracting customers? Are the constantly offering deals and promotions? Do they have a large social media presence? The type of business one operates will also drive the best strategy for a business, but for most businesses it is applicable to develop a strategy to counter what the competition is doing. For instance, if the competition is driving all of its business from a coupon mailer, it is clear that the target audience responds to both mail and discounts. That would possibly indicate an older customer base. Perhaps a combination of gaining this audience back by testing a targeted mailing and attracting a new, younger customer by developing an online campaign would be appropriate.
2. A new business concentrating on a specific demographic and geographic location. WHY market?
- To create a brand identity
- To attract the target audience
- To gain publicity and customer awareness
The world is your oyster as it pertains to marketing in this scenario! Often the limitation is budget. With an unlimited budget, prime time television ads still offer tremendous visibility, however for most, that is not an option. Social media networks such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, in contrast, are free and allow you the ability to target by interests and geographic location. While it is intimidating to most, there are inexpensive training options available. Mailers are generally expensive and have a low rate of return.
3. An established business with a sales decrease due to the economy that is looking to expand its customer base. WHY MARKET?
- To expand visibility to a new customer base
It is important to understand that if you are looking for new customers, you should change your current strategy, or if you have no promotions currently, your new promotion should be outside of your current exposure. For instance, why advertise in the same newspaper that has had the same readership for the past 20 years? Chances are that audience is already familiar with you. Look to a new geographic area to target. Do you have a website? Every business should have a website, if for nothing else, to demonstrate credibility. Developing an online marketing campaign will most definitely attract a new client base.
No matter what your scenario, the WHY drives the WHAT and the HOW. It is always best to seek assistance in putting together the appropriate strategy.