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Lift your game with magnetic marketing

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One of the greatest and most common characteristics of sensational small business owners is an ability to recognise their weaknesses and seek outside help or do training to build up their skill set.

Selling does require skill – and if it’s not currently your skill set I suggest you either get some training or read as much as you can to lift your game in this important area.

The other problem is time, but no matter how busy your schedule, you must block out time each week or month to meet with both prospective clients and current clients. It’s much easier to sell to clients you already deal with, and it’s unlikely they’re using all your services.

Do they know about the complete range of services you offer? Don’t assume they do, or that they will ask for them automatically. Instead, it’s your responsibility to research clients’ and prospects’ need, and make appropriate recommendations to them. This behind the scenes work is all part of your sales – and subsequently, marketing – strategy.

Magnetic marketing

But sales is not the only important thing – have you developed a magnetic marketing strategy that underpins your sales strategy?

How do you develop a plan?

It starts from a marketing plan being developed using the following steps:

  • Focus on identifying and meeting current and future customer needs
  • Give marketing the credibility and authority to implement a customer-centric culture
  • Allow the market to drive your business.

Successful sales people are seen as gods, but often a weak seller is linked to a poor marketing effort from the top. Think about it. What would be easier – selling ads on Australian Idol or on a small business show at 7.30am on a Sunday? Idol is marketed to death while small business shows are un-promoted and doing the graveyard shift.

Marketing creates the environment in which you can sell more things to more people more often. The lesson is that instead of helping to boost sales simply with sales support, sales training, data analysis, advertisements and promotions, smart business managers should use marketing to create a culture.

This culture needs to be one of understanding what customers’ value, selecting target market segments, increasing customers’ perceptions of value, championing customer requirements and becoming passionate about service. A smart marketer is an essential cost to a business. However, they must be accountable and their efforts must be measured. Poor businesses often have a poor marketing plan.

What does marketing do?

The marketer provides critical intelligence for product development, customer service, sales and other key customer touch points.

The experts also suggest you divide up your customer base and recommend the ‘four Ps’ approach for every target market or client grouping. Let’s go through each one.

Having segmented your market, you need to profile, prioritise and tailor the right bundling or products and services for each grouping.

As much an art as a science, there are many pricing strategies to pick from but generally, the market should largely determine price. Understand your cost structures, how your prices stack up against those of competitors, and pricing from a sales and budgetary perspective. Will your pricing strategy deliver sustained profits?

Determining the distribution channels that best meet your customers’ needs should be balanced with objectives such as speed to market, market share and profit.

An effective promotional strategy is about getting the right message to the right person at the right time. Move in the right circles – consider analysts, media, customers and your own team – and create a feeling of excitement about the product and your company. Tailor your message to each.

(This is good advice and just think – some of it has come from accountants!)

Along the way you have to think about building your brand. Brand is simply what a customer thinks of your business and products. Know what your positive brand attributes are and find a way to get customers to see it your way.

Once it is all in place, the business owner/manager has to make it happen. Empower your staff to play from the same plan and have everyone seeing the same vision. It will also require financial incentives to make it happen, but it is worth it. It’s like training a dog – it’s hard work but it makes life a whole lot easier.

Cheap and good

Cost-effective ways to build your brand include:
  • Ensuring your staff can clearly communicate your business’ core messages and values and that they ‘live the brand’, behaving consistently with the promise that you make in your marketing messages
  • Consistency of language and messages in all verbal and written communication
  • Having a strong, visual identity that is immediately recognisable, and is consistently presented through all your brochures, point of sale material, packaging, dress codes, etc.

So, if you’re looking to work on your business rather than being stuck in it, book in for a complimentary business assessment today with Switzer Business Coaching.

Important information: This content has been prepared without taking account of the objectives, financial situation or needs of any particular individual. It does not constitute formal advice. For this reason, any individual should, before acting, consider the appropriateness of the information, having regard to the individual’s objectives, financial situation and needs and, if necessary, seek appropriate professional advice.

Published on: Friday, November 11, 2011

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