Marketing by design, not by the seat of your pants
By: Laura Harris
I still remember the day it occurred to me that we really had no marketing plan. Our marketing program was sporadic events rather than intentionally scheduled programs. It occurred to me that “real businesses” don’t just show up and market in a haphazard fashion. A marketing plan should naturally be part of a strong business plan.
As John Romero so eloquently put it, “market to your best customers first.” How do we determine who our “best customers” are? Success in business requires us to continually look at the dynamics of the consumer. The demographics of the consumer and their priorities change.
We studied our most profitable customers to see what characteristics they have in common. Were they brought to us through a particular source? Do they purchase a particular product? Which clients are most likely to refer others? What is the typical age of our best customers? How do they want to buy our products?
How often does our ideal customer want to be contacted? Does the ideal customer become more profitable if we do business over the phone, in person or online? We had to shift our thinking from selling products to identifying ideal prospects.
After determining the characteristics and buying habits of the ideal customer, we had to become clear on what we could do to attract that person to our organization. What does our brand need to represent in order to meet the ideal prospect’s needs?
Unfortunately, if I cannot articulate clearly why a prospect should do business with us, what are the odds that the employees can articulate clearly why a prospect should do business with us? And if the employees cannot articulate clearly why a prospect should do business with us and the customers cannot understand what distinguishes us from the competition, what are the odds that they will send a referral? Zero.
After we have studied our best customers and defined our uniqueness, our second emphasis had to be on new prospects. Once we have a clear picture of what our best customers look like, we are better prepared to go after the best prospects. We designed an annual marketing program and created a marketing calendar to document exactly what our monthly processes would be.
Always be on the lookout for something new. Google search engine optimization and mobile device searches didn’t even exist several years ago.
Having a diverse marketing program reduces the negative effects if any one process has to be discontinued. Never have all your eggs in one basket. Be creative, and be flexible. Do not become so attached to your plan that you do not adapt if market conditions change or a new opportunity arises.
For more information, contact Laura Harris at firstname.lastname@example.org or 361-985-2875.