Speech bubble surrounded by wooden pencils

Let’s face it, most business owners are specialists in their field.  Unless they are running a marketing agency or consultancy, marketing is unlikely to be their specialism.  So, is it any wonder that business owners decide to either:

  1. not invest in marketing at all for fear of the unknown; or

  2. plough money blindly into marketing in a scattergun fashion hoping it will work?

Unfortunately for many businesses they are doomed for marketing failure because they choose one of the above.  But what if we told you there was a really easy way to ensure that you can invest in marketing in a sensible way that will provide you with a return on investment.  That would be of interest to most people, right?

Well there is.  There are some core fundamental principles to marketing that apply to any business in any industry sector.  You don’t need to be a marketing professional to understand them as they are actually very simple.  Over the next few weeks we are going to explore some of these principles so that you can start to apply them your business.

Investing money into marketing is pointless unless you are 100% certain that your messaging is aligned.  What do we mean by this?  Well there are three key elements you really need to consider when checking messaging alignment.

Clarity of offering

Firstly, is your offering clear!? This sounds really obvious, but just take a moment to consider what are you are actually selling.  What is your core product and service?  What is your business renowned for?  Is this core product still profitable?  Is it still relevant?  (Check out our last blog on Blockbuster Video to see how easy it is to become irrelevant).  Now consider the relevance, profitability and sales performance of the other products and services you offer.  Do these still tick all the boxes or is it just unnecessary “noise”?  Are your products and services clearly segmented in your communications? Do you filter to a specific customer those that are relevant to them or do you tell everyone everything you do?  Unless there is absolute clarity in what you offer, and it is made clear within you marketing messaging, you are unlikely to maximise customer conversion opportunities.

Target Markets

Secondly, do you know who your audience are? Not only do you know who your perfect audience are, but do you understand them?  How do they behave and buy?  Again, we have written a whole blog dedicated to this, but unless you know the defining characteristics of those people you want to talk to, how can you possibly know whether your messaging is aligned.  Different groups of customers will require different approaches, different languages, different buying cues.  Again, trying to resonate with everyone with one communication is not going to work.  It will turn out to be an expensive exercise.

Market Positioning

Thirdly how are you positioned in the marketplace? And, more importantly, are you positioned where you want to be?  Unless you have spent some time carving out a specific niche position in the marketplace, you may have found yourself already position by default.  If you know how you want to be positioned, and you are currently occupying that space in the market, then you can ensure that you marketing messaging reinforces this.  If you don’t, or you’re not, then you can’t.  We will look closer at positioning in a future blog because that is a whole topic on its own.

In summary

This is by no means an exhaustive list to checking your marketing messaging alignment, but it is a good start.  There are other things you need to consider such as your purpose, your company values and your UBP (Unique Buying Proposition), but unless you have clarity on your offering, your audience and your positioning, you are sadly doomed from the start.

If you tick one or two of the three, then you can focus some effort and resource in ensuring you nail the others, otherwise you will be learning through the costly process of trial and error (and who knows how long that will take).

 

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Ian is the founder of Opportunity Marketing marketing, with over 18 years of experience in successfully setting up marketing departments, creating marketing strategies and implementing these strategies across a wide number of SME companies in both the B2B and B2C sectors through a variety of channels.