October 2011’s Top 5 Marketing Tips

 

Below are this month’s top 5 marketing tips for October 2011 – simple tips to help you improve the effectiveness of your marketing.

1. Don’t assume – this is the biggest mistake that companies make when communicating with customers and prospects.

Even large companies with huge marketing budgets ‘assume’ all the time – they assume that everyone knows who they are, that everyone understands what they do, that everyone knows the benefits of using them.  However one of the easiest mistakes to make is to use jargon and language that makes perfect sense to you, but is gobbledegook to your target audience.

We all do it.

I have fallen into the trap of assuming everyone knows what ROI is (Return on Investment) and when I first set up on my own I assumed that most people understood what marketing was all about (how wrong I was)!  If someone doesn’t understand they will switch off and your message will never get through.

Most of us have friends and family who have no understanding of what we do – test your messaging on them first – just make sure that they are being completely honest with you!  If you are going to assume anything, assume that your audience know nothing.

2. Innovate & Evolve – This is critical to business longevity.  You are learning every day.  Your competitors are learning and improving every day.

Your customers are gathering new information every day.  Different external influences are changing, evolving and growing every day.  If, as a business, you stand still……you will slowly (and sometimes rapidly) die.

Always keep a finger on the pulse of the trends within the marketplace and how customers are interacting with your products or service.

Ignorance and arrogance are two causes of inertia.

Make sure that you don’t have these prevalent in your business.  If you do, you will wake up one day and realize all your customers have gone elsewhere.  You only have to look at some of the mighty brands who have fallen by the wayside over the last two years to realise that everyone has to evolve.

3. Use your own data – All businesses have all the answers to their questions within the business.

Sometimes it takes someone on the outside to come in and direct them to where the source of this knowledge lies, but it is already within the business.

Do you struggle with identifying who are your key target markets?  Well take a look back over the last 3 years of sales data and plot where your business has come from historically – this would be a logical starting point.

Are you struggling to know where best to concentrate your efforts?

Look into the greatest profit generating areas of the business, and if you don’t know the profit margins on certain products and services, calculate them.

Are you failing to understand what drives your customers to purchase from you?

Ask them. 

All the information you need will be in your business somewhere.

4. Avoid brand confusion – or put another way, don’t overstretch your brand.

This is a problem I come across regularly.

Generally small businesses grow off the back of the quality of product or service that they offer – usually via word of mouth.  Then as their sales start to flatten off they bolt on other products and services that can generate additional revenue.

Now this in itself is not a problem – you have a captive audience who have already bought into your brand, so why not try and sell more to them?  This is fine as long as the new products or services are logical extensions of the original offering.

If the products and services are too disparate there is a very good chance that the brand values that someone is looking for in Product X is completely different to what is being sought in Service Y.

Well recognized household brands generally realise their limitations with regards to brand stretching, but I have seen some bizarre attempts within the business to business environment.

Even global brands like Google are pushing it to its limitations…..which brings me on to an associated issue.  If your focus gets sidetracked from your core offering, it can cause major issues.

If you are trying to juggle too many balls you are going to drop a couple.  Focus on your core offering and become the best you can be at it – and then generate more customers for that!

 5. Don’t stop at the sale! The sale is just the beginning of the relationship.  Once a customer makes a purchase, a number of different things could happen.

Firstly they could buy again in the future, perhaps even on a regular basis.  So don’t stop marketing your business to them just because they have generated the initial order – your marketing job is by no means complete.  They could easily walk away and never purchase again.

Secondly they could buy additional products and services from you that perhaps complement the initial purchase.  McDonalds provided a masterclass in upselling with their simple “would you like fries with that?” and “would you like to supersize your meal?”  What can you do to upsell?

Thirdly they could be the source of multiple other news clients for your business through positive word of mouth referrals.  Is there anything you can do to facilitate the process.   If you are always purely chasing new clients, you will be driving margin out of your business.

 

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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.