Marketing – a huge discipline that spans more than just the marketing team and is often one of the most misunderstood activities in any business.
Most people consider marketing to be the tip of the iceberg that is poking its head above the water that the customers see (those in yellow), however in order for these element to generate any positive momentum we need to consider everything else hidden from view below the water. This is the work a business needs to do to ensure that their marketing works – i.e. in layman’s terms more people buy more of their stuff and make the business bigger profits!
With so much to consider and activities to be carried out to generate engagement with clients and prospects it’s essential that marketers are continually monitoring the thoughts, motivations and buying behaviours of their relevant audiences. Note, I didn’t restrict this to just the target market, with good reason…
This leads onto The BIG WHY. For organisations to succeed they really need to ask some fundamental questions, such as:
- Why would a buyer buy from me (as opposed to the alternatives that are out there)?
- Why should my target market engage with me? Why would they read my blog, visit my website or answer my call; again, they have a lot of choice, so I need to understand their motivations to match my activity to them.
- Why should a potential buyer trust you? Everyone is a sceptic, just because your website says you have values of honesty and integrity, why would they believe it?
- Why am I here? Now that’s a very big why! In business terms it’s essential to understand your purpose… Why are you in business – what is your purpose – your mission – what are you striving to do – why does your company exist – why did you start it? Understanding and accepting your mission will really help to define your target market and communicate the value you can provide.
I’m a fan of tools and structure to help the marketing process. I’m also a fan of ‘Keeping it Simple’. Many will have heard of the 3 ‘C’s and the 4, 6, 7 or more ‘P’s of marketing but very few seem to put these tools to practical use when thinking about their own marketing.
One of my favourite approaches for answering the above ‘Whys’ and helping to flesh out marketing strategy that can be applied to practical day-to-day marketing activity is by using a matrix approach to 3Cs and 4Ps.
These are the classic 3 ‘Cs’ of Customer, Competitor and Company and the standard Ps of marketing. However, by combining them into a matrix instead of using the theory in isolation we get a really useful and practical way to ‘force’ thinking about The Big Why.
For example: Rather than thinking about Product, Price, Promotion, etc. in the normal way, my advice is to think about each as they relate to the 3 Cs.
So, when I think about the products and services I might offer to fulfil my ‘purpose’ I approach it in this way:
Customer: What do they want?
- What is the problem they are trying to solve or what is the benefit they desire?
- What do they value in this type of product or service?
Competitor: What do they provide?
- What existing options are out there already to provide the customer benefit?
- How well do the competitor offers satisfy the customer need?
- Do the competitor offers provide any benefits that I cannot?
Company: What can I provide?
- How well will my product or service satisfy the customer need?
- Does my product or service have any benefit or value that is unique?
By looking at all the marketing ‘P’s in this way against each of the 3 ‘C’s it helps get a really good picture of where we are positioned in the market place and leads to a better understanding of the what, where, who & how when it comes to communicating with the target market.
The matrix above shows the approach – the answers for each box can be as simple or complex as your business demands.
Ultimately there is one ‘WHY’ that is more important than any other and taking this approach can help to answer it: ‘Why should someone buy from me’? If, as business owners, we don’t know the answer to that one then it’s unrealistic to expect our target market to have the answer. Once we really understand the answer, all our marketing activity can work much more effectively to demonstrate our value, engage with those we are targeting and ultimately achieve much better return on marketing investment.