Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Establish a Problem Then Position Yourself as the Solution

Defining a problem and having everyone or at least your target market see you as the solution is one of the ultimate goals of marketing.  When you mention marketing to most people they tend to classify marketing as sales or advertising.  Sales and advertising are a part of marketing, however, marketing is a much, much larger.

Create a product and then decide how to market and advertise that product.   Well, this is the standard approach that many companies choose when trying to bring something to market.  Unfortunately, most products brought to market during the year fail.
The failure rate for new product launch ranges from an estimated 50% and 75% (PRLEAP.COM
I hypothesize that this high failure rate can be contributed to marketing.  Marketing should be the very first step in the product development process.  Before you spend $1000s or even $1,000,000s of dollars developing a product and then advertising it and creating partnerships and distribution deals only to see it sell about 100 units; why not do some market research and determine if it is a product that is NEEDED by the consumer.  When opening up a new pizza restaurant or fast food chain, research the location and decide if that particular market can handle another restaurant such as yours.  Are there already too many of them in the area, do the demographics of the people living there actually like that type food?  These are all questions that marketing helps us to answer.

Remember:  The best marketing strategy there is, is  to establish a problem and then to position yourself to your target market as the solution to that problem.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Know Your Competition Better Than They Know Themselves

Throughout my marketing career, just as many other marketers have, I have had the responsibility of creating and implementing marketing plans.  I have found that there are many different techniques and channels for marketing different products.  Each product is like raising a child and even though every child has their own personality and special needs, for the most part every parent no matter where in the world they are or what culture they are in,take some of the same approaches.  

Well, marketing can be the same way.  Every product or service definately has their own needs and certain channels work better than others, however, they all share some of the same marketing prinicples.

Whenever I start to begin forming a marketing strategy, I like to take a look at the competition.  I want to know more about the competition than they know about themselves.  I want to know what they are doing right and what they are doing wrong.  I want to gather as much information about them as possible.  Scour the internet to find strategic information on your competitors.  I have even pulled the unbelievable from time to time and just called them up and talked to them.  If they have a brick and mortar store then gas up the car and take a trip.  Talk to their customers and get a feel for your competitors brand experience.

Remember, the more you know about your competitors, the more you are equipped with the ammunition you are going to need in order to compete with them.  If you know where their weaknesses are, then you can exploit them and improve your company's brand and increase your market share.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Marketing Strategies 5 Tips to Success

Developing a marketing strategy is like creating a map to the future success of your business. It gives you an opportunity to mark X as the destination you are trying to get to and lets you see what the playing field looks like. Without a good marketing strategy its like you are just cruising on the highway with no destination. A business needs a destination, so everyone in the company knows what to strive for.

5 Tips For Developing a Marketing Strategy

1. Define your service or product
Define what you are offering in clear precise terms. You want to answer the question, "What does your company do?"

2. Know your competition
It is a good practice to take the time to know what other companies are offering the same or similar products or services to your own. Whenever I am creating a marketing plan or strategy, I like to say, "Know your competition better than they know themselves."

3. Determine your target market.
You have to find out who needs your products or services and where they are located. How they get their information and which products would be most beneficial to them.

4. Establish a marketing budget
A marketing budget is an important part of any business. If your budget is too large then you could over spend and lose money on disastrous marketing campaigns. If your budget is too small then you may miss out on opportunities to promote your company.

5. Keep track on what you spend and the results.
Marketing is mostly a process of hypothesis and testing. Some campaigns go well and some, well we just won't even discuss them. You need to track what works and what doesn't.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Are you a Business Owner, or Self-Employed?

Just because you have a business license and you are the boss you answer to doesn't necessarily mean you own your own business. You can even have a staff of employees and still be self-employed.

What's the difference? Well, the key difference between a business and being self-employed is that a business makes you money when you aren't there, being self-employed you have to be there to make the money.

Being a Business Owner
When you are a business owner, yes you can or cannot be very involved in your company. You may show up everyday to make sure employees are working, to ensure that processes are running smoothly, and to grow your business but if you decide to take a vacation or skip a couple of days of work, guess what; the business keeps right on making money.

A business is a process that can be taught, duplicated, and sold. This is how we get franchises and licenses. You are authorizing others to learn your business process and then duplicate it to make themselves money, and you even more money.

Being Self-Employed
When you are self-employed, you may be the boss but if you are the key component to the business and it cannot operate its day to day functions without you being there, then you are still self-employed. This can be the case of a highly skilled worker that owns their own business but hires individuals around them that are simple support staff. If that individual doesn't have other individuals that are trained in the same trade and a decision making team (that has the power to execute their decisions) in place then every decision has to go through the owner and that becomes in-efficient and destroys the whole purpose of having a business.

A business is a process that can be taught, duplicated, and sold. If you have to show up everyday and complete the majority of the work, make all the decisions, and the business makes no money when you aren't there; then you are self-employed.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Your Employees Can be Your #1 Marketing Option

The best investment that any business can make is in its employees. Creating a team of top notch employees that share the company vision and want to see the company succeed will offer the greatest returns overtime than any other marketing campaign.

If you keep your employees involved in the business and excited, then they will promote the business in return. I personally believe that everyone that works for a company is a salesman. Remember, one of the first questions people ask when they meet someone is what do you do? Being that many professionals actually spend more time working than with their actual families, most people associate themselves with their job or profession.

Keeping your employees involved in the decision making process and allowing them to take ownership of their projects helps to establish trust between supervisors and workers. Employees should also be empowered to be able to solve everyday problems that pop up. Having to run every little decision through upper management can be time consuming and professionally insulting. Why hire individuals whom you don't trust their opinions or decision making?

The worst mistake that any manager or supervisor can make is micro-managing your team!!! Yes you have to monitor employees and make sure that the work is getting done and that everyone is staying on the same page, however, you shouldn't try to control every little task and every aspect of the things they do. This destroys your work forces creativity and can cause the company to miss out on may different new ideas.

To sum it all up, if employees are inspired then they will tell the world about the company they work for and push your message forward; if they are micro-managed and un-respected then the organization will suffer for it.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Promote Your Business Like a Rapper

Well, I was listening to some hip hop the other day riding in the car and getting my shine on. As I remember the featured artist was Rick Ross. No need to mention which song he was performing because the main concept was the same. No matter what song he rapped he continued to say "Rick Ross" throughout the entire song. The bass and hard hitting drum patterns may have overpowered the words in many of occasions, however, you could always make out the words clearly "Ross".

Referring to one's self repeatedly throughout a song is no new concept to rap. In fact, I think it would be hard to find one rapper that actually made it through a song without saying their own name at least 5 times. It would seem that rappers have broken the code to branding and put marketers to shame. Repetition, repetition, and more repetition!!!

On average, it takes at least 7 to 12 times for a person to hear a marketing message before they actually listen to it, effects of continued advertising bombardment from today's media driven society. This technique should be adopted by all business professionals. If you want someone to remember your business, then you have to continue to tell them about it. Entertainers have known for years that once you leave the public eye, you are forgotten about. The same is true with business, if people don't know about your products and services, then your business is forgotten about.

So if you want to be successful then promote your business like a rapper and get your shine on.