Does marketing feel like an expense or an investment for your business? If you immediately thought of it as an expense, then you are not applying Smart Marketing. And you are not alone. Most small businesses, if they are spending any money on marketing, are wasting it by telling potential customers that they are just like all of their competitors. (And it is not just small businesses!) In most advertising, you could easily substitute the name of a direct competitor and potential customers would be none the wiser. Unless you have a big advertising budget, spending money on branding is a waste of money. Instead, you want to apply Smart Marketing that helps you win new customers and makes you memorable to your ideal customer. So, let’s look at how you can apply Smart Marketing to your business. Here is the first of four steps: Make Your Marketing Strategic People are overwhelmed by the thousands of marketing messages they encounter every day. So, the natural human reaction is to tune the messages out. In order to reach customers, you have to get them to tune back in. Have you ever noticed that when you are looking to buy a car, all of a sudden you see and hear a lot of advertisements for cars? That is because you have tuned back in. The goal of Smart Marketing is to get your potential customers to tune back in to your message. 1) Clearly Define Your Target Market To get potential customers to tune in, you need to be very clear about who you are serving and why. Ideally, you want a target market or specific need that is not being served well by competitors. Chipotle is a good example of a company that found an unmet need in the fast food category. They identified the desire for healthy, fresh food that is served quickly and is relatively inexpensive. Plus, many of the people who care about fresh food also care about where their food comes from. So, Chipotle spends a lot of time with their supply chain to ensure they are providing sustainably grown produce and ethically raised meat. This differentiation has led them to grow to over 1600 restaurants in just 20 years. 2) Differentiate Your Business Once you have defined your target market clearly, it becomes easier to differentiate your business. And to significantly grow your business, you need to look as different as possible from your competitors. Southwest Airlines is a great example of a company that went after a specific target market (recreational travel to destinations in the Southwest), and then took that differentiation even farther. From the pricing of flights to the boarding process to singing flight attendants, they could not feel more different than other airlines. They have recently taken that even farther with no baggage fees. Your core differentiator should really matter to your target market. Beyond that, you can find ways to differentiate just to be memorable, and if they also appeal to your target market, all the better. Next month, we will cover the Value of Simplicity in Marketing.
This is from a whitepaper I recently put together. You can get the full whitepaper here.