8 Key Steps to Successful Marketing – Part 1

Benefits

It is hard to believe that we are already in the second month of 2013. How many of you have thought about your marketing this year but haven’t yet had the chance to sit down and start the process? The good news is it’s not too late to get started.

Marketing isn’t rocket science but at times it can feel that way. Remember, the success of your marketing is based on planning, executing, tracking and measuring and repeating this process again and again in order to refine your strategy so you see results and a return on your investment.

In follow up to my blog prior to Christmas, I have detailed the first 4 of my 8 step process to guide you in the right direction to successfully marketing your business. Block some time out in your diary this month and commit yourself to starting this process. If you don’t have the time or inclination to drive or manage your own marketing, then I encourage you to seek external assistance from experts like i.interact.

 

1. Define your PRODUCT/SERVICE
This is a really important step that some business owners neglect, thinking that this is a given but I can assure you it is not! Take some time to sit down and really think about the product/services that you provide and how you are communicating this to your customers and leads. What you are communicating may not be getting through or hitting the right buttons.

Remember to talk about your product or service in simple and easy to understand terms. Stay away from any industry jargon! This could take the form of a written version of your “elevator pitch” that clearly describes your mission, points of difference and the fundamental benefit or value you provide.

A great exercise for this is to list the features of your product/service and next to each feature, list the benefits or solution they provide. Once you have these written down next to one another, create a third column of people or situations where your product/service meets this benefit/solution and now you have your key target markets defined.

2. Determine your TARGET MARKET/S

With the current state of the economy, having a well-defined target market is more important than ever. No business can afford to target everyone, yet this is a common mistake made by many businesses.

Targeting a specific niche market does not mean that you have to exclude people that do not fit your criteria from buying from you. Rather, target marketing allows you to focus your marketing budget on a specific niche that is more likely to buy from you. This is a much more affordable, efficient and effective way to reach potential customers and generate new business. With a clearly defined target market, it is much easier to determine where and how to market your business.

3. Establish your COMPETITIVE ADVANTAGE
Research and understand your competitive landscape, it is a powerful tool that will enable you to better position your business and take advantage of any weaknesses or opportunities in the market.

Online research is free, easy to access and is something you can do yourself in your own time. Who are your competitors targeting? Who are their current customers? Don’t go after the same market. You want to find a niche market that they may have overlooked.

The second part of this process includes defining your own competitive advantage or USP (unique selling proposition). What product/service/value/benefit do you offer that your competition does not? What’s unique about your business? It’s so important to clearly communicate this across all of your marketing communications. Make your business memorable and known for something unique.

4. Define your GOALS & OBJECTIVES
This is such a crucial step in the planning process as without this you don’t have a clear path to follow to reach or exceed your goals. It’s important to document both short term and long term objectives for your business. Make your goals meaningful, specific, and measurable. Tangible goals such as profit and new customers will help you keep an eye on the ball at all times.

I use the SMART principal when talking with clients about their goals and objectives.
Specific – What is the precise outcome? Who is responsible?
Measurable – How will progress be measured?
Attainable – Can the objective be achieved with a reasonable amount of effort?
Realistic – Do the responsible parties have the ability and resources to get the job done?
Time dependent – What is the start or finish date?

These first 4 steps should give you plenty to think about and assist you in starting the marketing process for your business. Make sure you keep an eye out for our blog next month to discover the remaining 4 steps in the process. In the meantime, should you have any queries relating to your marketing planning, please get in touch via our contact form.