Marketing is the difference between mediocrity and making millions in your business. Make 2014 the year that you master marketing.
Effective marketing is the ultimate business game-changer. It has the ability to propel your business forward, ensuring you the growth that you want. Yet most businesses treat marketing as an afterthought.
Ongoing effective marketing is the hallmark of successful businesses. If you become a superior marketer, you will generate a sustainable and competitive advantage. Nothing has the power to beat the return-on-investment of great marketing. It’s entirely possible for marketing to deliver an ROI of 100 percent or higher on a consistent basis.
Marketing has three primary objectives:
1. To identify the best and biggest possible pool of desirable clients available to you.
2. To convert those buyers into first-time buyers.
3. Then move these new buyers into repeat-buyers and preferably multiple-product clients.
11 Ideas to improve your marketing in 2014:
- Change your marketing approach
If you’re losing out to your competition, you need to start doing something different. In particular, you need to change your marketing so you stand out from the crowd. To develop breakthrough marketing like this, a two-stage process is usually required:
A. Optimise – Evaluate what is currently working in your marketing mix. Focus on these initiatives and make it work like never before. Eliminate all marketing that has not been working.
B. Innovate – Start engineering some breakthrough marketing strategies which have never been used before. Measure and test these ideas.
- Change your message
Create a new irresistible offer for your current and prospective clients. The message you convey in your marketing will be an extension of what you deliver to the marketplace. Spend time looking for this new irresistible offer, it does exist. When you express your message, you want people to say “Wow!” not “So what?” Spell out this proposition in clear, exciting and vivid terms.
- Improve your unique selling proposition (USP)
This is the new compelling message that differentiates your business from everyone else. To create a great USP, find out what your market truly wants and then demonstrate that you’re the only viable option for delivery of the perfect solution. Your goal is not only to be unique, but trustworthy and reliable as well. Develop a USP which articulates what you do and why you do it better than everyone else.
An example of an effective USP – FedEx used to have a brilliant USP, “When it absolutely, positively has to be there overnight”. They no longer use this slogan, but while it lasted it was a perfect example of a compelling USP. In a few words, FedEx guaranteed that it would deliver your package safely and on time. They replaced it with the slogan, “The World on Time”, which is vague and doesn’t contain a USP. A good example that you shouldn’t change what is working.
- Differentiate your Business
If you believe your product or service is a commodity and that your business behaves just like everyone else in your industry, then you turn your business into a straight-forward commodity. Commodities are normally distinguished by price alone and this is a dangerous place to position your business.
You will get marginalised by the marketplace and everyone will treat your product or service like a commodity. You must achieve the opposite. You have to differentiate and distinguish yourself and your offering in ways nobody else can match.
An example of differentiation – If you are in the pizza delivery business you would typically try and differentiate yourself as follows: “Fresh, hot pizza, delivered in 30 minutes or less…guaranteed, or you don’t pay.”
- Choose a strategy of pre-eminence
You must be pre-eminent in your industry in order to stand out from everyone else. Prove in noticeable ways that your business, product or service is a better investment than any of your competitors. You will achieve this goal of goals if you do more, serve better and provide clients with superior value and results. You want to earn the reputation of being your client’s most trusted advisor. You want to position your business and yourself as the authority in your market space.
- Make great deals with the media
There has never been a better time to be buying advertising space in newspapers, magazines and on radio. The rate card has been thrown out the window and you can get some unbelievable deals. Take full advantage of this huge opportunity. While your competitors are cutting back on advertising (there’s a recession you know), you can be doubling up on your advertising for modest increases in cost. Consumers are still buying so get to them and sell.
- Offer irresistible deals to new clients
Come up with some offers that are just impossible to refuse. These might be added value packages, offer guarantees, extended trial periods, deferred payment plans, up-selling, cross-selling or bundling of add-on products. Do whatever it takes to make people act. Provide more sales support and follow-up than usual so prospective clients get motivated to act. This all happens while your competitors are cutting back and hibernating through the slowdown.
- Appropriate (steal) your competitor’s sales force
Approach the best salespeople who work for your competitors and make them an offer. Get the best talent to join your team and get them committed to growing your business. There will never be a better time to recruit sales superstars than right now.
- Become an expert at Bartering
During an economic downturn, bartering becomes a powerful tool, especially if it does not hurt your inventory or minimize actual sales. Try and do more effective business bartering, as this is a dynamic way to increase your ROI. Smart bartering creates an impression to other businesses that your product or service is in demand. Always remember – business begets business. Good barter deals leave both parties satisfied. Bartering can be used in many imaginative ways:
- You can save cash on capital expenditures.
- You can issue credits to be used in the future.
- You can convert what you’ve acquired by barter into cash.
- You can pay employee bonuses in bartered goods.
- You can conserve your cash resources.
- Get busy penetrating new markets
In an economic slowdown, the odds are strong that your competitors will be nervously focusing on their existing business. Use this as a perfect opportunity to focus on other alternative market niches. Even in a tight economy, it’s business as usual. Customers are buying the things they need to solve their problems. Look for creative and innovative ways to access new market niches. Have a growth oriented mindset and look for new opportunities everywhere. In today’s market, if you’re not continuously innovating, then you’re not adding value. And if you’re not adding value, your customers will find it somewhere else.
- Measure the lifetime values of your clients
Once you clearly establish how much a new long-term client is worth to your business, then you know how much you can spend in attracting first-time buyers at a profit. Know your numbers. Calculate the exact life-time value of your average client. Don’t create a ‘marketing budget’, but a ‘cost of client acquisition’ budget. The results of this focus and clarity will drive your results.
The goal of this article is to help you generate ideas for your 2014 marketing plan. One great business boosting idea can make a tremendous difference in your business. Now is the time to make something happen in your business.
John Lloyd is a business growth strategist, award-winning marketer, speaker, trainer, columnist and author of the book Smart Thinking for Crazy Times.
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