Published in Australian Anthill Magazine,
Dec 2008/Jan 2009
Marketing is war, anyway you look at it. You are battling the enemy, your competition. You are battling to dominate the market. Marketing is combat, and for every combat you need a strategy. Tighten your helmet as Jordan Mullen guides you through the trenches.
Statistics show that more than 40 percent of businesses fail in the first year and a further 80 percent of those remaining are out of business within the first five years of operation. How are you going to stop this from happening to your business? You need to be equipped with the latest weapons, tactics and strategies that will help you to not only succeed but dominate your prospective market.
Part I: Have the right mission.
Most small-to-medium-size businesses enter the battlefield with the wrong mission in mind. They go in targeting too much of the market at once and they get destroyed before they have a chance to establish equitable trade. Strategic marketing is not about trying to dominate the whole market but rather about targeting narrow, niche markets.
Do you have a multi-million dollar advertising budget? If not, there is no way you will succeed in reaching and appealing to your whole market at once. Large corporations can afford to spend millions of dollars on branding to get their identity well known in the marketplace. You need a targeted marketing strategy so you can better reach and engage your niche markets. By conducting targeted marketing campaigns you will generate more business for every dollar you spend on advertising.
You should never enter the battlefield of business without knowing which niche markets you are going to target. You need to do the necessary research, as a standard due diligence practice, to define these markets and how you are going to appeal to them. Your previous clients hold the key to unlocking extremely useful information. One way of gathering this information is by conducting incentive-driven surveys. A survey with the right questions will reveal the character and motivations of your ideal audience.
Part II: Use the best weapons.
There are many businesses trying to win this war by using old and ineffective weapons or marketing tools. A strategic marketer knows he always needs to target the market using the most appropriate weapons, or the enemy will capture that market first.
Statistics show that over 15 million Australians are now using the internet. When you are researching, what do you normally do? Go to Google or Yahoo? A large number of these 15 million Australians will always do their research before they buy and normally the first place they go to is a search engine. If your website is an effective marketing tool, you should be trying to channel as much search-engine traffic to it as possible.
Traditionally, it has been very difficult to have your business included in the first page of returns for a search query relevant to your business. Now, you can get to the number one page of Google and Yahoo within five minutes thanks to ‘Pay Per Click’ advertising. By setting up a Pay-Per-Click advertising account, you will be able to channel highly targeted traffic to your web site.The best thing about this form of advertising is that you only pay for each click through to your website.
To get the best results from this form of advertising, set up highly targeted ads that are only displayed when your market audience types in specific keywords in the key search engines. This way, you know that the people visiting your web site are interested and proactively searching for what you offer.
Part III: Keeping the enemy at bay
Competition is good. It forces you to be innovative and efficient. If you don’t give your customers good reason to stay loyal, your competitors will certainly give them a reason to leave. This is why it’s critical to stay closely connected with your previous clients. The 80/20 principle holds that 20 percent of your clients will produce 80 percent of your revenue. Don’t spend your entire marketing budget chasing new clients. Make sure you keep existing clients happy and they will stick with you for the journey and spread the good word.
The big battle in business is conquering the customers’ mind share. When you think hamburgers, what is the first business that comes to mind? McDonalds, Hungry Jacks? These businesses are always battling for mind share, because mind share equals repeat business.
If you are an industry expert, share relevant and useful information with your market as often as possible. Customers are attracted to authorities in a given field. If this field happens to be your battlefield, don’t be afraid to flex your muscle. Customers may not always admit it, but out there on the front line, they like a good show of force. They’re looking for a leader.
There are many different ways of doing this. One is by sending out a newsletter to your client database on a regular basis. Lots of businesses do this, but they send out promotional information rather than useful information. People don’t like promotional material because they class it as junk mail. What businesses should be doing is not selling but giving. By frequently sending out a newsletter that shares useful tips, ideas and articles, you will help clients realise you are valuable to them. Think about this: Where will people go when they are in the market for your products or services? A business they don’t know or trust? Or a business that regularly keeps in contact with them and is always giving out valuable and useful information?
Part IV: Raise up an army
The more man (and woman) power you have, the more chances you will have of staying ahead of competitors in the battle for mind share and market dominance in your niche. You need to raise up an army of soldiers who are willing to go into battle with you.
We have all heard it said that the most powerful way of generating business is through referrals and word of mouth. But did you know that there are strategies you can use to spread word-of-mouth business like wildfire?
Within your customer base there is a group of clients that are constantly talking about you and indirectly continue to generate more business and profit for you. Who are they? Have you singled them out? Do you have incentives that will motivate them? Are you training them on how they can do this job better? In the world of marketing, this group of people is known as your affiliates. The more focused attention you spend on them, the more money they will put in your pocket.
One way of getting your army of affiliates motivated is by offering them a decent incentive for sales they generate for you. If they are generating business for you, imagine how much business they will create if you motivate them with incentives.
There are many different incentives you can offer, but the incentive that motivates best is cold, hard cash. And the more money you offer, the more motivated they will be. You also need to consider training this army to be more effective in bringing you more leads and referrals. Imagine sending an army out to battle without the necessary training required. They will not succeed. It is in your best interest to train your affiliates to be more effective at what they do for you. This can be done by offering tips and strategies that will help your affiliates generate more referrals for your business.
In ‘The Art of War’, the ancient Chinese military strategist Sun Tzu wrote, “If ignorant both of your enemy and yourself, you are certain to be in peril.”
Marketing is war. To treat it any less critically is to invite challenge and defeat.
Jordan Mullen is a strategic marketing consultant and Director of Web Based Marketing. Discover how to generate more leads & enquiries online by ordering FREE Video Series value at $198 www.onlinemarketingadvisor.com.au.