From the last article, it is clear that investing in building brand awareness will add financial value to the business over time. It is also clear, regardless of whether you focus on building a brand or not, that you do have a brand. Everyone and every business is a brand.
We can’t tell everyone how we want them to think of us. We’ve got no control over this. Everyone makes their own assessments about us. All we can hope for is to manage this in some way. To do this you have to be proactive in presenting your business in the best way possible.
The starting point is you need to be visible. Obvious really, yet it is amazing how many businesses do not do this. They don’t invest time in doing this. They don’t take the time to plan what their goals are for the year ahead. They don’t actively plan for growth. Every business says it wants to grow, but most are purely reactive to growth opportunities.
In recent times, businesses have had to batten down the hatches to survive. Sure, when things are tight, you have to retrench, minimise fixed and variable overheads, but don’t minimise your marketing activities. You have to expand in this area. If this means being smart because cash flow is tight, get creative!
Read the book Every Bastard says no: The 42 Below Story by Geoff Ross. 42 Below built its business on the smell of an oily rag but eventually sold to Bacardi valued at NZ$138 million. So it can be done – if you’re passionate, committed and totally believe in what you are selling.
Being visible is not a series of random acts which tend to be seen as tactical. It has to be planned and you have to be proactive.
Below is a series of questions that will help you plan your fundamental marketing activities for the next 12 months. However this isn’t the definitive marketing plan – it’s a quick overview.
Yearly marketing budget:
Products (or services):
Promotion (lead generation):
Who are the different groups?
What’s the size of the market in each group?
What’s the market segmentation breakdown in each group?
What changes are expected in that market?
What are the trends in that market?
Goals (specific & measurable):
What other industries/markets is your market tied to?
Where can you find out more about your target market?
Your top 3 competitors:
What are your competitors good at?
What are they weak at?
How do they market themselves?
Who runs them?
What would they do to win your customers?
What would you do to target their customers?
Strengths & weaknesses (internal):
Opportunities & threats (external):
Why is my business unique? (My USP)
It should be unique?
It should lead to a unique buying reason?
It should be used repeatedly in your marketing material to strengthen and clarify your brand?
Your competitive advantage(s):
Who is my ideal client/customer?
What is my prospect’s biggest concern?
How can I solve that problem?
What is my business marketing message?
What brand & marketing foundations do I need?
From this exercise you can now plan your monthly marketing and brand building activities for the next 12 months. Creating the plan – and keeping to the plan over the next 12 months – will increase sales through greater visibility and clarity of your offer.
In addition, over time, these activities will build greater brand awareness which in turn will translate into increased and more sustainable revenue.
All it requires on your part is time, energy and commitment to creating this plan and sticking to it!
Michael Major can help you explore and leverage your inherent competitive advantage. Follow his articles over all of the 12 issues, answer his questions and email Michael on firstname.lastname@example.org for feedback. If you send answers for all 12 issues you can be one of four people to win a free half day consultation with Michael.