Column from Florida Trend's Business Coach
I’ve have had clients in the past who managed their businesses by only zeroing in on the need to generate revenue. Before you quickly agree that there’s nothing more important than sales, notice I said “only”.
Of course every company needs to make the selling of their product or service the dominating goal in everything they do. Yet, focusing all activities on just sales without any kind of strategy in place is a recipe for disaster.
You may not want to hear this, but chasing prospects in the absence of a marketing strategy and plan of success will often lead to very disappointing results.
Usually business owners and executives that do this get themselves into a cycle of constantly trying different tactics to see what works. They begin to believe that these ever changing tactics are just different strategy initiatives.
It’s as if they want to build a large and beautiful house overnight and decide not to test the soil and pour the appropriate amount of concrete for the foundation in order to speed the process up.
I know you’re busy with the day-to-day hassles of running a business and are itching to grow revenue. But, the easiest way to improve sales, keep customers happy, and stay in business is to have a marketing strategy before you even begin to think of what tactics to use. If you don’t, your company’s long-term survival will be at risk.
Take a step back and use these points as your guide to layout a sound marketing strategy:
What’s the problem? This may seem obvious, yet only by drilling down and examining the problems your product or service solves will you be able to map out a solid marketing strategy. It may not be what you think. Don’t forget about the people side of the equation -- the emotional aspects of how users and decision makers feel when their issue is resolved. A deep understanding of the problems and outcomes that customers are looking for sets a strong strategy foundation;
Decide who matters. Frustration will set in as you slice and dice who might buy your solution and why. The more you can narrow down who your ideal audience is, the easier it will be for you to define a marketing strategy and the tactics that follow. This will help you zero in on which market segments are best for you to spend energy and money attacking;
Fill the strategy-tactic gap.Ultimately, your company’s business goals will dictate your marketing strategy. Decide exactly what you want to accomplish and build your marketing strategy around that. For instance, let’s say you’ve decided to create awareness for a new use of an existing product. That’s your big idea strategy. Now decide who the best prospects are for the new use, what will get the attention of your target audience, the best way to educate them about the new use, how to reach them, and what your clear and irresistible offer will be.
Eureka! You’ve just built a plan that has a reasonable marketing strategy and the tactics you need to execute it. Your company will now get more brand exposure, generate more leads, and be a lot more profitable.
Without a marketing strategy in place, the tactics you try run the risk of falling far short of the results your want.
Ron Stein is the founder and President of FastPath Marketing (www.marketing-strategies-guide.com). He has more than 20 years experience in sales, marketing, and business development, working positions ranging from salesman to vice president of sales and marketing to CEO of startups with industry leaders such as Motorola, VideoServer, Paradyne, and SercoNet. Ron is a member of the advisory team at the Tampa Bay Innovation Center, a nationally recognized entrepreneurial and startup accelerator for the state of Florida. He can be reached at 727-398-1855 or Ron@FastPathMarketing.com