I recently finish reading “A Crash Course in Marketing” by David H. Bangs and Andi Anxman. Although it was written a few years ago and many of the concepts of eCommerce were out dated, there were really good marketing ideas presented that made me reflect on what I am (and am not) doing with my businesses at this point.
The book covered a lot of ground: from Setting Market Goals to Learning About Your Market to Interacting with Your Customers. As I read the book, I really felt guilty and almost depressed that I’m not doing more for my businesses. Goals, goals, goals – if I don’t write down what I want and need to accomplish, I will never achieve the highest levels of success with any of my businesses.
The authors talk about the 4 P’s of marketing: Product, Place, Price and Promotion. They take it a few steps further than that though. They also include these factors:
- Perception: how your products are perceived by you target market may be more important than any other single factor in marketing. Finding out what your market really thinks about your product is crucial; what you think doesn’t really matter if your target audience doesn’t like it.
- Positioning: how can you position your product or service in the minds of the consumers you are trying to reach? How does what you offer differ from your competitors? Do you even know who your real competitors are?
- Potential: a sure way to lose money is to plunge ahead and market a product without making sure there’s demand in the market. Don’t waist effort on duds. As a small business owner, you don’t have the luxury or financial means to toss a product out there hoping people will all of a sudden want it.
- Professional help: there’s a really good reason why smart business owners invest in expert advice from people that have been there and done that. Think of professional help as an investment in future profits.
- Planning: planning beats hoping and wishing for business success. You need two plans – a business plan and a marketing plan. The business plan helps identify broad opportunities. The marketing plan is the “plan of attack”, putting the goals in motion.
- Product Knowledge: If you don’t know your product (or service), how do you plan to sell it? I really liked this point because far too many times, clients want to sell what’s “hot” at that moment. So does everyone else! In order to avoid multiple learning curves, do something you have some knowledge about. Good presentations move product quickly. If you can’t tell a consumer why your product is good from them, why would they ever buy from you?
- Prioritizing: Marketing can be so overwhelming and complex. Setting priorities is so crucial to the success of your start-up business. You have to set priorities to assure progress toward a certain goal or objective. Some things have to be done before others: market (keyword) research, finding suppliers, setting up the business entity – things like this definitely come before the actual site will be live for all to see. Our main job as business owners is to make sure the important jobs are done first. For this reason, we set goals with timelines on when we want things done.
There were other things talked about but those are some that stuck out to me. As many of my clients have mentioned at one time or another, the feeling overwhelment happens to all of us. The concept of “Small Success leads to Big Success”, if believed in, will really take you to levels you never thought you could get. It’s because of that overwhelming feeling that I encourage clients to write down all the small things that are leading towards their big success. They can then go back and review the progress they’ve made, and their confidence and self-motivation will stay strong.
Probably the best thing I read in the whole book, the information I valued most, was the idea that marketing is an ongoing endeavor. There are always new things to try, experiments to test, and the results can be amazing. The future is bright as we implement what we learn.