Setting the Foundation for Marketing Success by Getting Back to the Basics
Marketing can be an overwhelming part of running a small business. Here are three basic tactics you can use for a simple, cost effective strategy.
Whether you are a business owner wading through the sea of marketing tools or the lone marketer in an organization trying to keep up, there are some tried and true basics to set the foundation for marketing success.
“Success” isn't just defined by having the latest and shiniest tools at your disposal. Many smaller companies don't have the budget and/or staff to support them. So, what can you do to stand out from the competition in a world where the mediums to market seem daunting?
Start with the following three basic tactics.
Back to basics tactic no. 1: Messaging. Craft a concise message that focuses on what sets you apart from the competition. What is the one thing that you do differently from your competitors? Even if it seems small, it may just be the reason they buy from you.
Equally important is to make sure that the message is known and spoken across your organization. Reinforcement is what helps to build a brand so educate your entire organization on that differentiator and elevator pitch. Go holistically to the street with the same message.
Back to basics tactic no. 2: Customer Insights. Whether you have five customers or five thousand, you should be collecting data on how your customers view you. A simple email to your top customers asking why they buy from you all the way to a survey with both quantitative and qualitative questions will help inform your differentiator. Collecting data as you grow will help you to look at past trends and, in time, predict future ones.
Back to basics tactic no. 3: Networking. Never underestimate the power of face-to-face marketing. While social media, text, and email marketing certainly have an important role, there is still great value in one-on-one communication; especially for the sake of brand recognition and relationship building. Find conferences and events that your customers and ideal prospects will be attending. Send your entire team—not just those in sales—to network.
A great example for networking in the technology space is Tech Pint. It’s a place for technology practitioners from many different industries to socialize and learn, typically over drinks. This is relationship building at its finest as it is peer-to-peer only. It removes the direct sales piece from the equation.
Another idea is to host an event for your customers and top prospects. Whether it’s a sporting event, happy hour, or lunch and learn, adding in a brief learning component can go a long way with creating customer loyalty and new at-bats. Also, it’s scalable based on budget.
To recap, set the foundation for marketing success by knowing who you are in the competitive landscape and what your customers want, and by making sure you stay in front of them. The tools are the means to simplify the tactical and cast a wider net. Without a solid foundation, the tools just become noise.
Nicole Ponstingle is the COO and a partner at Pandata LLC, a Cleveland-based data science consulting firm.