To state the obvious, developing a great product or service is the most crucial step in a successful business. Your business must provide something that fills a need, solves a problem or improves the life of your customers. But no matter how innovative and beneficial your product/service may be, you need effective ways to get the word out and let people know how important and helpful it will be to them.
This is the most basic, fundamental idea behind marketing. You must create an effective strategy for spreading the word and letting the world know that your product is something it needs. While marketing can be a complex field, and different businesses require different strategies, there are some elements which are fundamental to all marketing plans.
Viewing your business from the right perspective(s) is the most important aspect of building effective marketing strategies. You must be able to view your products, your marketing plan and your entire company from every angle in order to develop the right strategies. But before you can begin, you need to have an in-depth understanding of what you are selling– not just the product itself, but the reasons why the product will improve the lives of customers.
Your Unique Selling Proposition (USP)
The first step is to identify the unique selling proposition (USP) of your business. This is the basic element of your company that sets it apart from the competition and provides a product or service that is beneficial to a customer’s life. To identify your USP, ask yourself a few simple questions about your company and your product/service:
- How does my product/service fill a need for customers?
- What specific needs are being met?
- What sets my product/service apart from the competition?
- What would it take to get the attention of my target customer?
- What promises must be fulfilled to ensure the customer is satisfied?
After you have answered these questions, you should have a better idea about your USP and how your company can provide something that no one else can. This should also give you the basic ideas to build a marketing groundwork.
For example, you may be opening a new coffee shop, but there are likely to be dozens of places people can get coffee within a few miles of your location. But maybe your coffee packs an extra punch of caffeine that can be marketed towards busy professionals. Or perhaps your service goes above and beyond to ensure that every cup and every interaction with your staff bring a smile to customers’ faces.
The Customer’s Perspective
If your plan is to get the attention of a certain group of people and sell them something that they need, you have to begin by trying to see from their perspective. Think of how your product would solve their problem or make their life better, and then try to imagine where and how they would look for such a product.
As your marketing plan evolves, you should always remember to view it from the perspective of those to whom you wish to sell. A few steps to developing a plan include:
- Identify the specific needs met by your product/service
- Market the benefits of the product/service from the viewpoint of those who would buy it
- Share your specific sales proposition in appropriate mediums
- Motivate customers with effective calls to action (CTAs)
- Close sales through a strategic and clear sales technique
Let’s say that you are a personal injury attorney with your own independent practice. You should try to view your marketing strategy from the perspective of someone who is injured, concerned, unable to work, etc. Let them know that your practice is geared specifically at their needs, and that you are uniquely able to bring them financial security, emotional comfort and informed legal guidance.
The Marketer’s Perspective
While you must continue to pose your marketing techniques from the perspective of the potential customer, you must also analyze if from a marketer’s viewpoint. This can be slightly more complex, but a quality marketing perspective will develop more clearly as your strategies evolve. A few tips to help you in this area includ
- Continue to try new things and improve your strategies
- Do not hesitate to dump ineffective techniques
- Order from your own company and get a personal experience of the process
- Keep a marketing journal to include any good ideas you may see or think of
- Watch how consumers interact with other businesses, especially your competition
- Listen to feedback from customers and employees
- Continue to fine-tune and refine your marketing plan based on feedback and testing results
The marketer’s perspective is the final step in the process, and it will be based on your specific company and industry, as well as the needs of your target market. Remember to focus on the benefits your product/service will bring to customers, and develop your marketing perspective around these benefits.