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Oyez! Oyez! Oyez! Is Anybody Listening?

Once upon a time news was delivered on the local green by the Town Crier. His three cries commanded a respectful silence and the attention of everyone who listened attentively to his announcement. If only we could enjoy that same eagerness to hear today … what a marketing success that would be!

But those days are gone. Today’s world, where news and views cross continents at the click of a mouse, is stuffed with messages. We suffer from information overload and don’t know who to listen to first. If you’re in business, getting potential customers to hear your message is becoming more and more of a challenge. If that’s not daunting enough, the “customer” has been transformed from spendaholic to skinflint practically overnight. Having wallowed comfortably in consumerism for many years and suddenly been battered by the effects of the global economic crisis, today’s customers are much more savvy about spending.

What this all calls for is a greater focus on marketing planning

Review your product/service, know who you’re aiming at, be driven by results and stand out from the crowd. Build your marketing on the uniqueness of your business then through conventional and more unusual methods create a great-value brand to tempt truly discerning customers. In spite of the recession don’t be tempted to trim back, shelve, or conveniently forget marketing. Right now that would be short-sighted. Experience tells us that, in the past, when businesses have cut back too much they have paid the price. Instead you need to implement a solid marketing plan.

From the outset with my start-up, Diva Cosmetics, I relied on my industry background and marketing toolset knowledge to do just this. I reviewed all my options to promote and determine a well considered and practical plan. I evaluated it consistently and the result was marketing success. Since selling Diva Cosmetics, I’ve consulted many entrepreneurs and SMEs using my proven methods, helping them to achieve success. Where marketing is concerned, you need to start by analysing the competition, reviewing your product/service offering, identifying your target market and allocating resources to activities that are likely to bring maximum return.

Whether you opt for traditional advertising or buy into the technological advances that now shape the way we live and work, when it comes to the basics of business marketing, things haven’t changed.

1. When setting your objectives consider what you want to achieve. Build a profile of your typical customers: who they are, what they do and how you could connect with them. Do your research carefully and figure out how you can make approaches to this group. Remember to be specific because blanket marketing, with no particular customer in mind, isn’t a good idea.

2. Now you know what you want and who you’re after, how are you going to make it happen? Let’s talk strategy. Thoroughly investigate your activity options. Cost up your proposed activities. Once finalised, plot them on a calendar and stick to it. Don’t be tempted to try reactive, unplanned, or poorly considered marketing – it doesn’t work.

3. Brainstorm what you can do for free. Marketing doesn’t need to be an expensive exercise and it always pays to think creatively about solutions. Once you have a customer base, be up front about asking them to tell their friends about your business because viral marketing is simply the best.

4. What are your tactics? Take a long, hard look at the competition: learn from what they are doing. Work out the specifics of your strategy to include a review of each marketing activity. Measuring your return on marketing investment is one of the greatest challenges but continuous review and assessment is essential

Once your marketing activities begin, ensure you track results on a database. This will allow you to see what particular aspect is most valuable either in terms of increasing your business profile, attracting customers or increasing sales. In my book BOOM! 7 disciplines to CONTROL, GROW and ADD IMPACT to your business, I cover in depth how to develop a successful marketing strategy for any business – from management to spreadsheets – and it has proven to be a huge benefit to all my clients. My advice to you is sort out a solid marketing plan; understand what your customer wants to hear so when you send your message they’re ready to listen.

Emma Wimhurst - The High-Energy Business Mentor, Successful Entrepreneur, Business Owner, Writer, Motivational Speaker, Business Mentor, Business Turnaround Expert

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  • Irial, what you describe sounds a lot like “security” to me. In my experience, very insecure people make lousy leaders 🙂

  • Isn’t being “secure: having “a strong sense of who they are and what they’re about”? By being secure within themselves a Leader can lead authentically and empower their team to take on self leadership within their own being, resulting in a more autonomous role. This can free up time for the leader/manager to deal with strategy and dedicate time for those requiring more direction. In my opinion, insecurity is not conducive to powerful leadership, but results in a more dictator-style control.

  • Anonymous

    Very cool, fingers firmly crossed 😀

  • Anonymous

    I think there is a difference between ‘security’ and authenticity – while both do involve knowing who you are and what you believe in i.e. your values – authenticity, in my opinion, also encompasses being consistent and transparent in these values and also your actions. Authentic leadership is also associated with the promotion of positive states such as confidence, optimism, hope etc.. while ones own ‘self-security’ can often be a barrier to engendering such feelings in others.

    I like the piece about gremlins – hadn’t heard that before, although I’ve experienced it !

  • Hi Kelvin, Firstly I can say thanks for the great posts, I have really enjoyed them. In relation to your explanation of the difference between security and authenticity, it sounds like that it is in how you choose to express your leadership that defines your authenticity?

  • Anonymous

    Thanks Niall, I started to work on a reply to you, but in the end ( after hitting 400 words ! ) decided to post it as a separate topic about ‘managing’ your authenticity

  • Ill look forward to it as your next blog post so 🙂

  • Congrats to the winners! By the way, watch out for minute 1:40 in the video. Who’s whispering “tickets”? Lol

  • Anonymous

    Apologies for delay in responding. I think it would be fair to say that authentic leaders are secure in themselves. The question then becomes “are all secure people authentic leaders?” I would think probably not as not all people who are secure in themselves lead others, albeit they probably do inspire others. I think there are more elements to leadership, based on a strong foundation of sense of self-awareness and self-acceptance, which generates the self-security.

  • Anonymous

    Forgot to say that I couldn’t agree more with you on your comment that insecure people making lousy leaders, Niall.

  • Agreed, It’s a cornerstone or a raw material of leadership, but it in itself does not make a leader. I am really enjoying learning from your posts. Thank you.

  • Good post Emma. Useful points to contrast with our existing marketing strategies.
    I’d like to add to point 3 regarding free marketing ideas… Yesterday we launched a new post: “How can you improve the experience using social media?” These are also simple and free ideas to make a business truly different and better 🙂 Hope you like it.

  • Hi Emma, another excellent post! Thanks for sharing. “Marketing doesn’t need to be an expensive exercise and it always pays to think creatively about solutions” I think that this is a key point and missed by a lot of small businesses. Marketing is now available to everyone and the net provides a business with the opportunities to reach a huge audience provided you employ a little creative strategy.

  • Hi Emma,
    Thanks for sharing those tips – they are very useful. Anyone in business long enough will know them already, but its great to be reminded that marketing smarter doesn’t necessarily mean marketing harder, or spending more money.
    Re Point 4, I believe ego can get in the way of keeping tabs on our competition. I agree they should be kept close, rather than trying to distance ourselves from them. As the saying goes, keep your friends close, but your enemies closer.
    However, I think its also necessary not to lose sight of where we are going individually, and remember there is a uniqueness about every business. As AJ Kitt said – “You have no control over what the other guy does. You only have control over what you do.”

  • Anonymous

    A good point you make. We are deluged in information. The trick is to talk in a voice that is low, but clear enough to cut through the babble and reach the people it’s intended to reach.

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