Marketing isn’t always a high priority for some business owners because they can feel intimidated, even defeated, by it. They understand sales – but marketing? What’s it for? Why do you do it? And when you only turn to marketing to pull you out of a slump and then it doesn’t deliver, we can see how you could feel like that.
But marketing is just like any other part of your business – it requires strategy and then the tactics to implement the strategy. What often happens is that business owners come up with the tactics, but not the strategy. And therein lies the problem!
When it comes to marketing strategy, you’re more of an expert than you may realize. After all, who knows your customers better than anyone? You do. Marketing is all about your market, ie: your customers. As a
business owner, you are most likely involved in the sales process, and have a very good sense through your sales as to why your customers buy your products or services. Understanding your customer – why they buy
from you and why they value your products or services – is as basic as marketing gets. That said, however, as business owners, we most likely don’t spend enough time thinking about this critical, and very strategic issue, or how to articulate it.
So, let’s start with a simple exercise. Fill in the blanks:
We work with (1. target market) who have (2. problem).
We do (3. solution) that (4. benefit).
We’re different because (5. uniqueness).
Let’s take Anchor Advisors as an example:
We work with 1.) Chicagoland small business owners who have 10-100 employees and who have 2.) growing pains and want to improve the health of their business.
We provide 3.) strategic and tactical business management services that 4.) help them grow their business,
move with confidence and make quicker decisions.
We’re different because 5.) We don’t just give advice; we roll up our sleeves and work alongside business owners to help them move their businesses forward.
Simple enough, right? What we’ve just defined here is a Positioning Statement. This simple, no-nonsense statement has tremendous value, and it is the foundation of all your marketing efforts – your elevator pitch, your sales presentations, your website home page, etc.
The Positioning Statement is something that every business owner should be able to articulate. But what we find in working with business owners, however, is that many businesses don’t have a Positioning Statement! After a little brainstorming with the business owner and other employees, we can often have a rough Positioning Statement in place. If we can’t, it’s often because the business doesn’t understand enough about its customers or hasn’t spent enough time speaking directly with them. Under these circumstances, the business needs to gather feedback directly from the customer, through interviews or surveys, and channel this feedback into a Positioning Statement. It’s not hard, and it’s not complicated. We promise.
Here are a few steps for developing a Positioning Statement:
- Get out there and listen to your customers. Don’t assume you know what their problems and needs are.
- Group the problems into similar categories. For each category, describe how your business addresses the problems.
- Look at your competitors. For each category, describe how your competitor/s address the same problems.
- Based on your information from 2) and 3), write a statement that
describes the single most compelling reason that a customer would do
business with you. Make sure it states your distinctive advantage. Keep
it short. Keep it clear.
- Voilá! You have just authored a Positioning Statement.
Not only have you authored a Positioning Statement, but you’ve set the foundation for all of your marketing efforts. Now you’re ready to start developing a marketing plan that will bring about your desired result – attracting new clients so you can build your business. And that’s what marketing is for and why you do it.
Brigitte Ozzello is an advisor at Anchor Advisors.
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