Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Marketing in a Can

Innovation may be a thing of the past for many small business owners. I have always been fascinated to watch how marketing trends develop over time for small business. It seems as soon as someone creates a concept and shows any amount of success other business owners follow it like bees to honey.

The small business owner believes that by simply following a marketing formula used by another they can achieve the same levels of success. Don’t get me wrong there are great marketing people running small businesses today with great success. But my guess is if you really study the reasons they are successful is because they took an idea and adapted it to their own situation and market.

As I continue to work with clients from all over the country I am amazed and sometimes amused by the frustration they feel when a so called “sure-fire” marketing campaign does not work for them. The comment is “well it worked for them”. It probably did but it doesn’t mean you can duplicate their success by following their program.

In order to maximize your success you have to be able to know and understand your potential client and their demographic. What are their goals, their wants and what motivates their buying decision. My experience shows the same target demographic in different regions of the country respond differently to the same marketing messages. Environmental influences do impact the thinking of your potential customer.

An example I will use from a much larger scale. A certain big box discount chain modifies the inventory they carry in their stores based on the population demographic. They have learned to track sales and marketing trends on an individual store basis. Then they are able to maximize profitability by offering the goods and services which are most saleable based on the information they have collected.

Usually when you see a “sure-fire” marketing campaign or someone tries to sell you on a marketing program based on national trends you want to be somewhat leery. Yes they can work but usually with some modification for your situation. I have yet to find a one-size fits all program which is successful across the board.

Pounding a square peg into a round hole only leaves the peg and the hole damaged and the hammer frustrated. When you begin to consider marketing for your business evaluate how you can best implement the concept. Answer the following questions.

Who is your target client? How can you best get information to them? What is the best way to present your offer to them? What products and services do they value and how are you appealing to their values? In answering these questions you will be able to formulate and adapt your marketing to your intended clients.

Now, evaluate how to best get your message out. Generally it will be a combination of media. Select wisely and be sure to evaluate the return on your marketing investment. Monitor where your clients are coming from. What media worked? What did not work and how can you adapt future advertising to maximize your investment.

Remember you need to maximize your opportunities and this starts with being sure you understand your potential customer and what will attract them to you. Be careful not to over invest in you advertising or in programs which may not be effective for you. Learn all you can about your client base and make that information work for you.

No comments: