Marketing your business begins with branding.
Before you begin developing a sales proposition for customers, you need to define who your business is, and what your business does. If you are thinking something like “why is that needed, I’m only operating a lowly convenience store,”
Well, I’ve got news for you: so did Sam Walton.
In terms of branding, you need to consider people as well as your product. The people you first need to consider are:
- Your target market
- Your competitor(s)
While considering what your target market needs, you need to be simultaneously considering how your offering is different from your competitors’.
You need to avoid being another “me too” alternative. Differentiation is the key to accomplishing this. There are multiple forms of differentiation you can choose.
Here are some ideas:
- You can be first. Amelia Earhart was not the first person to fly across the Atlantic Ocean. However, she was the first woman to do so.
- You can be better. De Havilland invented the first jet. However, Boeing developed a larger, safer and more reliable jet. The de Havilland Company is no more.
- You can be cheaper. Charles Schwab was not the first brokerage firm; they were the first discount brokerage firm.
- You can be the latest. Intel develops several new microprocessors every year. Their market share just reached a 10-year high as a result.
“Well that’s great Matt, but how do I do this for my business?”
Case Study: A few years back we took on a music school who wished to increase enrollment. Their competitor had not done a good job niching their business for any particular market.
After some research, we determined that kids were the most profitable segment (due to sheer volume) of those seeking out music lessons in our client’s geographical scope area, and so we branded all of our efforts for them.
While their competitor (who had several music schools) was selling music lessons to everyone, we focused our branding (“Music Lessons for Kids“) and marketing (focused on building affiliations with other companies who already serve parents, such as local Charter Schools, sports leagues, cub scout troops, etc., to increase visibility of our client to parents, and drive huge increases in enrollment.
So, the branding of your business will depend on what your competition is doing.
- Are you a new handyman whose competitor is advertising they have been in business since 1900? Good! Brand yourself as the local handyman with state of the art equipment, modern cost saving methods and cutting-edge training. Make it true, and own it.
- Are you a local bar with a competitor who recently was in the news for fighting at their establishment? Pounce them with ads promoting how safe your bar is, and how it is the perfect atmosphere for a ladies night out. After all: Ladies hate violence, and lead to a ton of male customers.
- Are you a national insurance company competing with Geico on price and simplicity? Niche your insurance agency for those who have broken the law, have horrible driving records, are young and are basically social outcasts. You’re looking at a guaranteed 10% of the market.
- Are you a failing city down the shore with Casinos that couldn’t pay their mortgage due to heightened competition from PA and DE? Call me right now!
Clearly defining the needs of your buyers, while also determining ways to stand out in the crowd, overlap a great deal.
Mr. Walton determined which products his customers wanted, while also creating ingenious inventory systems that ensured his prices were significantly lower than his competitors.
Offering a wide range of the products his customers wanted under one roof was Walmart’s sales proposition, while price was Sam Walton’s differentiating idea. Now, you can go to work on yours.
Don't compete — DOMINATE.
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Matt Steffen was Listed by Forbes as the #1 Marketing Consultant Who Avoids the B.S.