You may be wondering what marketing is, and how to start marketing your business? People often confuse marketing with advertising, public relations and even promotions. The truth of the matter is, all of these promotional elements are forms of marketing. In fact, anything that gets people to know, like and trust you in the interest of improving their condition, is marketing.
So, if you're filling out a profile about yourself on Match.com, you're marketing.
If you're speaking at an event and telling a room full of people that you offer accounting services, you're marketing.
And if you're asking your customers questions about what type of advertisement they think would get your business more customers, you're doing marketing.
How to Start Marketing Your Business
So now you may be asking, "Matt, now that I know what marketing is, how do I start marketing my business?" Well, we can't talk about marketing without talking about my theory of Battlenomics. While marketing is a bunch of free-floating elements that are there to help you promote your business, Battlenomics is a marketing system built with the most practical elements that you'll need to be successful.
Battlenomics is a marketing system that guides you to the top of your business sector.
Marketing Starts with Branding
Before you even start thinking about how to advertise and where to advertise, you first need to think of how your product improves the condition of your target market, and what about that improvement can be differentiated from your competitors.
You see, your customer has so many options at their disposal with regard to your product; so, what about your product stands out? This process is known as branding, and if marketing a business is adulthood, branding is the childhood of your business that will one day make your business a productive member of society.
Getting People to Know You
Once you've branded your business in accordance with what will 1) differentiate you from your competition, and 2) make your product irresistible to your target market, you're now ready to begin promoting your business/product/services.
Promoting your business begins with gaining popularity. After all, marketing starts with people getting to know you. When you have a properly developed brand and message (design, copy, scripts, etc.), you can now go into the world fearless about promoting your business. However, what will give you the greatest amount of popularity? Well, let's use Battlenomics to decide this.
Are You a B2B or B2C?
There is a huge difference between what type of promotional mediums you will begin using based on whether you sell to consumers, or other businesses. For instance, if you are a new B2B business, you will start with a more direct approach of client acquisition to maximize a more short term client acquisition strategy to minimize spending, such as:
- Direct Mail
- Hosting Seminars
- Sales Calls
However, if you are selling to consumers and rely on a lot of volume, you should start promoting your message by blasting it wherever your target market may be. For example:
- Television Ads
- Radio Ads
- Print Ads
Once your marketing budget allows, you can begin marketing on a mass scale as a B2B, and on a more direct scale as a B2C.
Track Your Competition
Before we consider where you should be promoting your business, let's start by taking a look at where your competitors are promoting their business. After all, larger more established firms have already done the hard work of market research for you.
The great thing about branding your business for maximum differentiation from your competition is now when you discover your competitor is advertising on a billboard on the A.C. expressway, you can too, because you are a shining alternative to what your target market had previously been exposed to. This is called: Promotional Flanking.
Promotional Flanking: Advertising a differentiated message in the vicinity of your competitor's promotion.
Case Study: We began running advertisements in the Star Ledger for a law firm client. While our client's competitor was advertising, "cheap," "fast" and "desirable" judgments on a case, we advertised our client as a "valuable," "thorough" and "proven" firm.
There are several different ways you can conduct promotional flanking, such as:
- Direct mail
- Search Engine Optimization
- Television commercials
The most aggressive form of promotional flanking you'll find is during every election season as politicians pound away at the record/message of competitors in the interest of making themselves the desirable alternative. This is called Aggressive Promotional Flanking.
Aggressive Promotional Flanking: Directly targeting your competitors by associating their brand with negativity.
In this act of aggressive promotional flanking displayed in the video below, Apple launches a television ad during the 1984 Superbowl perpetuating the idea that IBM was creating a world similar to that of the anti-individualistic novel: Nineteen Eighty-Four.
Follow Your Imagination
Now that you've identified where and how you competitors are advertising, you can now begin creating ideas of your own to maximize the popularity of your company in your own unique way.
Case Study: Imprinsic found a unique way to advertise for a new Indian restaurant looking to attract an upscale crowd. Imprinsic launched an advertising program directed at working professionals who commute from the nearby NJ Rail Transit station to New York City.
Thinking outside of the proverbial box is what's going to give you a tremendous edge over your competition.
Marry Your Affiliates (Perpendicular Competitors)
A Perpendicular Competitor provides the same benefit of your product to your target market, yet, with a different benefit. The beauty of perpendicular competitors if you can strike affiliations with them in the interest of making additional introduction of your company to your target market.
On a monthly basis, you should be reaching out to your various perpendicular competitors and having them promote your message for an agreed upon incentive.
Case Study: We were contracted by a chain of Charter Schools to increase their enrollment. We identified all of their local Perpendicular Competitors, (music schools, art schools, daycares, martial arts schools, etc.) and paid them a small fee to promote our client's open house. The open house was a huge success, and their waiting list continues to be at maximum capacity to this day as they now use this strategy every year.
Just remember that a lot of companies have already done the hard work of attracting your target market. As long as you don't offer the same product as them, they should have no problem referring business to you in the interest of predetermined incentives.
Getting People to Like You
Getting people to like you boils down to your message. That is, how does the subject of your message truly benefit your target market without offending them? All too often marketers make ridiculous offers hoping to drive attention and sales. At the end of the day, this type of high-promise and obvious low-reward alienates more people than it attracts, and at the end of the day, this is a short-term strategy adopted by the morally bankrupt alone.
The point is, your message should always be communicating the real value of your product, and not some narcissistic ramble filled with hob-knob and hyperbole.
The goal of your promotions should be the following:
- Get people curious about your product with an effective headline
- Generate interest and desire in your product with effective copy
- Drive your potential customer to performing an action because the value you are claiming to add to their life is too compelling to pass up
When developing your copy, always act as if your potential customer is a coach potato who will only move to eat. The point is, what will compel this lazy, unkempt individual to get up and call you? This is exactly the challenge you face, and if your message can't get this slob up, you must assume it won't get anybody up, and your campaign will fail.
Create promotions in marketing that propose to add, without a shadow of a doubt, value into your potential customers' life that they can't live without.
Getting People to Trust You
Consistency is the key to building trust. The more places you advertise, the greater the number of people that will get to know you. However, the more frequently you advertise to the same people, the more they will start to trust you. So what this means is that if you have the budget for 1000 direct mailers, you should advertise to the same 200 people, 5 different times. If you have the budget for 4 billboards in multiple places for 6 months, use that budget to buy 2 billboards in 2 locations for 12 months. Get the point?
So just remember that consistency is the key -- consistency in advertising, message and design.
Case Study: Priceline decided to literally kill the William Shatner character from their brand's message, thereby disrupting the consistency of their message. Within 6 months, their shares plummeted, and the 'Negotiator' character (William Shatner) was quickly re-hired, as you'll notice during nighttime commercial breaks.
Marketing is getting people to know like and trust you in the interest of improving their condition. Once you can get a good strategic marketing plan in place by leveraging Battlenomics, you'll have no problem consistently getting new, and keeping existing, customers.
Don't compete — DOMINATE.
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Matt Steffen was Listed by Forbes as the #1 Marketing Consultant Who Avoids the B.S.