When it comes to marketing, most people know it is an important part of business, but not everyone takes the time to fully understand and implement their marketing activities. Therefore, they practice what I have heard referred to as “Random Acts of Marketing” (RAM). This is when you try this marketing activity and see if it works, then try that marketing activity, and so forth, and so on. This is the worst type of marketing effort, in fact, it reminds me of the saying when you fail to plan, you plan to fail and that is why having a Marketing Plan and someone who will keep you accountable to execute that plan is very important for a small business owner.
The first step to stop RAM in your business is to create a Marketing Plan. When I casually talk to various business owners at networking events, I ask them if they have a written marketing plan and most of the time people do not have a written plan. It’s good to have an idea of what you want to do for your marketing, but a written marketing plan will help you to get clarity in several key areas of your marketing including your target market, the solution that your product or service offers your specific target market, and how you can successfully reach and convert members of your target market into paying customers. When you have clarity on your marketing, then you have clarity in your business, so let’s look at each section in more detail:
KNOW YOUR TARGET MARKET IN DETAIL
The biggest thing I hear a lot of business owners say is, “anyone could use my product or service”, but “anyone” is not a specific market that you can reach out to and create a strategic marketing campaign. The smarter thing to do would be to pick a specific group or groups of individuals who are looking for a solution to a specific problem that your product or service offers a solution for. Get to know that market inside and out. Not just the typical demographics of age, gender, income level, etc., but know the psycho-graphics, what they tend to believe, what hobbies they tend to like, the places they like to go, etc. This is smart marketing and helps a company to achieve better results.
KNOW WHY YOUR PRODUCT OR SERVICE IS THE “IDEAL” SOLUTION
Once you full understand the needs of your target market, the next step is to let your target market know why your product or service is the ideal solution. Unless you live in a bubble, there are probably other people out there who do what you do, so you have to be very clear on what makes you different and ultimately what makes you better, which will encourage people to use your products or services instead of your competitors
KNOW WHERE YOUR TARGET MARKET “HANGS OUT”
Now that you know your target market, you know what their problems are and you know why your company is the ideal solution, now you need to let them know you are available to help! The best way to do this is to find places where your target market hangs out in large quantities and to stand out as the ideal solution for their needs. This can be done in both online and offline.
KNOW THE NECESSARY TERMINOLOGY TO CONVERT YOUR PROSPECTS TO CLIENTS
A lot of marketing involves psychology. It involves getting in the mind of your target audience, understanding their needs, desires, fears, etc. and showing up as a solution through varies marketing activities and using the appropriate terminology to attract your prospects to your business, product or service. It’s one thing to be at the right place at the right time, but it’s a whole other thing to be at the right place, at the right time, saying the right things!
The second step to stop RAM in your business is to have accountability. When I say accountability, I mean someone either internally or externally that is responsible for making sure that your marketing plan is executed successfully. In most medium to large companies a Vice President of Marketing, Chief Marketing Officer, or Marketing Director is the person that is held accountability for the marketing activity of the company, but for smaller businesses that don’t have various departments or the person who is a Entrepreneur or a one man show, he or she tends to add the role of Marketing to the many additional titles and roles that need to be done in the company. The problem with this is that it can be overwhelming at times to manage all the marketing activity and the day to day management and operation of the business, and sometimes the marketing activity falls to the side. That’s why outsourcing some marketing activity to individuals who can assist you can be useful. This could include getting help for some of the strategic marketing planning from marketing experts, and outsourcing some of the marketing activities to individuals who can assist you including:
HIRING A MARKETING COACH
A marketing coach can help you go through the necessary steps you need to take to write your marketing plan and help you to put together a marketing calendar to make sure you schedule out your marketing activity. A coach can also help you to get clear on who you really need to be targeting since most people feel they should be targeting everyone (WRONG!).
HIRING A MARKETING CONSULTANT
A marketing consultant can assist you with looking at your overall business and determining the best type of marketing strategies, systems, and support you will need to accomplish the goals that you would like to achieve.
HIRING A MARKETING ASSISTANT
A marketing assistant can help with getting those marketing activities done. Let’s face it there are only a certain number of hours in the day and having someone available to accomplish those necessary daily, weekly or monthly tasks needed to execute your marketing can be very useful.
So in conclusion, in order to stop practicing Random Acts of Marketing (RAM) you must put together a marketing plan and execute your plan! If you are unable to execute all aspects of your marketing it may be a good idea to get some help from a coach, consultant or assistant.
How do make sure that your company is not practicing RAM?