“Because the purpose of business is to create a customer, the business enterprise has two–and only two–basic functions: marketing and innovation. Marketing and innovation produce results; all the rest are costs. Marketing is the distinguishing, unique function of the business.” - Peter Drucker, The Practice of Management, 1954
I just got off the phone with a young man that was inquiring about our marketing agency services. He had a friend who's business was in trouble and he was contacting me on his behalf to see if I could help out.
As he was describing his friend's problem, I was struck by the familiarity of the story.
His friend had started a business and was really good at the technical and production aspects of his business. When starting his business, he had some early wins, and a list of highly respectable client's that he had developed solutions for. However his source for those wins had dried up................and, as a result his business was in serious trouble.
At the time of the founding of his business, he thought that he had the source for a steady stream of clients (an independent sales rep with a quality rolodex). Early on, he had some successes, business was good, so it never occured to him that it might be a good idea to develop a marketing plan independent of this rep.
More troubling for him is that his business was built entirely on word of mouth, and he hadn't taken the time to develop a company website. BIG MISTAKE!!
The bottom line: He's good at what he does, but has no clue about what it takes to acquire a customer, or run a business for that matter.
It's an age old story that extends across the entire business spectrum. Many people decide, because they are good at some skill, that their competency is enough to build a business.
Sadly, it's not!!
As we see from Mr. Drucker's quote there are two basic functions needed for business success...............Marketing attracts customers (clients), and innovation is figuring out smarter ways to deliver. Our friend was quite capable at delivering to his clients, but was sadly ignorant at what it takes to develop one.
This is a common story, and if you are reading this, it's possible that you may be experiencing some of the same struggles.
You don't have to hire an inbound marketing agency right away or be a marketing mastermind to generate results. Here are a few BASIC and IMPORTANT STRATEGIES to get you started on the road to marketing success.
22 Basic Marketing Strategies
1. Always put your prospects’ interests first in every aspect of your marketing - While this is not a tactic, this truth should dictate every piece of marketing material that you develop. Nobody, and I mean nobody cares about how great your company is. Prospective customers have a problem and they are looking for someone to provide a solution. Avoid heavy handed, self promoting marketing tactics.
2. Understand your customer - Because putting your prospects interests are so important, it's important that you know who your customers are. Take the time to develop buyer personas and understand your customers' buyer's journey for your product or service.
3. Define your competition - Not only is it important to understand your client, but it's important to understand your competition and their marketing strategy. Take the time to perform market research and determine who you are competing with directly and indirectly.
4. Build an optimized website - A clean, well-designed website is important, but if Google doesn't know you exist, good luck getting found. Make sure that you work with a web design team that understands SEO and knows how to optimize your website. Otherwise, you are throwing your money away.
5. Claim your business online - Google owns the search engine market with an estimated 77% of the marketplace. This one is a simple, one-time thing, but many businesses ignore it. Work directly with Google by claiming your business listing.
7. Include Images - If you are going to blog, know that articles with images get 94% more views. We live in an increasingly visual society, make sure that you don't just build pages filled with text.
8. Optimize Your Content- Just as it's important to optimize your website, it is important to optimize your blog posts and content offers with relevant keywords, so Google knows how to index your content.
9. Use calls-to-action (CTA's), landing pages and online forms - These are the tools of a modern marketing strategy that convert visitors into leads for your sales team.
10. Don't ignore social proof - Social proof serves as an outside validation of a business’s product or service. McDonalds built a global franchise with the simple phrase X Billion served. It works today, just as much as it did 50 years ago.
11. Get on Social Media Platforms - You don't have to be everywhere, but you must be somewhere, otherwise you are losing out on opportunities. Social media is no longer optional.
12. Advertise Online - Google, Facebook, Snapchat. Wherever your ideal clients live online, provides an opportunity to reach them with positive ROI.
13. Video Marketing - Video made great strides in 2017, and will continue to grow in 2018. Here are the latest trends courtesy of Forbes. From the article, 500 million people are watching video on Facebook every day. This is a trend that won't be slowing down anytime soon.
14. Look for social media discussions groups- Whether it's a Twitter chat or group on Facebook or LinkedIn, there are plenty of ways to connect on social media. Join the conversation and get the word out about how you serve your customers.
15. Run a contest- This is a tried and true strategy that can be executed both online or offline. People love joining contests and will provide information (think emails or social media follows) to participate.
16. Don’t forget about email - Pound for pound, email is still one of the best and most trusted forms of marketing information. According to WordStream, email is the third most influential source of information for B2B audiences, behind only colleague recommendations and industry-specific thought leaders. Here is a quick guide for email marketing success.
17. Limited-time offer - If you are contemplating cutting prices on goods and services, consider a limited-time offer. Scarcity goes a long way towards getting people to respond to a great deal. It might be a great way to purge excess inventory or fill up the calendar in slow months.
18. Get in front of people - Face-to-face marketing will always have value. While time managment is crucial, nothing beats a handshake and a good conversation to build trust with a prospective customer.
19. Become an expert in your industry- People inherently trust thought leaders. How do you develop into a thought leader? Your blog will go a long way in establishing your credibility, as well as taking advantage of guest blogging or joining a relevant podcast as a guest.
20. Volunteer to speak at local business groups - Particularly for local businesses, being known in your community or geographic region can go a long way towards establishing credibility. Civic groups, networking organizations or local chambers are always looking for compelling speakers.
21. Submit proposals to speak at industry group conferences - If you are comfortable in front of large audiences, this is one of the best ways to build credibility as a thought leader. Most conferences will allow proposals to be submitted in advance for breakout sessions.
22. Refer business to other businesses in your networks - Network marketing still has value, and by helping others achieve their goals, others will be motivated to return the favor.
Marketing services do not have to be a burden. Many of the items on this list will suit your abilities and desires, but as Mr. Drucker so eloquently stated at the beginning of our article, marketing is one of the primary functions of business, and therefore cannot be ignored. If you have a creative way of marketing your business, drop us a note in the comments section.
David, a HubSpot Certified Inbound Marketer is the Chief Content Creator for InTouch Marketing and its clients.