Save time and money and get your marketing right with these steps.

Answering these nine questions, will not only save you time, but money as your brand strategy is the foundation to all your marketing.

At the end of this process you will be able to:

  • Clearly articulate the essence of what you do
  • Know where (and where not!) to put your marketing dollars
  • Work smarter and not harder
  • Save time on making the correct decisions in your business
  • Empower everyone in the business to live and deliver on the brand
  • Build a clear consistent promise across all customer touch points

1). How do you describe your organisation and what you do?

Many small businesses run before they can walk leaving people asking what do you do? You need to be able to condense the essence of what you do in to 1-2 sentences.

In 1-2 sentences write down what your business does – What Product and service do you offer to whom and why should they care?

2) What are your products and services and how are they packaged and priced

What do you do that’s unique? Emphasise this as a strength

In a table, list your product and service and how much you charge – list a representative sample if you have a lot of products. If you have packages, detail those and what they include.

3) What are your strength’s & weaknesses

Play to your strengths and address/downplay your weaknesses.

Look at this from the bigger picture perspective – the macro view, not individual products, think about your overall business strengths.  What does your business really have going for it? What unique things can you offer? What compelling assets, skills or connections do you have? Where are you vulnerable – where do you fall down against the competition? A strength can even be you – being well connected in the community, for example, gives you an advantage.

Do you have a unique background or experience making you an expert?
A weakness might be, that you are in a crowded market place.

Your current customers can be a goldmine of information for this question.

Ask a select group of your customers, your loyal customers want you to succeed and will be happy to be part of this process. Ask them to be honest and offer a free gift as an incentive

Some ideas for questions include:

Why did they buy from you?

What drew them to your business?

What are you lacking?

When you amplify the best of you and discover how to be more of who you are, then you can really begin to stand apart from your competitor.

4) What are the adjectives and emotions around your brand?

What descriptive words, emotions and images come to mind when you think about your company and its offerings.

How do you want others to see you?

What space do you want to occupy in people’s minds?

Do you want to be:

Formal or casual?

Professional and serious?

Playful and sassy?

Are you a Sydney or Melbourne?

Answering this question will help a designer see your vision and design a logo or website and words.  This process will also educate a writer on tone and word choices for messages and website copy.

Maybe leverage your brand based on a person or character e.g. Audrey Hepburn is synonymous with grace, femininity, elegance and beauty – Audrey Hepburn

Think about what image you want customers to have of you – 5-7 strong points – traits and images.

5). Who and where is your ideal audience

Knowing your ideal audience will help guide where and how to target your marketing dollars.

Write a character profile of your ideal customer in each segment you serve.

Name, age, marital status, where they live/work, what they watch on tv, what they do for fun, how much money they make, what is a typical day, how do they commute, what organisations do they belong to, what magazines do they read?

Be as specific and creative as possible

Remember – ‘Everybody’ is not your audience – focus your attention and dollars on those most likely to buy – the low hanging fruit.

Select an example from your best customer and base the example on him or her.

Think of your clients buying needs – name occupation where she works, where does she shop, how does she dress, what does she do for fun.

By understanding your customer, you can also understand unique places to market. Build this over time to build your marketing capability.

Answering this question will help you decide where to spend your time energy and budget for the greatest impact.

6). What are the main customer benefits and why do they matter?

Why can you make those claims?

Look from a customer’s viewpoint – why do your customers buy from you?
What value do they receive?

What problem does your product solve?

Check out this article on the features and benefits of the Apple iPod, to really help you understand the features of your products and services and the benefits they bring to your customers.

How will their lives be made better?

What’s in it for your clients and why should they believe you? (proof points)

You must be able to make a claim and prove it in order to fulfil the brand promise

How does your customer experience align with that promise?

Compose a list of 3-5 main benefits your company provides from a customer point of view.

Think about what a customer gains from using your product – do you save them money, increase their profits, boost their confidence, reduce stress?

For each benefit provide 3 proof points that show why you can make that claim – be concise.

7). Who is your competition and how are you different?

By answering this question you will be able to address – why you are different and why customers should come to you instead.

You will begin to differentiate your business from other options.

This step will also help you craft your messaging, to say why you are the best.

You also need to consider share of wallet here too, what else competes for the dollars your client might spend with you?

Create a list of your competitors direct and indirect – for each competitor list point of what they provide and then list why you are a better alternative and what you offer that is different, your strengths and benefits.

Knowing how to position yourself against your competitors will help you to develop a brand identity that separates you from the pack.

In the case of the car manufacturer Volvo they are very serious about owning the position of safety in the market – the Volvo brand is synonymous with safety

8) How do you need to communicate with customers and prospects?

Are you sure about how you communicate with your customers – how do you talk with them and listen to them through your website, advertising, events, e- newsletters, blogs social media. Also include your staff, for example, if you are a restaurant, your waiters and chefs communicate your brand too.

Go back to your audience profile – question 5, and determine which communications they pay attention to. What do your customers want? Don’t have a long list of tactics, just because, don’t waste time and money spraying and praying.

For this question also divide your customers into loyal/existing and new customers and market to them separately.

Create 2 columns one with new customers and another with existing and details your communications with them. Are you taking the same approach/using same tactics with both new and existing clients who have different needs?

9). What is your organisations one greatest asset?

What is your one unique asset? The thing that’s sets you apart from your competition and that no other competitor can claim?

This unique asset rises to the top – it’s something that you will keep coming back to.

What is that one thing that sets you apart?

Identify it and hang your brands hat on it – visually and verbally

Go back to your SWOT – and see if one thing uniquely defines you above all else.

Your greatest asset could, be you? If you are a restaurant it could be one dish? Your range of dishes? A unique dining experience?…

Review your strengths and competitive differentiators from the previous questions. As well as your customer benefits – What is the top item that will put your company in a unique position – what is the one claim – no one else can make?

What unique asset benefits your customers the most and helps you stand out?

How Marketing Sense can help

At Marketing Sense, we pride ourselves on our ability to develop our client’s key asset; their brand, by using evidence and insight to generate more awareness, demand and sales for your business.

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Want to  develop your marketing mindset and learn how to build a stress-free, solid, repeatable (and proven) step by step marketing strategy?  Then join the Free 7 Day Marketing Challenge.

During the 7 days you will discover the truth on how to get results from your marketing investment delivered to your inbox from Sara Berry, who founded marketing Sense in 2012, with the passionate vision of sharing her 25 years of professional marketing experience to give EVERY business owner the opportunity to build their marketing capability to get results.

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