Tuesday, October 6, 2009

The Basics

Everywhere you click there’s information on “the new” ways to communicate and market products/services, organizations, people, and ideas. I’m amazed at the number of consultants, coaches, agencies, etc. that have something to say about online marketing and social media. Many are screaming the message that if you aren’t utilizing ALL of the “new” technology, you’re missing the boat … If you aren’t on Facebook your business won’t survive … LinkedIn is where professionals find other professionals … Sign up for Twitter and make sure you “tweet” every day… it goes on and on.

It seems there are as many ways to get a story out as there are stories to tell. But, in the back of my mind, there’s been this nagging thought - the basic principles of marketing, leadership and good solid relationships still apply. It’s not all about the tools. It’s about the story.

So what are the ‘basics’? Let’s look at it from a business owner’s perspective.

1. What are you really selling? Or asked another way, what are your customers/ clients really buying from you? What needs are you superbly meeting for a defined group? Spend some time in their [your clients’] shoes and see, hear, touch, experience what they experience when they are purchasing from or working with you. Choreograph the process. The more you understand about “you” [your people, the organization, your products/services] the better you will understand your clients – and how to serve them. In other words, sweat the small stuff.

By the way, you need to be remarkable. What you’re doing and the way you do it has to be amazing. There’s no room for “so-so” or “ok”. There are too many choices in the marketplace to not be the very best you can be. And something to really shake you up - your very best might not be good enough. I read something just today from Seth Godin: You must make something work in the small before you bet the farm and market it to the masses. If you can't sell to 1 in 1000, why market to a million?

2. Who are you selling to? Who is the audience(s) that fits your product/ service offering - perfectly? Here’s a hint: The answer can’t be “people”. It has be people who _____ [are college professors, drive used Volvos and enjoy Thai food – Trader Joe’s target audience (Thank you Jim Carroll from the
Small Business Development Center)].

3. What’s your message? Or asked another way, what is your target audience(s) interested in? What is your target audience telling you [and have you asked them]? What problem are you solving? What are the words that need to be communicated so that you are addressing their wants, needs, and desires? What is the part of your story that connects with each of your audiences? And to make sure you’ve got all the bases covered, what are you not? What are you not going to do, sell, be, etc?

4. How can the message best be communicated? What tools will get your story and message out to the audience(s) who wants what you have to sell [and you want to reach]? In what format does that message need to be delivered? What are the best vehicles to move your message to each target audience? Where do they go? What do they read? Who are their friends? What’s important to them? What’s not important to them?

5. Where are you going to start? Step 1, step 2? This is your “to do list.” So, step 1 is start answering the questions above. Start today!

Here’s to learning and growing. J