Running a small business or non-profit is a tough these days. The dismal economy created a lack of willingness to spend or donate. Etsy & eBay are creating online “local shops” that replace brick & mortar stores. Mobile apps are creating an easy way to shop at big box retailers over local retailers. Kickstarter & Causes are taking dollars away from local non-profits. Even Google & Amazon are testing same-day delivery of merchandise & fresh food. How do these businesses create such innovative services that attract thousands of interested customers?
It’s all marketing. Creating the perception that their services are better, cheaper & more convenient. The good news is you can do the same thing. If you haven’t re- examined your marketing, you get a big marketing #FAIL, hashtag and all. Chin up, there’s room to improve. Here’s four marketing fails to notice and improve on:
Paying for Art, Not Ads
You may have a graphic designer creating Louvre-worthy ads with the latest fonts & images but if they’re shrugging their shoulders when you ask them “what market, which outlet & how often should I place this ad?” you just wasted money. Design without strategy is simply art. Creative design with strategy & market research is marketing.
Since you’re probably not in the art collecting business, focus on finding a marketing consultant that will research your industry, analyze the SWOT out of you, and creative a marketing strategy that is cohesive, effective and measurable. Whether it’s storefront design, a brand revamp, smarter social media, or ecommerce, marketing experts will design successful strategies. Graphic designers just design graphics.
Not Measuring Response
Oh, look, your ad came out nicely. Yes, it did, thanks, you say. Did it work? Um, well. Ok, stop, that’s a big #fail. If you’re advertising without measuring ROI, you’re just gambling. This isn’t AC; this is your business. Every ad you place should have a value proposition, consistency, an internal expectation of ROI, and a method for measuring response.
Don’t sit back and expect ads with a “great deal!” to drive traffic. Every dollar you spend on marketing should come back to you with at least a story about what worked or what didn’t work. Consistency is the key to response and ROI measurement. Follow the advice of Glengarry Glen Ross – A.I.D.A (Attention, Interest, Decision, Action). It will take a consistent, reinforced marketing effort for customers to take action. Just like stocks, marketing is an stable investment, not a one-time gamble.
Impersonal vs. Personal Marketing
Magazines, newspapers, paid email lists & websites are all “media middlemen” that let you reach their audience. Key word: their audience. It’s a good option for reaching potential customers impersonally, but is not a substitute for reaching current customers personally. Key words here: impersonal and personal.
Refocus on personal marketing. Best way? Social media. A business page creates conversation, buzz and feedback around you. And build your email list. Sending a weekly email will keep customers noticing you. Don’t just talk about sales when you communicate. Poll people. Chat with them about anything. Share highs and lows with them. Bring your in-store personal experience to them when they’re not actually in your store. Personal marketing should be primary, not secondary.
Fear of Changing The Game
Remember when Apple personalized mobile phones with the App Store? Or how about when Netflix started steaming movies online to the chagrin of Blockbuster? Saw the stories about how a Silicon Valley mobile app called Uber took over the NYC taxi business? Google it.
These brands all changed the way business is done, setting new standards & creating new opportunities. They changed the game entirely. Fast fact: everyone wins when change is created; the customer gets more for less and the business becomes the hero to the customer.
Don’t wait for your sales to go red before scratching your head. ABC. Always Be Changing. If you don’t create change, a competitor will. Run a SWOT analysis every quarter to determine where you stand against competition. Can’t change? Then freshen up your look. Customers will always be attracted to freshness. You never lose looking fresh. The end goal, though, is to match a your fresh image with new offerings as a result of change.
We’ve all been caught off guard before when it came to missing opportunities or failing to see change coming. Refocus your efforts on creating new opportunities, changing the game & communicating your unique value in smarter ways. That’s the start of a marketing #success.
Yitzie Hyman has over ten years experience working with small businesses, non-profits & Fortune 500 companies on their marketing & advertising. Questions? Contact [email protected] or 201.660.2641.
By Yitzie Hyman