Are you asking the right marketing questions?

I believe that the quality of our learning is determined by the quality of our questions, if we never ask the right questions we’ll never get to the right answers.

As a Marketing Coach I deliberately spend more time asking questions than giving answers, for two reasons:

  1. I believe that we all have a greater capacity to find our own solutions than we often think
  2. When you come up with the answers that matter, you’re more likely to take meaningful action than when the answers are simply given to you

So I’m always keen that people ask the right questions of themselves and others. But when it comes to marketing people rarely do.

The no.1 question  I get asked is ‘how do I promote my business?’

Here’s why it’s often the wrong question:

Before you ask ‘how’ you first have to clarify ‘what’ you’re marketing

Now, I know most of you are probably saying what I sell is obvious; if you run a shoe store you sell shoes, a consultant – consultancy services, a website developer – websites.

Umm kinda – what I often find, is that the products and services that people are trying to market are way too broad.

Now the rationale tends to be; the more general my offerings, the broader my product range, the wider the appeal and the more likely I am to sell my wares. In actual fact that is rarely the case.

In reality we are bombarded with so many messages that when an offering seems the same as so many others, people just glaze over it and move on. Chances are they already know someone that provides a service like yours, or rather one they think is like yours.

Be specific with your offering, and stand out from the crowd by narrowing your focus based on criteria like this:

  • A specific geographic location
  • A particular type of product or service e.g. instead of all types of shoes a campaign focused on your range of bright coloured stilettos
  • A particular target customer e.g. male, female, mature, young

These examples are very simplistic but I’m sure you get the gist.

Another important question to ask yourself is; what are you marketing in terms of value?

In terms of a physical product you may be selling shoes, but to a mother buying the first pair of shoes for her toddler who has just started walking, it’s about more than that. It’s  about comfort for her child and peace of mind for her, so that’s what you sell and that becomes your value proposition.

Once you have clarified the ‘what’ in these terms, the ‘how’ becomes a lot more obvious. If you know who you’re target market is, where they’re located and what they’re looking for, suddenly a plethora of marketing opportunities become clear.

  • Instead of running general Facebook ads, you might customise your ad creative and choose specific Facebook audiences to target, and get a bigger return on your investment.
  • Instead of marketing in 10 places you may decide to focus on 5 where you’re likely to get the most traction
  • Instead of trying to get PR coverage in lots of untargeted media outlets, you might focus on one or two that are best aligned with your audience.

Now, I know you might be saying I sell more than just one or two services, how do I promote those?

My answer would be, sequentially. As opposed to all at once, one at a time. Focus on one area of your business, build traction, then move on to the next.

If you have a large budget and significant human resource, then you can promote a number of your products and services at once, but notice that even big brands with big budgets don’t promote all their offerings at the same time. They have different campaigns for different products and services at different times.

So, the moral of the story is; before you try and figure out ‘how’ to market your business, first clarify ‘what’ you want to market.

We’ll be talking a lot more about the ‘how’ of marketing in future posts.

But before I sign-off, a couple of announcements: 

  • You can catch me live on Facebook every Wednesday, like my Facebook page for the time and notifications each week
  • I’ve written a book on marketing, motivation and the start-up journey that I’m really excited about. It will be launched this summer, sign-up for sneak peaks and updates 

Spaek soon,