I recently enjoyed meeting some interesting business people at Torque Expo. I delivered four marketing workshops based on social media, website marketing, video media in marketing, and the use of telemarketing and email marketing as a combined solution.
During the workshops it became apparent to me that some of the businesses in attendance were not ready to engage in any marketing activities – even though they thought they were. This was because they didn’t have a strong understanding of their place in the market, their USPs, or their competitive advantages against their competitors. In a few cases I offered advice from a business model perspective rather than simply delivering the planned training.
I have developed a 5-point framework to help you create more advantages to take to market.
1. Take yourself outside of your own business
Try and see your business from a potential buyer’s point of view. Are you transparent about your product or service, what it does, who it serves, its unique elements, and the advantages it has over your competition (if there is any)?
If you look into your business in this way and you can’t pick out any strong messages, then this is the first thing you must address. The best way to do this is to look at your website. Your website is generally the first element of your business that prospects will encounter before they make an enquiry. If it isn’t obvious what you do, where you fit, and what your competitive advantages are, your market won’t understand either.
2. Understand your offering
Is your offering faster, smarter, or better quality than the competition? Can you offer shorter lead times, wider availability, longer lifespan, or better return on investment? Is it cheaper, made from better materials, or delivered by more knowledgeable people?
Picking out sales attributes such as these will enable you to start giving your offering an identity.
3. Use tangible evidence
Building on the previous section, once you’ve assigned your offering with some sales tags, you should now add some tangible evidence to them. Which one of the following statements is more powerful?
•Product XYZ reduces limescale compared to other products.
•Product XYZ reduces limescale 10 times more than the nearest competitor, at no additional cost.
Notice we have added two tangible elements to the tags: ‘10 times more’ and ‘no additional cost’. We don’t have to say much more in this instance and it certainly eliminates the need for lengthy marketing copy to show the benefits.
4. Find new benefits of your offering
One thing that companies tell me on a regular basis is that they haven’t really got any USP’s or competitive advantages. Firstly, I never believe that. We all have some form of competitive edge somewhere, even if it’s something as small as being local. You just might not be able to see them until you step outside of your business as explained in Point 1.
Everyone can find new benefits. This is an exercise I do regularly with businesses. A great example is an engineering client of ours who were struggling to sell machines each new year start. Their excuse was always that trade is quiet at that time of year, and that’s just the way it is. What you should be doing at times like this is creating some new ways to sell.
In this example I suggested to the MD to look into different avenues. Sales were always slow around January because most customers didn’t have their budgets allocated until April, so we worked on introducing a rental model along with a “buy now, pay April” option.
This client now enjoys success with both of these as offers, which we run during December to promote a January Sale-type message. This boost in the winter months has helped them become the number 1 provider in their industry. Without this increased turnover they would be stuck in number 2 spot.
5. Don’t forget to tell everyone!
Oh yes, THE most common mistake… forgetting to tell your target market.
Now that’s where marketing comes in!!
See you next time 🙂