Doing the right things in life is very important. However, knowing what NOT to do is just as important. Like you should probably stop wearing spandex pants to the grocery store (sorry…your kids called me and asked me to point it out), stop combing your mullet at red lights (it just makes the rest of us envious…no need to show off), and you may want to consider removing the ‘Y2K - The World Will End’ bumper sticker (I am not judging…I had 65 gallons of water and 150 cans of spam in the basement). In my world I see business owners who have developed mindsets and habits about their marketing and advertising that may not be the most advantageous for their business. I have found that there are three things you can STOP doing right now that will give you more perspective and bring you new opportunities for growth.
1. Do NOT buy media, build your marketing around, or support events that only you like, listen to, watch, or attend. I had a client once whose ideal customer was a 35-54 year old male with disposable income. After reviewing his advertising budget I noticed he was spending over $1,000 a month on a radio station that was geared toward the younger female. I asked why. His answer was very insightful - he heard it every morning while driving his daughter to school. He knew it was getting heard. His daughter always made a positive comment on it. Now…I am not saying that was a bad decision because there were probably other dads hearing his ads as they drove their kids to school. However, in a budget sensitive world the question is this – am I owning the best possible pool of consumers! Now two truths can exist at the same time. What you like can be the best option…but stop thinking that is an automatic. Be open to new ideas and venues. You are not marketing to yourself! If you are going to throw a party be sure to invite the right type of folks.
2. Stop worrying about those people you cannot afford to reach. One of the conversations I have often with clients is about ‘good ideas’. A media rep will bring in the next great package or idea. Maybe they talked with another business owner who says you just have to try this or that. And bam….client gets distracted and feels they should try to be everywhere and participate in all those great ideas! You can’t. Remember good can be the worst enemy of best. Most businesses have a limited budget and cannot afford to reach everyone. So…stop worrying about those you can’t reach and commit to being effective to those you can.
3. No one cares! I know that hurts, but no one really cares that you are family owned – conveniently located – have lowest prices – or that you have great customer service. Does that shock you? Have you spent thousands of dollars around marketing campaigns that focus on ‘you’? If so…stop it. Here is how I think it should work. 1) Ask your current clients why they do business with you. Their ‘why’ may be different than what you think? What problem do you solve? How do you improve their lives? 2) Then you can create your message around what the client actually needs so it will communicate perspective clients in a more targeted manner. 3) NOW – once the prospect contacts you and starts the relationship - NOW all the other stuff matters. Think about it…the first time you went on a date you probably didn’t know a lot about the person’s family. You found out once the initial conversation started. If you walked up and just started talking about yourself in clichés you would not have gotten very far. The ‘who’ you are matters once they have decided to care enough to contact you. Getting them to first contact is vital and that is the purpose of your marketing message. Focus on the needs of the consumer.
I promise if you start keeping these three things in mind as you work on your advertising and marketing plans and campaigns you will be find that it will help you be more focused and effective.
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Clint Powell is owner of Connect Marketing, an advertising agency in Chattanooga. He is a graduate of Carson-Newman College. He has spent years in radio advertising sales and management, built and sold a billboard company and works on a contract basis with other ad agencies writing ad copy and helping formulate strategies. Clint has worked with hundreds of local and regional companies over the years and helped them develop advertising campaigns. He believes that life is all about connections and spends his time connecting businesses and business owners to solutions. He sits on the board of Y-Cap (YMCA Community Action Program) and helps with several other non-profits. Clint currently resides in East Ridge with his wife and three children. He also host a weekly radio show focused on business and marketing – Marketing Mix Radio on US 101 The Legend @ 96.1.