If marketing is a journey, then it’s time to learn how to travel light. And that begins with packing your core marketing message and knowing just where to take it and when to get there.
Let’s play with this metaphor for a minute.
No matter the scope of your marketing strategy — whether you travel to a big city or quaint little town — television, radio, internet, and print are the neighborhoods you can visit on your journey (or ignore if you choose).
For example, your website starts on the “Internet” part of town. The newspaper begins on the “Print” side of the city.
Whatever marketing piece you choose to use it lives in one neighborhood or another. And if you want to reach the people on that part of town, then you’ll need to use that tool.
Marketing strategy is like travel planning.
You have to prepare for the T.R.I.P. And like any journey you need to learn about the place you’re visiting or hire a guide to help you manuever the area. After all, the goal is to maximize your efforts, not kill or waste time.
Have you taken those trips where you spend a single day in a major city like Paris or New York? And then you tell everybody that “I’ve been there”—where ever there is—and “It was amazing” ? But the truth is you barely touched it. You hardly know it. It was too big for the time that you had.
Marketing is no different from that city. You can sprint through your strategy (if you can call it that) or you can dig deep and have a more meaningful and effective experience.
If you’re in business, then Marketing is an area that you have to get intimate with. In fact, for the sake of your company, this place needs to become your second home.
Let’s Pack Your Core Marketing Message First
The goal with any trip is to pack tight and light. You want to be prepared and carefree not weighed down and overwhelmed because you brought too much baggage.
Just because you have a 500 word mission statement doesn’t mean your target audience wants or needs to hear it. What they need from you is a short, tight marketing message. Something they can digest quickly and share with friends if it’s compelling enough.
And if that’s what your target audience needs from you, then that’s what you need to create and provide.
Here’s a short list of what goes into your marketing bag:
- your story—something short and sweet that excites the media,
- your call to action—a simple and clear reason to connect with you and an easy way to do it, and
- your winning personality—you’re a part of the story and to make it interesting your personality has to shine through.
Your goal is to be seen and heard in as many relevant “neighborhoods” as possible; to connect and build relationships because you have a product/service that helps people; to get your best message into the the right hands.
You’re a problem solver with a clear message.
Think about it like this, anybody with Broadway dreams knows that New York is the city. Well, if you want to succeed in business (long term), then Marketing is the place to be.
Marketing is about a relationship.
It’s about reaching people with a message that matters to them. And to make the most of marketing and communication we have to have a relationship with our audience—potential and current clients—so that we can understand them and connect with their desires.
The marketing message about your product is as important as the product itself. Despite what anybody tells you no business will run by itself – there is always work on the front end. Well, no business will market itself either, there is always upfront effort.
I used to be a relunctant marketer because I didn’t want to feel like a pusher and a used car salesman. But the truth is
we don’t have to sell our souls in order to sell our services, products or books.
However, we do have to care and understand our audience, and then use effective communication to build a relationship.
The “wait and wish” strategy doesn’t work for business.
But the “market-and-create-it” strategy does.
The media is the main means of mass communication (one of the seven types of core communication) and it includes television, radio, internet and print. Regardless of the size of your marketing budget, there is a way to take advantage of all four areas.
TELEVISION is Still BIG! Huge! Major Important!
If you start local, then you can afford the cost of ads. Also pay attention to local television shows and take advantage of opportunities to show up and tell your story. These small beginnings can train you for larger outlets.
Television is still the most powerful marketing medium. Consistently showing up on that tube can turn you into a household name. Think about, if your shop is local, then becoming a household name in your city and the surrounding towns could be great for business. To be effective you have to get the right message to the right audience over and over again.
RADIO is Not Dead!
DJ’s need something to talk about, why not your story, the problem that you solve and the unique way that you do it. After all, people have to do something when they’re driving to and from work.
Find the names and contact information for your local radio stations and begin to listen to them in order to get a feel for what they talk about. By listening you’ll naturally become a part of that community. And through a little brainstorming you just may discover ways to become a part of the conversation as well.
INTERNET is Not a Fad.
One of the most cost effective and labor intensive—at least in the beginning while you’re learning—ways to market yourself is internet marketing. It doesn’t cost you much money to play in this arena (if you exclude the cost of time), but you have to learn how to make your efforts effective.
Effective Internet marketing starts with your website marketing strategy and that includes email list building, relevant blog articles about your brand and the types of problems you solve and using social media to drive traffic and bring awareness.
Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin, Youtube, they are not your home. Your entire online marketing message should NOT exist on a social networking site. Social media should drive traffic to your website, your message, your business, your brand and create awareness. But if you build your entire online presence on a social media page and they shut your page down, you have nothing.
Secure your digital home. Clarity your core message. Diversify the ways that you get traffic (attention).
PRINT Marketing is More Than Just a Business Card.
When I say print marketing, I mean getting into magazines, newspapers and other print media outlets. But I also mean your business cards and other paper items that you use to advance your story. Creating a business card should not be the only effort you take in maximizing your print media options.
Well-written press releases to local and regional newspapers is a cheaper way to start generating buzz about your business, as well as becoming the story in your local news.
Just remember, there’s no quick fix.
Effective marketing takes effort. Ultimately, it’s about the mix and the team that you assemble to get your core message out.
And if you do it right — with a team and a smart strategy — then it becomes a pleasure.