Remember the day when you first decided to start your business – you realised that you were a great plumber, lawyer etc, so why not. You had this image in your mind that all your clients would be lining up for you to complete their work. 12 months down the track things aren’t exactly as planned. This phenomenon is the basis of the E-Myth – that you got into business because you are good at what you do – this however doesn’t guarantee business success. One area in which most business owners could use assistance in is their marketing.
I believe before anyone can successfully market their business they need to have an understanding of what marketing actually is. Contrary to popular believe marketing and advertising aren’t the same! In fact marketing is the overall process, whilst advertising is only one form. Marketing is “the process of planning and executing the conception, pricing, promotion and distribution of ideas, goods, and services to create exchanges that satisfy individual and organizational goals” (Czinkota et al. 2002, p34).
The easiest way it has been explained to me was from Gloria Jean’s owner Peter Irvine. Peter describes marketing as a pie chart (see figure) with your brand as the central theme. Each piece of the pie makes up a component of marketing, in which advertising is one part. To make your marketing effective you need to have a central consistent message – your brand. This message is repackaged to appeal to each target audience, however across the board it is still the same. A great example of this is McDonalds – there current theme is “I’m lovin’ it” campaign where it can be applied to Happy Meals, McCafe etc. The pie chart breaks marketing into 15 different areas. Below I will briefly explain each area.
Branding is the key that holds all the marketing together, branding ensure that your business is portraying a consistent message. The American Marketing Association (AMA) defines a brand as a “name, term, sign, symbol or design or a combination of them intended to identify the goods and services of one seller or a group of sellers and to differentiate them from those of other sellers.” Most businesses think that their logo is their brand, whilst this is correct it goes further than that. Think about things such as; the way your team are presented, the way your customers received your goods or services or how your office looks.
Advertising is generally a paid one way communication channel, which identifies the owner of the advertisement. When people think of advertising they think of mass media – radio, TV, newsletters, magazines, movies and billboards. For small business owners examples include advertising in your local newspaper, delivering a “sales message” to your database or distributing a brochure through unaddressed mail delivery.
Positioning is how your customers perceive you in the market. The easiest example is with car manufacturers. Obviously a Mercedes is positioned differently to a Hyundai. Whilst they both serve the same purpose they are targeted at different markets and appeal to different people. They are positioned differently based on price, perceptions, quality, safety etc.
Many business owners wouldn’t consider price as part of their marketing mix, because if they are anything like my father he believes that you have to be the cheapest. If this was true, how come you have to wait 12 months for a new Ferrari, after you have given them a $20,000 deposit? Your pricing strategy is very important in determining how your business is positioned within the market. Decide if you want to be known for your quality, price or service because you have two, but not all three. For example in my business Mac Copy Design & Print, originally as a copy shop we used to get many customers walk in and want to spend 20 cents on photocopies, so we decided to increase our prices for smaller quantities which repositioned our company and hence we have transformed ourselves into one of the Gold Coast’s leading digital printers who specialise in short run (not too short) fast turnaround printing. Your price is very important in determining what type of customers you will attract.
Public Relations (PR) is any communication with your public – whether internal or external. PR is “the ethical and strategic management of communication and relationships in order to build and develop coalitions and policy, identify and manage issues and create and direct messages to achieve sound outcomes within a socially responsible framework.” PR is non sales related (advertising is sales related) communications. Most people associate PR with press releases and newspaper articles however it also includes information newsletters (articles with tips and hints for your clients), information direct mail (changes in pricing, terms & conditions etc), and website (media centre). The major benefits of PR is that the message is more trust by consumers as they believe that the company didn’t pay for it to be printed (newspaper articles) – hence a higher return on investment.
Location, Location, Location – you are probably thinking what does marketing have to do with location, plenty!! Haven’t you heard that McDonald’s isn’t in the hamburger business they are in the real estate business? Isn’t it funny how McDonald’s always have the primary locations while the other fast food stores are scrambling to get good positions nearby? On the Gold Coast there is a McDonald’s in Labrador on the Gold Coast Highway. You can see the famous Golden arches all the way back in Southport about 3km away. It helps if your customers are able to see where you are. As we can’t all get premium positions you need to ensure that you make it as easy as possible for your clients to get to you – ie. easy ordering, emails, parking and opening hours. Find out where your target marketing would ideally like you to be and be there.