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Jean McIntyre

 

 

 

 

By Jean McIntyre

 

www.marketingangels.com.au

As I sat down to write this post today I have to confess I had a blank mind – nothing to write about.

Those of you who know me well know that it’s unusal for me to have writer’s block – I’ve always got something to say.  I started to think then, what do I tell my clients when they aren’t sure what to write on their website, on a blog or in a newspaper advertisement.  It’s pretty simple – GET BACK TO BASICS!

What do I mean by that?  I mean that every business should have a positioning statement and key messages that communicate to its market exactly what benefits that business can deliver for the customer and how it is different from its competition.

Once you have developed these messages then they go absolutely everywhere.  You use the same messages whether you are writing a radio ad, updating your Facebook page, writing an email to a prospect or introducing yourself at a networking event.

How to develop your key messages

“But how do I go about developing my messages?”  You might ask.

The answer to this is pretty simple – ask your friendly marketing manager to help you 🙂

If you want to have a go at doing it yourself there are a few key steps to the process that you need to work through to make sure your messages will work for you in your market.

  1. Understand your business
  2. Get to know your market
  3. Articulate its needs
  4. Identify what you can deliver
  5. Make a statement

Understand Your Business

The first step is to get clear about who you are, what your strengths and experience are and why you do what you do.  Understand what your goals are and how much money you are prepared to spend to achieve them.  This helps you to be able to match your offering to the market. Your skills, knowledge, experience and your brand are the things that attract customers to you and start to form your offering to the market.

Get to Know Your Market

Research, research, research.  That’s the marketer’s catch cry.   First, get a picture of what your market looks like.  How big is it?  That will help you work out if it can deliver your financial goals.

Use the ABS and industry reports to get an idea of the size and makeup – age, gender, location, income, family situation etc.  This helps with planning.

Next, find out what makes them tick.  You can do surveys, read studies, hold focus groups or even sit and watch them in the shopping centre.  What and how do they buy?  How do they choose their suppliers?  What do they read and watch?  What activities do they participate in?  This starts to tell you how you can reach them and get your products to them.

Articulate the Market’s Needs

This is probably the most important step.  Once you know what your market looks like – it’s time to get inside its head and heart.  Marketing is all about feelings – so you need to have a good idea about what’s important to people and what they need.  If for example you find out that the most important thing to your market is that they are well liked by others – then you can start to think about products you can offer them (within your expertise) to help them acheive this.

Marketing is about making people feel good so that they’ll buy your products.

Identify what you can deliver

Once you know your market and what it needs you need to examine your business’ strengths and see what products you can develop to meet their needs.  Part of that is about how you package what you do to appeal to them.

Let’s say for argument’s sake that your expertise is Human Resources and you offer a consulting service. You might think that all HR services are pretty much the same. That’s not the case.  If you understand your market really well and know where the gaps are in meeting its needs, you can develop specialist HR services that are delivered in a way that better does it better than your competitors.

Make a statement

The last step is to write it all down.  Come up with on short statement of 5 to 7 words that encapsulates what’s special about your business with regard to meeting your market’s needs.  That’s your positioning statement that goes with your logo.

Then write down some short supporting statements about what you deliver and how it makes your market feel – how it will make its member’s lives better.  Use language your market is comfortable with and make it brief and simple.

Use it Everywhere

Once you have developed your key messages you can then apply these to every communication you have.

That’s how you develop your brand to be recognisable as one that will meet your market’s needs.

I’d be interested to hear your experiences of how you developed your company’s key messages.  If you need help, don’t hesitate to give me a call.

Jean Mc

PS:  If I don’t talk to you beforehand – have a great Christmas.   Check out my Christmas video!!!

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tips on branding and design canberra

We’re still disseminating some of our knowledge to prospective and current clients through email campaigns at the moment. Those on our lists will be getting regular emails with tips on design and branding issues pertinent to small and medium business.

You can find the latest from the Luxgraphicus website.

So that Canberra Small Business Blog readers don’t miss out, I’ll be posting bundled sets of tips here in my regular spot.

Please make comment or feedback on anything you find interesting, confusing, in need of more detail or otherwise worthy of comment. I look forward to developing a dialogue over the coming weeks and months.

7 tips on website management

  1. If design is not your profession, hire a professional.
  2. Make sure your website looks like all your other marketing material (follow your brand rules).
  3. Make regular updates to your site. (clients and search engines like this)
  4. Check your statistics and title tags. (some easy SEO here. That’s Search Engine Optimisation!)
  5. Use a local (Australian) and reliable host.
  6. Learn how to use the sites CMS. (Content Management System)
  7. Use your key marketing messages to direct your visitors to where you want them to go.

7 tips on taming your designer (or getting the most from your designer)

  1. Brief your design professional on your audience and messages.
  2. Let them offer options and ask them why these options will work.
  3. Provide real deadlines. (not just asap, or before lunch!)
  4. Provide feedback and amendments promptly. (so they still remember the job. It may even still be up on their screen!)
  5. Define the scope of your task in the briefing. (this will allow for costs to be estimated up-front)
  6. Provide feedback based on the original briefing scope and direction.
  7. Don’t rely on them to spell correctly! (proof read carefully)

5 tips on electronic publishing

  1. Save on print costs with on-demand printing from PDF.
  2. Apply your brand to everything inc. emails, blogs, PDF downloads, etc…
  3. Make your reports available as PDF downloads from your website.
  4. Send your brochures or fliers to clients as PDF’s by email.
  5. Ask your design professional to make them interactive too!

 

See you next time, and remember, the best businesses are watching their branding!

Brian Miller
Creative Director
Luxgraphicus Design Agency

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branding and design

We’re still disseminating some of our knowledge to prospective and current clients through email campaigns at the moment. Those on our lists will be getting regular emails with tips on design and branding issues pertinent to small and medium business.

You can find the latest from the Luxgraphicus website.

So that Canberra Small Business Blog readers don’t miss out, I’ll be posting bundled sets of tips here in my regular spot.

Please make comment or feedback on anything you find interesting, confusing, in need of more detail or otherwise worthy of comment. I look forward to developing a dialogue over the coming weeks and months.

10 tips on re-newing your brand for growth

  1. If design is not your profession, hire a professional.
  2. Research your audience.
  3. Ask, why re-brand?
  4. Brief your design professional on your messages and audience.
  5. Consider a wide range of options.
  6. Let go of previous solutions.
  7. Package your “stuff” (visual collateral) to keep costs under control.
  8. Use the change to promote your business more, or differently.
  9. Plan to phase out ALL old material.
  10. Ask your design professional for a set of rules for application to ALL your “stuff” (visual collateral).
  11. Ask your design professional for an ongoing review of your branding.

(oops, that’s eleven!)

5 tips on email marketing management

  1. Keep your emails short and fun.
  2. Allow unsubscribes.
  3. Make your emails look like all your other marketing material (follow your brand rules)
  4. Use HTML emails (they look better and nearly everyone can see them).
  5. Track opens and click throughs on links.
  6. Build your database with online subscription web forms.

(still having trouble counting!)

 

See you next time, and remember, the best businesses are watching their branding!

Brian Miller
Creative Director
Luxgraphicus Design Agency

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branding and design

We’re still disseminating some of our knowledge to prospective and current clients through email campaigns at the moment. Those on our lists will be getting regular emails with tips on design and branding issues pertinent to small and medium business.

You can also follow these tips regularly on the Luxgraphicus blog.

So that Canberra Small Business Blog readers don’t miss out, I’ll be posting bundled sets of tips here in my regular spot.

Please make comment or feedback on anything you find interesting, confusing, in need of more detail or otherwise worthy of comment. I look forward to developing a dialogue over the coming weeks and months.

7 tips on design for start-up businesses

If design is not your profession, hire a professional.
Research your audience.
Brief your design professional on your messages and audience.
Get your brand design done before your website, business card and brochure.
Plan ALL your requirements, then get some done now.
Get the others done later by the same designer.
Ask your design professional for an ongoing review of your branding.

10 tips on re-freshing your brand

If design is not your profession, hire a professional.
Keep all your “stuff” (visual collateral) consistent.
Look to “modernise” your logo (keep it’s shape and intent, change its feel and appeal)
Add some new graphics and text treatments
Compliment your standard colour palette with a few new ones.
Choose a small set of iconic images for your marketing and promotion
Change the format (shape & size) of some material.
Change the delivery method of some material.
Use a quality paper stock for your key material.
Ask your design professional for an ongoing review of your branding.

See you next time, and remember, the best businesses are watching their branding!

Brian Miller
Creative Director
Luxgraphicus Design Agency

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Jean McIntyre

By  Jean McIntyre (Marketing Angels)

Jean Mc talks about how small businesses can learn a lot from NASA by clever use of resources.

I got the inspiration for writing this post from watching one of my all time favourite movies ‘Apollo 13’.

My favourite scene (well one of my favourites) is where they find out that the carbon dioxide filters are the wrong shape for the inlets and they have to build new ones or the astronauts will die.

They collect stuff they have on the ship – socks, flight plans and things and a guy walks into a room of engineers, throws it all on the table and says:  “We have to find a way to make this, fit into the hole for this, using nothing but these.”

Of course they achieve it.  Nasa engineers are very clever but it’s such a good metaphor for ingenuity – especially in business.

Be Like NASA

Marketing in small business is all about clever use of resources.

When we write a marketing plan – it’s a roadmap for how the business could use its resources.  It lays out what the opportunities are, what the costs are and the likely payoff from using those resources.  A marketing plan helps the business owner to make decisions about for what they will use their resources and what they expect to achieve with them.

If the US Government hadn’t decided to spend the money they would never have achieved their goal.  Now we live in a world where a man has walked on the moon.

Deciding on Resource Expenditure

The first thing a business needs to decide on is how much they want to spend on marketing.  That includes both money and time.

It’s true that marketing can take a huge chunk about of a business’ operating budget.  The really big companies think nothing of spending millions on their marketing campaigns because spending money on marketing works.

That said, marketing (particularly if you advertise) can suck up all of your spare money if you aren’t clever about it.  You need to decide what is a reasonable amount of resources to spend to achieve the kind of return you want.  Marketing Angels has a very good e-guide about this subject that’s downloadable for free called “How Much Should I Spend on Marketing“.

Once you know what you want to spend – then you need to decide what to spend it on.

Hint:  Startups need to spend a much higher proportion of their budget on marketing than existing businesses.

What to take with you to the moon

There are literally 1,001 different ways you can market your business (I have a book with exactly that title!).  So what to choose.

I’ve talked in detail in previous posts about the different forms of marketing and when to use them. To make decisions on this you really need to understand your market inside and out.

Knowing your market (from research) will tell you: what magazines and newspapers they read, what channels they watch and listen to how they use the internet and what websites they frequent.  Research can tell you what organisations they belong to, how they shop and how much they spend.

All this informs the kind of marketing you will choose to spend your resources on.  It can drive your advertising, your publicity, your networking, your sponsorship, your events.

Most importantly it determines exactly what you will say to your market in your advertising – your key messages – so that what you say encourages potential customers to buy from you.

The NASA engineers know their ship, the astronauts, the journey and the destination inside out – so they’ve got a lot to work with to decide what resources to use and when and where.

Decide then DO IT

Probably the most important issue around using resources to market you business is to have faith and just decide to do it.  You know it will cost you time and money to succeed and committing those resources to marketing is perhaps the hardest leap to make in business.

In helping you with making that leap – I’m hoping you might find inspiration from President John F Kennedy when he announced that America was going to land a man on the moon.

I’d be interested in hearing your thoughts on resource expenditure for marketing.

Jean Mc

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Helping Canberra small businesses to Get Smarter Marketing

By Jean McIntyre (Marketing Angels)

Jean Mc talks about how it’s important to identify your business’ unique selling proposition so that it’s clear to your most lucrative market that yours is the best business to serve their needs.

I had coffee today with the lovely Maria Taylor from The District Bulletin and we talked a lot about marketing – how advertising fits in to a marketing strategy but also how businesses need to really get clear on exactly who they are marketing to.

I’ve said it many times before but one can’t say it too much.  Marketing is all about understanding markets and having the right messages that appeal to the markets that are most lucrative to your business.  It sounds simple but most businesses get it wrong.

Well – Not That Simple

It is simple but there’s a rub.  Business people can’t help but think of all the possible sales they might get and they don’t want to miss out on any possible sale.  From a marketing perspective that’s just the wrong approach.

It’s true that there may simply be billions of people out there that, should they hear about your business, might be inclined to buy from you.  Trouble is – that getting to them all is prohibitively costly even with the advent of the internet.

The other thing that marketing is all about is resources.

A marketing strategy is simply a plan that determines exactly where are the best places to spend your money to access the people that are MOST LIKELY to want your products and buy them.  You choose a market according to how well your business can serve their needs and how easily you can communicate your messages with them.

What Determines Your Market

There are a few parameters that you should consider when establishing where your marketing dollar will be spent.  This is usually determined by your resources (people, skills, experience) and limitations (money and accessibility).  There’s just no point in choosing a market that has loads of money to spend if it’s impossible for you to communicate with it.

Markets generally need to meet four criteria: they must be sustainable; they must be able to be clearly identified and measured; they must be able to be reached and the must be responsive to your offering.

Here are just some of the more common characteristics that businesses can use to determine their market.

Geography

The extent to which geography determines your market depends on the type of business you have.  If your business relies on interaction with people then you will generally be limited to the area to which your people can travel.

If for example your business is soccer coaching and your customers are mums and dads that have to drive their kids from school to soccer – then its likely that you’ll limit your market to a small geographic area like Tuggeranong or Woden.

If this was the case then it would be silly to spend money on advertising in the Sydney Morning Herald and you would likely make better use of local networks to promote your business.  Of course if you franchise your business then it’s a different kettle of fish but still – each local area will have the same considerations.

Age

In marketing we call them ‘Cohorts’.  It’s not the only way you can break up age in to markets but it’s the best known approach.  You’ve heard them:  ‘Baby Boomer’, ‘Generation X’, ‘Generation Y’ etc.  Over time the things that happen in history, politics and society give particular age groups shared experiences that add together to affect their values, likes, dislikes and opinions.  These things impact on the behaviour – in particular spending habits of particular groups that make them good prospects for certain companies.

Of course each individual in the group is unique – but there are characteristics that are generally shared that make targetting the whole age group an efficient use of resources.

Here’s a description of Baby Boomers that I love from Marketing Textbook ‘Essentials of Marketing’ (Summers et al 2003 pg 438).

“…baby boomers are concerned with their children, their jobs and their retirement.  Nevertheless, some things will never change: they are a little selfish about their leisure time, a little careless about the way they spend their money, remain suspicious of the status quo, and they will always love rock ‘n’ roll.”

If this looks like a market that your business can serve you can use what you know about them to shape your messages and find the places that they’d be likely to congregate (in person and online).   Thinking again about advertising – if, for example, your business sold camping equipment – then you might think about creating messages about enjoying your leisure and your marketing might include advertising in a retirement magazine and networking with over 55’s groups to get your message out.

You wouldn’t advertise at a Raiders game.  Just because it’s possible that SOME of your market might be there – you are paying big money to deliver a message to a huge audience most of which isn’t interested in what you have to say.

Income

Of course – there’s no point in marketing to a group of people that can’t afford or aren’t willing to pay the price you want to get for your products.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics has really good figures on how many people are in each income quintile (incomes are divided into 5 groups) and how much they spend on each category of product each week.  Using this you can establish the size of your market, determine how much of this market you are capable of capturing and how much you can earn from it.  This will help you establish what your marketing budget should be to reach them.

Other Segmentation Bases

In marketing we call breaking up the market into smaller more managing groups ‘segmentation’ and the things I have described are what we call ‘bases’ or characteristics.

There are other segmentation bases that are frequently used such as psychographics (personality, values, livestyles, motivations); family life cycle; product use frequency and benefits.  Each of these are appropriate ways to choose a market for your business to serve.

Get Choosy

When it comes down to it – business people need to get a bit fussy about who they choose to market to.

Stop thinking about those trillions of dollars you could earn from the billions of people out there – you are NEVER going to be able to reach them all – not with your small budget.

Start thinking about which markets will give you the best return on your marketing investment and start going after them with passion, commitment and your unique style.

I’d love to hear about what characteristics you’ve used to choose your market and why.

Jean Mc

References:

Summers J, Gardiner M, Lamb C, Hair J, McDaniel C;  ‘Essentials of Marketing’ 2003, Thompson Publishing Victoria Australia

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Here are a few sales facts to help you along the path of business success…

 

 

 

 

Sustainable sales revenues will take at least two years to develop
Sure, you will get revenues before this, but repeatable business will take at least this long

There is no right or wrong time to contact a prospect or client
Unless previously agreed, call them anytime (during working hours). They will soon tell you whether the time is right or not. If you can’t get hold of them, leave a message/email to say that you called, and that you will call them back.

There is no limit to how many times you should try getting in touch with someone
It really depends on how much time you’re prepared to spend. The fact that they haven’t contacted you doesn’t mean that they aren’t interested. There are many reasons why they haven’t called you back, and unless you can read minds, you will only find out once you have been in contact with them.

You have two ears and one mouth – use them that way
Listen to your clients and prospects (the above statement is figurative if you sell online). Have a conversation with them. Make sure you know exactly what they want. Ask questions. Wait for their replies. Take notes. Act on the notes. Provide solutions.

Plan, Action, Review, Plan, Action, Review…
The actual cycle time will vary, but keeping to this cycle will give your business the best chance. Make time for each phase.

Cold calling is a great way of renewing your business
Get a list, verify the list, and call everyone on the list. Expect about 10% response. It will give you feedback, it will give you new types of organisations into your client portfolio, and it will help to insure you against any future specific market sector slowdowns. Continue to do this regularly, not just once.
If you run a web based business, changing the way you advertise to attract a different market segment will achieve similar outcomes.

Do Business Development work regularly
If you don’t, you will invariably suffer peaks and troughs in your revenues, or at worst, cashflow issues

There are essentially two types of salespeople; Hunters and Farmers
Which one are you? You really need both in a business to run effectively, but I suggest that if you can’t do this, engage Hunters (or do the hunting yourself), and get your delivery people to manage the engagements once they are established.

A good face to face sales relationship will beat any other type of sales relationship every time
For the important deals, make sure this is the way you develop the sale above all else.
People buy from people. A major part of this is trust. If you can’t get close to your prospect to develop a good relationship, then look at ways of generating trust. Ebay have their rating system, testimonials will also do it, but the face to face relationship is the best.

Keep in touch
Meetings, Emails (approved of course), newsletters, blogs, Linkedin, Twitter, Facebook, etc. Keep your profile fresh and updated. Keeping in people’s faces will remind them that you are still active and open for business. They will think of you before your competition. As Oscar Wilde wrote “There is only one thing in the world worse than being talked about, and that is not being talked about.”

You don’t need a reason to keep in touch
If you are genuinely interested in keeping your relationships going, call your colleagues and contacts once in a while, ask how things are going, invite them out for a cuppa. Invariably they will say yes.

Give freely of your time and expertise
Offering to help someone out with some advice for free (and with no expectation of return) is a great way to develop long term relationships and friendships. Of course, you will need to charge eventually, but you will find that the time to do this will come naturally.

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