Between Us Pros: 10 Rules to Market By
One of the first casualties when a business faces financial challenges is often its marketing budget. This is ironic because, while referrals and networking are certainly important, marketing is such a key element to the growth of an enterprise, and it helps ensure new customers stay in the pipeline to fill the void left by those that fall by the wayside.
Strong, consistent marketing can help mediocre salespeople close more business — or at least have more opportunities — and make even the best sales reps that much more productive. It all adds up to a business pushing toward its full potential. As the economic cloud dissipates, I am convinced some of the greatest success stories will be those companies that continued to aggressively market themselves despite the temporary strain on their bottom lines.
The one concession (if you want to call it that since it makes good business sense regardless of the economy) owners and managers should make is being more diligent than ever in strategically developing and positioning their marketing, evaluating its results, and ongoing quest for improvement that maximizes effectiveness and ensures the highest return on the investment. That thought process is top of mind for the men and women responsible for marketing the eight security companies profiled in this month’s cover story, “Ace Marketers Reveal Their Methods.”
To help stimulate your own creative marketing juices, inspired by the 2010 SAMMY (Sales & Marketing) Award winners, I have compiled the following top 10 list (in no particular order) of tried and true practices for your consideration:
1. Emphasize consistency in overall message, logo, color schemes, photographic and type styles, and other design elements to ensure strong brand recognition. Differentiate with presentation originality. Supply multiple points of contact and stress licensing, and other special qualifications.
2. Focus on providing the service and value customers are truly interested in, rather than on the systems or equipment themselves.
3. Identify your target audience and be sure you direct your energy toward reaching them. Find out how and where they itch; then scratch it.
4. Design and produce materials with the salesperson and customer in mind. It should work as both a selling tool and a purchasing aid.
5. Evaluate which techniques generate the greatest number of sales. If something is not working, better allocate — not eliminate — those marketing dollars.
6. Whether the material is hard copy or electronic, remember less is usually more. Simple, uncluttered messaging is typically more appealing and effective. If possible, solicit internal and external feedback before settling on a design or campaign.
7. Donate time and money to the communities you serve; encourage employees to do likewise. Create marketing materials in support of these efforts. The goodwill and positive brand image generated within and outside your company will be priceless.
8. Marketing does not only apply to new prospects. On the contrary, touch base with your customers often to reinforce how much their business is appreciated and to extend additional sales/revenue possibilities. All outgoing materials should include some type of offer or coupon to spur recipient action.
9. Steer clear of the tired, negative and old-school approach of using scare tactics to lure potential customers. Position ads and messaging for positive branding and awareness that promotes the virtues of safety.
10. For promotional items, strive for something truly useful and of reasonable quality. And don’t forget the prominent branding and contact information.
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