For the past 3 weeks or so I've been walking you through the 4 steps to building business value...week 1 was strategy, week 2 was systemization, and week 3 was project management. The final of the 4 installments in this series is MARKETING SUCCESS. During the prior three weeks, you may not have seen how each area added to the value of your company, but marketing, that should be simple to see. What it's not, is simple to implement without a proven, practical, actionable framework. This week we'll cover the 7 steps of small business marketing success.
Today, part 4, is a discussion of marketing success. The definition of marketing that I subscribe to is the one provided by John Jantsch of Duct Tape Marketing… “marketing is getting people that have a need to know, like, and trust you enough to buy from you and refer you to others.”
Your marketing efforts should start with a strategy, either outlined earlier (see the post #1 in this series) or outlined now, then be crafted as a defined process or system because marketing is not a one-time event, and finally implemented as a project that executes the marketing success strategy according to the process.
When developing a path forward for marketing, there are seven steps of small business marketing success that I outline below, each from the Duct Tape Marketing System. They are:
1.) Strategy: Start by identifying your ideal client, determine how you differentiate your business, craft your core message, and make your clients the hero of the story.
2.) Customer Journey: The traditional sales funnel accounts for only half the customer journey. We talk about The Marketing and Sales Hourglass™ of know, like, trust, try, buy, repeat, and refer. Plan the elements that will gently move your customer along this path.
3.) Content: Potential buyers come to know, like, and trust a business in several ways. One way is by educating themselves. Business owners must provide educational content that answers a prospect’s questions, addresses their need, and helps to build trust.
4.) Total Online Presence: Today the web is often where prospects turn first to know you exist. How many times have you Googled something like, “coffee shops near me”? Businesses need to have a total online presence that includes a website, social presence, citation/directory listings, reviews and ratings, and email/outreach campaigns.
5.) Lead Generation Trio: Advertising, positive PR, and referrals are the three legs of the lead generation stool. Advertising builds awareness, public relations (PR) helps build credibility, and referrals can do much of the “know, like, and trust” work for you... ensure clients are WOW’d by what makes you different and they will tell all their friends what a great job you do.
6.) Selling System: Defining a system of repeatable processes that achieve the results expected makes work more efficient and increases opportunities for success. It is the same for selling. Define and document processes from discovery through transaction, to review and referral.
7.) Calendar: Marketing is not a single act, marketing needs to be a habit. Draft a calendar of themes, reviews, and appointments that when executed make marketing consistent and persistent day-in-and-day-out.
Why it’s important: Marketing, reputation, and relationship management are important because they bring in the money. Having a strategy, executing that strategy, and making your business owner-independent through processes and systems are all important to building value; but, the money you’re making and, even more importantly your cash flow, are essential in growing the value of your business. Buyers want to see upward trends in performance over the past 3-5 years and know that you have solutions in place to continue those trends into the future… when they own the business.
I have been in project management and process improvement for over 15 years working for large and small for-profit companies, associations, and not-for-profit organizations. After working in hospitality management for over 10 years, I underwent a career change moving into technology, working for GE. It was there I began working in project management and process improvement; training with GE's Six Sigma program. Later my career had me working with Constellation Energy in Baltimore, Caesars Entertainment in Las Vegas, and eventual transitioning into consulting working for federal agencies and most recently an industry association in the utility sector. I enjoy working with and helping small and medium-sized organizations build value in their business through strategy, project execution, systemization, and marketing.