First of all, a confession. I am not a marketing specialist.
In fact, many of you will know much more about marketing than I actually do. That being said, for those of you that only have a slight knowledge, or even none at all, or for those of you who are real high-flying experts but are too busy to remember the fundamentals, here is a brief overview of marketing basics.
Now I know that the first question that you will be asking yourself is ‘Do I really need to think about doing any marketing?’
Well yes you do, and here’s why. Look around and you will see just about everybody is doing marketing. Now all these people are not doing it just to throw their money away but because they knowthat it is really important to their business project.
Of course, we see the big global companies just about everywhere we look; sponsoring sport, billboards, TV and radio, the workplace… and of course they (just about?) dominate the internet too. But it’s also important, and maybe even more so, for small companies, Start-Ups and Crowdfunders to have a marketing strategy as well.
Marketing is essential in improving your current position or even just to maintain the place that you already have. This implies that any company that doesn’t do any marketing will regress, which is marketing talk for losing market share, losing sales and making less money, which is the opposite of what you want to do.
For Start-Ups and Crowdfunders, marketing is just about the only way that you can get your project off the ground – which we all know is the most difficult part.Yes, some projects do get picked-up and carried along on a tidal wave of viral zeal, but some people also win the lottery.
For the rest of us common and mortals, we need to do everything in our power that will increase and improve our chances of being successful.
Now check out the following.
The basic principles of marketing are based on what are called the 4 Ps:
Product, Price, Place and Promotion.
This is followed by what are called the 4 Cs:
Customer, Cost, Convenience and Communication.
When the 4 Ps and the 4 Cs are aligned, this is what we have:
Product ↔ Customer Price ↔ Cost
Place ↔ Convenience Promotion ↔ Communication
And this is what they say:
Product <> Customer
The Product must meet the needs, wants or requirements of the Customer.
In other words, if no one needs it, wants or requires it, then obviously nobody is going to buy it.
- Price <> Cost
The Price must be affordable but one that covers the Costs and is profitable for the company.
- Place <> Convenience
The Place of business must make it easy for the Customer to make a purchase.
That’s why supermarkets always provide plenty of parking so that you can easily park your car next to their store. Your site and method of payment must make it easy for the customer to buy your product or sign-up to your Crowdfunding campaign.
- Promotion <> Communication
Promotion and Communication is getting your message to those people who are likely to be interested in hearing what you have to say.Maybe you have the best Product at the best Price at the best Place but if nobody knows about it, then nobody will buy.
There are also the 4As:
Acceptability, Affordability, Accessibility and Awareness
And also, the 4 Os:
Objects, Objectives, Organization and Operations.
But as they all say more or less the same things using different words, we do not have to worry about them right now.
Let’s just keep it simple.
Robinson’s Rule N. 1
Know who your Customer is.
Define who you believe the Customer you are targeting is. Don’t say everyone, as this will probably be wrong. Think about things such as the Customer’s, age, sex, sexuality, geographical locations, car they drive, disposable money, dress code, political persuasion – or not.…
Of course, your Customers will have several ‘profiles’ but there should be one that clearly stands out from the rest. Imagine that person. Give them a name.
That’s who you will be speaking / communicating / connecting with.
Robinson’s Rule N. 2
Get your message out there precisely targeting your Customer.
Years ago, the problem for small businesses was to have access to media outlets. Now the situation is reversed. Today, everyone has that access so the conundrum now is how to cut through all that internet noise, in order to communicate with your Customers. That’s why you need to know intimately who they are.
Robinson’s Rule N. 3
Have a marketing strategy that matches yourmeans.
Whatever the amount of money you have available for marketing, however modest it may be, write a strategy that matches your resources; financial, technical and physical. Don’t waste time inventing strategies that you are unable or unlikely to fulfill. Stay focused on what you are able to do.
Be not afraid of growing slowly, be afraid only of standing still. (Chinese Proverb )