1. Know your strengths and weaknesses. You should regularly list them and continually review them, comparing your company with your competitors. Honesty is essential as your weaknesses should often be your focus for improvement and your strengths, your major selling point. If you don’t do this often enough your marketing collateral will often feel ad-hoc, with a mixed tone and message.
2. Keep your customers. A major failing of most companies is the balance of their marketing investment. While developing new and fresh customers is essential, existing customers should never be forgotten. Companies often focus entirely on new market share. Very rarely is there a case in which winning new customers is more cost effective than nurturing and developing existing customers.
3. Integrate your communications. A shared message is a more focused message. Every way in which your company can interface with customers should work hand-in-hand. Whether it’s direct mail, advertising or the internet, developing an integrated message or theme is the key to making your customers think “I need that”. Plan your campaigns, and develop new and exciting ways with which to reach your customers.
4. Be flexible. If you are quick to react, nimble and able to respond to market forces you are less likely to suffer from any competitive innovation, price cut or new service. This can be applied to your marketing communications strategy. Developing regular online communication with customers will allow you to communicate any advancements quickly and effectively without using up all of your budget.
5. 80:20 vision. Most business following this model: 80% of your profits/ turnover will come from 20% of your customers. This allows you to identify your most profitable clients – thus find more like them. Of the 80% that are less profitable, they will divide into two categories: those who can be developed to increase sales potential, and those who cannot.
6. Stand in your customers shoes. Imagine the world from your customers’ perspective. What do they care about? What does the world look like? How do they feel? What do they need? Where do they go? What are their habits? What media do they consume? If you know your customer, you can reach them, communicate with them and create demand.
7. Use your information. Existing customer data is an excellent way to profile potential customers. Also using existing data is the cheapest and most accurate method to reach actual customers. This data can also be used to sell complimentary or extended products to active buyers.
8. Budget well. Marketing budgets are very easily spent on not very much of any value. Marketing isn’t solely about visibility – it should also be about accuracy. Identify opportunities to sell, and channels to reach your current and potential customers. Measure the response to your activity – if you know why customers are choosing you and how they are finding of you, you’re on the right track.
9. Add value. Value added offers and services make it hard to compare like-for-like. Where one company is very cheap, another can still compete on extras, or simply on reputation. An example of this is BMW – their advertising isn’t just for potential customers? it is also for existing customers. The continuous advertising campaigns reward the BMW owner, continually reinforcing the social value and prestige of owning one of their cars.
10. Understand your market. You may have a great product – but does anyone want or need it? Does you product or brand satisfy potential customers needs? Is the price right? What are your competitors doing? What is your unique selling point or USP? Where companies, products and services have not established a clear difference customers will usually make decisions based on price alone.