Marketing exists simply to create VALUE for you as the business owner and for your customers. Ever thought of marketing just as communications then you are missing a trick!
As you read this blog think of value you can create and what positive action you can take right now for the benefit of your business. Below you’ll find some practical marketing tips that if you apply them, can add serious value to your business.
As you read make a note of the actions you can take right now to improve your marketing.
For those that like an introduction read on, or those keen to cut to the chase skip to ‘What is Marketing’ a couple of paragraphs down…
In a game of family fortunes, if “Marketing” appeared on the screen what might the most common answers amongst business owners be?
I expect social media, digital and advertising would be up there, what do you think – for a bit of fun add the first three words you think of in the comments below (be honest). These are all indeed marketing tools used to communicate your proposition to customers and a very valuable part of the marketing mix. As the word mix suggests they are just one of the important ingredients.
Baking the perfect cake.
I’ll use the analogy of baking a cake to bring this point to life. The communications (4th P “promotion” in Kotler’s age-old definition of the marketing mix) is the icing and completes the cake. The icing which sits on top of the cake however is useless without the base cake it sits upon, even if it is your favourite bit!
So, what are the other vital ingredients? We are going to make a really delicious cake here, so we are going to focus on putting in only quality ingredients, or what l refer to as the valuable parts of the mix.
What is marketing?
For content and clarity l have included below a definition of marketing. Google marketing and you’ll be presented with a plethora of alternative definitions.
The Chartered Institute of Marketing offers us the following “Marketing is the management process responsible for identifying, anticipating and satisfying customer requirements profitably”
There are a couple of absolutely critical words here, Profit and customer or consumer, client, guest – however you wish to describe the people that benefit from your product and or service.
How a focus on value will lead to victory.
Let’s cut through the jargon and keep things meaningful and actionable. I’m not going to go through 4 Ps or 7Ps or C’s even, l am simply focusing in on just one V! That V is VALUE.
Marketing in essence serves two people/or groups of people:
- You – As the business owner, partner or shareholder in the form of profit
- Them – The people who benefit from your product or service aka. target market.
Marketing exists simply to create VALUE for these two groups of people – lf that is the only thing you take from this blog and apply it to your business you are likely to see some really positive results.
Actionable marketing tips for putting VALUE creation at the heart of your business:
N.B. Just to be absolutely clear when I say Value, it’s not just about price. I’ll give an extreme example to ensure clarity. Imagine I’ve a bottle of water you’ll have a figure in your head now of what that’s worth in your head say £1-£2 maybe. Now consider what the value of that bottle to you is in the following scenarios. A) Sat at home with plenty of chilled water in the fridge. B) Out on a run and really thirsty C) Lost in the middle of a dessert, searing heat, alone and with no sign-of life in site! In scenario A you might not be able to give it away yet in scenario C the same bottle represents a lifeline, hope, survival, perhaps the difference between life and death. The point is you need to find out what is of value to your people/target market.
The valuable marketing ingredients for success:
Seek value – Identify what people value. Focus on their needs, their challenges. I’d go so far as to fall in love with their problems, explore them in depth and dig down to really understand their motivations, needs, desires. When you think you have the answer, don’t stop dig a bit further and get to the real root of the matter. Ever had a child ask you or been a child and say “l’m hungry” just after lunch. On autopilot you are thinking perhaps l did not give them enough. Parents and kids will know “l’m hungry” is not the real question! They might be saying “l’d like a sweet” or “l’m bored – you don’t know which until you explore further right? And the solution to each would be very different? Ok if you know them well you might make an educated guess or an assumption! When it comes to people it always pays to check assumptions.
Simple ways to explore what is of value to people:
Ask – This does not have to be traditional research – Anyone I come across who is struggling to articulate what they do well for their customers I say phone 5-10 of your customers and ask them.
Observe – People don’t always do as they say so it can pay observe what they actually do, buy, consume.
Ask again – Feedback is a gift, so if you are not asking for it you are missing out on an opportunity to evolve. And if change is the only constant, then you are taking a risk!
I said they were simple – and I’ve stated the obvious deliberately as Just because things are easy, does not mean we always do them!
Create value – Design, create, adapt and improve your product or service to deliver what people value.
The theory here is simple, assuming you have done the stage above and have already understood what your customers/prospects value.
The ‘work’ at this stage it to ensure you are satisfying both parties – i.e. You, by creating a product or service that delivers value for your customers and value for you and your business in the form of PROFIT.
This is the real work of marketing – It should not be difficult to understand what people want (if you ask), yet matching these needs with your skills, abilities, et al and making money whilst doing that is where the heavy lifting is done).
We don’t exist alone of course so at the seeking value and creating value stages you’ll need to be clear on why people would choose you over your competitors. If cheaper price is the primary point of differentiation you can come up with here, I urge you to re-consider – its more than likely that you’ve not properly identified the value (of course there might be some commodity market examples that are the exception here).
3. Communicate value – Ever sat down and thought I need to advertise what we do, what shall I say? What shall I put in the ad, say on social media post? This is your icing on the cake as per my baking analogy above and it completes the cake. Without understanding what your customer wants and creating a product a service to meet that need, you’ve not much of value to say! And without the icing, the cake is incomplete as no one knows about the wonderful product and service you’ve created for them.
4. Deliver value – consistently – Let them enjoy the cake! Once you’ve found the perfect ingredients and mix, you’ll want to ensure you and your team follow the winning recipe every-time
5. Repeat – go back to stage 1, seeking feedback to check for any changes in what people value. This can be an on-going and iterative process of evolution to remain valuable. At times things will come along that have an immediate impact on what people value and may require more urgent change, I can think of one recently.
Marketing exists simply to create VALUE for you as the business owner and for your customers. Find out how ActionCOACH West Herts can help you improve your marketing efforts by booking a call with us now.
Marketing = Value creation:
|Value||For Them||For You|
|Seek value||with your customers||an Investment for your profit|
|Create value||for your customers||Profit creation for you|
|Communicate value||with your customers||an Investment for your profit|
|Deliver value||to your customers||PROFIT for you|
If you want your product/service to sell like hot cakes – find out what is hot!
James Gentle – Partner & Business Coach – Find me on LinkedIn