In continuing our series on the DISSC marketing formula for getting quick results, we turn to step 3 – Select your number 1 marketing strategy.
In step 1 we looked at ‘Defining your foundation’ and in step 2 we focused on ‘Identifying your number 1 marketing goal’.
Now that you have done that, the next step is to determine the marketing strategy you will focus on to achieve that goal.
So, what is a ‘strategy’?
According to Wikipedia; “strategy is a general plan to achieve one or more long-term or overall goals under conditions of uncertainty.”
People often confuse ‘strategy’ with ‘tactics’. It is important to recognize that there is a difference.
Smartinsights.com defines it this way: “Strategy dictates the marketing activity needed to achieve your business goals and vision, whereas tactics, the ‘detail of the strategy’, answer how exactly that will happen.”
There are multiple low-cost marketing strategies that are quite easy to implement. Consequently, there is a temptation to try several together. But that can cause distractions and a lack of focus that reduces the results you are trying to achieve.
So, the DISSC process for getting rapid results stipulates you select just one marketing strategy to concentrate on to reach the goal you selected in step 2. This will make your marketing more focused, easier, more effective, and less stressful.
The first decision to make is how much you are going to spend on marketing in the next quarter. One way to do this is to base it on a percentage of your current earnings.
Once you find a marketing strategy that gets an excellent return on the investment, you will be happy to increase your investment in this strategy. But when you are just starting out or trying a new strategy, you can’t guarantee that you’ll get the results you anticipate. Consequently, I recommend you budget a fixed amount you can afford to lose.
Once you have set your budget, there are a number of questions to brainstorm in selecting the marketing strategy to focus on. Here are some examples:
Once you have come up with a list of potential strategies, evaluate the metrics of each. What are the costs related to each option? What results are you expecting to achieve?
What is your breakeven point? In other words, what income do you need to generate to cover the costs?
If your goal is to make sales that generate an immediate profit, then the break-even point is calculated as (gross profit/marketing cost) of the actual sales.
However, if your goal is to create a new customer/client who will buy from you again and again, then I would suggest that the break-even point metric would reflect the lifetime value of your customer. It would be calculated as (lifetime average gross profit per customer/marketing cost).
Note: The lifetime value of a customer is the total value of a customer to your business over the lifetime of their relationship with your business. It is an important concept because it means you can spend more to acquire a customer knowing that they will deliver ongoing value to your business.
So, it will depend on your goal, but it is important to do the metrics as even marketing people get caught out. For example, in our business, our marketing person embarked on a Facebook Advertising campaign. She was very excited with the sales it was bringing in until I pointed out that the cost of each sale was much greater than the value of the sale. (We will look at metrics further in part 4 next week.)
Your choice of strategy will also depend on your current business status. A start-up with no existing customer base may well use a totally different approach to a well-established small business.
With that in mind here are some different approaches to consider.
If you have just begun a business and your customer base is very small:
As an example, I commenced my accounting practice from scratch. In other words, I started with no clients. A strategy I adopted was to offer myself as a speaker for business networking events run by government sponsored organizations providing advice to small business owners. This positioned me as an expert in my field and I quickly built my business around this strategy.
On the other hand, if you have been in business for some time and already have an audience:
You often see cafes providing a loyalty card that gives you a free coffee after you purchase 5 or 10 or whatever the number might be. This can be beneficial when you are the first to do this but loses its effectiveness when everybody gets on the bandwagon and it becomes an expectation. So, you need to keep evolving to ‘wow’ your customers and keep ahead of the curve.
Let’s look at 2 examples:
In the lead-up to Christmas one year, a client who owned a hardware store held a ‘customer appreciation evening’. This was an evening just for his loyal customers. He had a number of special activities during the evening, and also had a number of special offers. This resulted in a great return on investment, especially as he had approached his suppliers and negotiated with them to supply prizes and special ‘one-off’ event prices.
Another example is a restaurant that broadcasts a message offering a member’s only benefit at times when bookings are slow.
Bear in mind that to make this effective, each of these businesses had to have contact details of their customers.
Every business should have a strategy for collecting customer information. This might start with their name and contact details as a minimum, and you want to expand this to as much information as you can.
Your ‘list’ can become the most valuable asset in your business.
Having brainstormed the different options available, select the marketing strategy that will be your focus for the next quarter.
Reflect on your foundation and the marketing goal you have selected, and make sure that the strategy you have chosen is in sync with these steps.
In our next episode, we will focus on developing the action steps and communication.
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