We live in a culture today where quick wins and instant gratification are becoming the norm. So when it comes to marketing and selling your products or services, it is very easy to convince yourself to jump straight in.
Just quickly pull together a website, come up with a snappy strapline and sign up for Google AdWords and Facebook Ads? Right?
I don't deny that this approach won't get you any results. It will generate some sales.
However, how much did it cost you to acquire those customers? Also, is the approach really sustainable or did you just get lucky?
How about taking the time out to think, to work through your strategy and customer propositions? Doing so will make sure you're not leaving to chance whether you make a sale or not.
One good place to start is talking to your customers so you can gain some valuable insight to help with that thinking.
The benefits in action
An SME business owner I have been working with is seeing the benefits of doing just this. A simple piece of research with a handful of customers into what motivates them to buy her products has helped her identify what are potentially two very clear segments. Just knowing this means she can start thinking about ways of tailoring how she approaches each segment in a way that will maximise the returns she will get from each.
She is following up with a bigger research piece and is aiming to source responses from at least 50 but preferably 100 people who fit the profile of her target customer. As well as testing the robustness of segments identified in the original research, she would like to explore some ideas she has for enhancing her current proposition. She would also be interested in whether these respondents can suggest something neither she nor her competitors have thought of. Maybe they can, maybe they can’t but it is always worth trying.
By taking the time to gather and analyse insight from her customers she can begin to make more informed decisions. For example, about what she should offer and how she should take it to market in a way that will meet her targets and bring her the best return possible on her marketing spend.
This is supported by figures from the Strategic Thinking Institute, which state that a business that has clearly thought through its strategy is likely on average to have a 304% advantage on its profit margin than a business that doesn't.
As someone with firsthand experience of running a business, I understand how difficult it can be to step out of the day-to-day and devote the time and the headspace to working on your strategy and propositions. That's where people like me can help. We can be an extra thinking resource as well as providing you with whatever additional expertise your business requires. Whether that is to create propositions or develop strategies or both, it will help make your business stand out and let you achieve your goals in the most profitable way possible.
With my clients, I start off with a discovery session. We explore where their business currently is and where they want to go. We then look at the steps they need to take to get there. Some of those steps they can take themselves. Where this is not possible, I can provide or recommend the necessary expertise.
This article also appears on LinkedIn.