As I begin the next class of Entrepreneurship degree, the ENT (645): Entrepreneurial Marketing, the main focus of the discussions and reflections, as I mentioned in the intro post, will be the “Duct Tape Marketing” book written by John Jantsch.
The first point of discussion this week revolves around the marketing strategy. To that, I quote the author saying ‘A marketing strategy is a clear explanation of how you’re going to get there, not where or what “there” is’ (Jantsch 2011). When we think of marketing from the small business perspective, we can see, based on research and pools, that majority of the small business owners do not have a clear understanding of what that entails. According to the survey of 529 small businesses in the US, the vast majority focused their efforts on generating more revenue, but only 6% of the businesses focused on retaining customers (Guta 2019). There is a big disconnect here. If the outcome is to generate more revenue but not to retain customers, the business owner is more than likely pouring their hard earned cash into advertisements and promotions but not focusing on what matters. There is a three-step process defined in the book that should help small businesses develop a robust marketing strategy, rather than focusing on goals, missions, and objectives.
- Decide Who Matters: also known as defining your ideal client.
- Be Different: Once you define the ideal client, find ways to appeal to them. You may be doing something truly unique but not communicating your core marketing message effectively.
- Connect The Dots: Combine your ideal client and your unique value proposition (your differentiator) to create a marketing strategy.
Identify Your Ideal Client
Defining your ideal client is deemed #1 priority in the three-step process. In fact, if we don’t know who our target market is and what the ideal client looks like we can not expect to make a difference in or bring true value to the market. On the contrary, we end up with clients who don’t respect the value we bring, don’t pay on time, and don’t do their part (Jantsch 2011). This ill-mannered behavior could cause cause stagnation and prevent your business from growing.
Some important steps in identifying the ideal client:
- Be Profitable First: Identify and understand the most profitable work and get rid of work that is not profitable, if needed.
- Add Referrals: This is a sub category of the “profitable” clients. The happy clients refer. This group is a key.
- Study the Demographics: From the narrow group, the “profitable + referring” clients, look for common characteristics such as age, income, and zip-code.
- Research Client Behavior: Understand what makes them tick and what triggers them to look for someone like you out of the many available businesses.
- Create the Biographical Sketch: Create a “picture” of your ideal client through the use of words and images to help you “spot/identify the ideal client” in the future.
Once we define the ideal client, a logical next step is to find out how many “ideal” clients exist in the market that we are intending to service, how can we reach them, and once we reach them what is our message to them?
Discover Your Core Marketing Message
In order to get out of the “commodity business” and stop competing on terms of good service, quality, or pricing, we must create a stunning core message that is quick and easy to communicate to prospects. The core message should define the difference between you and your competition in terms of how you help customers transform their lives and the overall experience you provide to them (Jantsch 2011). Once the core message is defined it should be used in all of your marketing.
In addition to defining your ideal client and the core message, it is important to interview your top ten clients and find out why they buy from you. Additionally, you should focus on designing your marketing purpose statement and creating a talking logo to help you answer the burning question,”what you do for living?” (Jantsch 2011).
From here on, all of your advertising content, social media content, and promotion should be centered on promoting that difference. This is called building your brand. It is not easy, and it takes time and patience but the outcome and payoff is well worth it. It is what differentiates the winners from the loses in the big marketing game (Jantsch 2011).
Let’s get creative and stay focused as we build our brands, and be the difference makers in the respective markets.
Jantsch, John. Duct Tape Marketing – the Worlds Most Practical Small Business Marketing Gu. Thomas Nelson Publishers, 2011.
Guta, Michael. “Just 6% of Small Businesses Focus on Keeping Customers.” Small Business Trends, 6 Dec. 2019, smallbiztrends.com/2019/06/keeping-customers.html.