This is the third in a series of what has changed in customer perceptions and resultant buying behaviors.

Change #3 – Getting to the Marketplace is Easy; Being Found is Not

Winning the attention of people and carving out your distinct position in this noisy, changing and commoditized marketplace requires single-minded dedication. With so many businesses attempting to capture customers you should have, you can’t just sit and wait for people to beat a path to your door. Buyers can’t inquire if they don’t know you exist. You must promote constantly to make your position known and to own it outright. Your objective should be to make your business first and foremost in the potential buyer’s mind. By doing so, when the window of opportunity to purchase opens, you are the first and likely the only place they will inquire.

The process of being found requires that promotion be exactly that – a process.  I am asked repeatedly, “What is the best single way to promote a business or non-profit to target consumers?”  In reality, the best way is not a singular way at all  because different things and media motivates different people. What really works in today’s marketplace is using a variety of media and methods with a singular message:  Your Value to the buyer.  Not your experience or abilities but rather the value buyers receive from you.

To be effective with promotion regardless of media (social or traditional) requires that you write and speak in the voice, and to the emotions, of the prospect or customer. To successfully accomplish this, you must communicate with them, not at them. Not in generic terms but to every extent possible in a personalized and humanized way to encourage consumer curiosity and responsiveness.

To effectively personalize your promotion, at the very least modify it based upon who you wish to reach and the markets you wish to tap.  There are three clear sectors to consider:

1)      Modify By Specific Geographic Location – critically important for multiple sites of business.

2)      Modify By Market Sector, Niche, Vertical – specific SIC codes that are assigned to your target businesses, professions, or occupations.

3)      Modify For Specific People Types – seniors, families, children, ethnic, recreational groups, etc.

By personalizing it to specific markets with these types of modifications, your messages have a deeper resonance with target customers.

Further, effective promotion to be found in the marketplace requires communicating persuasively with clarity and power. Customers and prospects do want to understand. To ensure you communicate clearly, persuasively, and with power, use vibrant words and phrases in your explanatory copy. This helps customers clearly see the relevance of your products and services.

Finally, to execute any positioning and promotion campaign requires pre-thought and good planning. Millions of dollars every year are wasted by organizations on promotion. As my good friend, Dr. Nido Qubein, President of High Point University said so well:

Some people think success comes effortlessly, with no need for effort or conscious planning. All you need to do is be in the right place at the right time, and at some happy moment, success will fall into your lap. Such people are called “failures.”  Successful people know that in business or any other undertaking, you must plan for success, and you must make conscious choices centered on your core values. On rare occasions, somebody also wins the multimillion-dollar lottery. But most people don’t. The sure route to success lies through careful planning in harmony with a core motivation.

This reinforces the need for a comprehensive positioning and promotional plan for you and your business. A specific plan on how you are going to make your value known to prospective buyers during the next year and every year thereafter. Then to be sure your promotional plan is effective and executed brilliantly develop a tactical plan of specific steps to be taken every 90 days. Create one for the first 90 days of your plan, the following 90 and every 90 day cycle thereafter to ensure you are found by prospective customers.

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