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Aim! Focus! PING! The 3 steps to great marketing

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I regularly present at seminars where I give business owners advice on how to be more strategic with their marketing efforts.

1. AIM! Identify your markets.

Very few companies sell to a single market – even if they think they do. For example, an engineering company doesn’t just sell engineering services to businesses. One of its markets may be facility managers in large industries. Another market could be large contractors who are potential teaming partners. Yet another market could be municipalities. Each of these markets would require a very different approach in how the marketing message is worded. Each of these markets would also require a very different approach in how and where the messages are delivered. So the stereotypical image of a dartboard for target marketing isn’t very accurate. Instead of a single dartboard (target market) you aim at with your marketing messages – your company typically aims at several dartboards (target markets) that can look very different from each other, like this:

targets

2. FOCUS! Choose and sharpen your message.

Once you have defined your different target markets (usually 3 – 6 targets is best), you need to decide what message needs to be sent to each. The message has to be specific to the target and very sharp and to the point in order to hit the mark. In the example of an engineering company, the message may be engineering services that are tuned in with the needs of industry such as years of experience in industry or ability to work during shutdowns. The message to large contractors could be certifications that could be brought to the table or experience in large scale builds. The message to municipalities could be low cost combined with experience working in cities and counties. The end result is very different messages with different focuses that hit the hot buttons of each specific target market.

message

3. PING! Hitting your market, hard.

Once again the stereotypical image of a single arrow hitting a single target is inaccurate when looking at target marketing. Not only are most companies dealing with multiple targets (markets), with unique messages (darts) for each, it is also a terrible idea to throw just a single dart at each market. For example, the engineering company would be foolish to aim at the industrial facility manager market with a single ad (PING!) run once a year in a trade publication. A single PING isn’t going to raise visibility for your company.

Once an individual market is identified and the message prepared, your business needs to deliver this message over and over again, in as many different ways as possible that fit your budget. So for our engineering company, the message could be delivered to the industrial facility manager market by participation of key staff at local industry associations (PING!), through press releases when awards are won (PING!) or new employees join the team (PING!), through print ads in trade journals (PING!), through LinkedIn participation (PING!), through industry tradeshows (PING!), through an annual Christmas card (PING!), and through a variety of other approaches (PING!) (PING!) (PING!). The goal is to hit the target in as many ways as possible.

The more ways you can hit your market so decision makers see and remember your brand, the better the odds you will be called when they are ready to buy. The more “PINGs” you achieve, the better business will be.

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