Whether a company is operating in good or difficult economic times they must market strategically. That means that there must be an overall goal as well as a core methodology for the company to follow.
Blindly following trends such as “mobile marketing” or “Google Maps” without a strategy are unlikely to get you the results that you want from your promotional efforts. How you approach the market is as important as how much traffic you can get to your website. Understanding the nature of your customer and what they desire to buy will always trump even the best search engine marketing strategies.
Therefore, what’s needed is for you to understand the basic framework for marketing. Whether a company is doing internet marketing or television commercials, there is a certain structure that all successful marketing and promotion fits into.
What is that structure?
There are seven basic principles that every company must consider in order to promote their business fully. Interestingly, the Internet-based methods are only one of seven. The other six are just as important and without them in place, a company’s Internet marketing efforts won’t yield everything that they can.
First, a company must have its own unique selling proposition or USP. That means that every customer should have an understanding of why they choose to frequent that business. Secondly, businesses also need to be able to move customers purposefully through their sales system to give them the maximum value possible in exchange for the maximum quality and quantity of transactions.
Yet another fundamental every company must have in place is to have an active relationship with those that they have come in contact with through their customer database. In marketing circles, this is called a contact database, e-mail list or e-mail database.
A third function often goes unheralded but is just as powerful. Whenever possible, business owners and managers should be seeking relationships with other companies that complement their business in order to exchange access to their respective customer databases.
Companies should also have a firm handle on how they’ll use traditional media advertising. Whether or not they choose to use the newspaper, television, radio or all of the above, management and staff should understand their demographic extremely well. They should then match the channel to the media preference of that demographic.
Fifth, good companies find a way to be involved with their community. This involvement has a direct benefit to the company; when used correctly, it’s a fantastic tool for branding. Whenever someone that has come in contact with the involvement sees their company name they will have a positive association based on that experience. This can easily substitute for companies that cannot afford an extensive media advertising campaign.
As a seventh principle, companies should make the best use of direct response principles of selling one on one. Instead of using all of their promotion to speak “one to many”, companies with long term success direct some of their message to their customers on an intimate or personal level. You’ve probably seen direct response at work in mail advertising, infomercials and website pages requesting your contact information.
Lastly, companies should be effective in using the Internet in every way possible. Note that Internet marketing comes after every other foundational practice is in place. In fact, the Internet is more of a channel of distribution, then it is a marketing method.
If you have all of the other fundamentals in place, the way that you’ll do Internet marketing will be greater in its impact. In the next few posts, the other methods will be outlined and described so that you can begin to develop your own fundamental plan to build the basis for categorizing all of the advice you read and see on marketing.