Basic marketing skills are vital to the future of running a successful solo business. But what, exactly, is marketing? Here is the definition I give to clients and people who attend my presentations and workshops.
Marketing is what you do to ultimately get or keep a customer – it is about positioning and having a process. Marketing is entering a new paradigm, which means structuring every activity within your business to meet the needs of your customer. It is about focusing every aspect of your operation to include a marketing function. It is also about understanding marketing strategies, the tools of marketing and the language of marketing.
Successful soloists take a marketing approach rather than selling. So what are the seven deadly sins of marketing?
1. Selling rather than marketing
Selling revolves around the acquisition of profit through volume of sales. Marketing identifies the needs of the customers in order to generate profits through satisfying their needs.
2. Not believing in your product, your service or yourself
You have to strongly believe in your product or service for it to succeed. How many people give up on their idea because of fear of failure, fear of rejection, fear of being different, fear of doing the wrong thing or even fear of success?
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3. Not enough resources
Many people tell me they don’t have enough resources, for example money, glossy brochures or a large enough marketing budget. I argue, how many resources does it take to write an idea down on a piece of paper and set some goals and strategies? In our very busy lives I’m not arguing that you do more. I believe a solution is to cut something out! If you watched 1 hour less of television a week that would give you 52 hours! What could you achieve with this time?
4. Doesn’t meet a market need
This is a fundamental principle of successful marketing. It is imperative that your product or service corresponds to your customers needs in order to increase sales and maximise profits. NASA in the USA spent $1 million in research and development producing a ballpoint pen that works in zero gravity. The Russians gave their cosmonauts pencils!
5. Failure to network
Networking is a vital skill to possess and any opportunity to network should be viewed as a potential to gain new customers, turn leads into advocates and increase repeat business for your products or services. People form relationships and relationships are built by networking.
6. Not building a personal brand
It is essential that your product or service stands out in the crowd. The most effective way to achieve this is by building customer loyalty around the branding of your names and symbols associated with your product or service. Dick Smith is a master at building a multi-million dollar business around his personal brand.
7. Trying too hard without a system
Without a well-designed and precisely researched marketing strategy, you will not have a clear focus on what you are trying to achieve. It is imperative that when establishing a successful marketing strategy that you clearly define your plan, mission, and target markets needs, set achievable goals and identify your strengths to enable working towards achieving the objectives you have set out.