The Signature Marketing Series
Develop A Marketing Presence
To survive and prosper,
a small company must establish
a marketing presence
based upon a sustainable competitive advantage.
Let's begin to explore this principle
(which makes it easy for people to buy from you)
by first defining some terms:
- Marketing presence
is the message your business communicates
to its prospect and customer base.
To be effective,
the message should be clear and simple —
and contain the key attributes you want associated
with your business.
- Competitive advantage
is the sum of those attributes
that differentiate your business
from its competitors.
This is your core competence.
You develop, build and enhance it
through a clear understanding
of your customers' wants and needs.
You implement it
through a strategic plan
(a directional compass)
that can help you
quickly adapt to changes
in their wants and needs.
means to keep in existence,
to maintain and affirm the validity of,
to support the spirit, vitality and resolution of,
to endure and withstand.
Only through your continuous understanding
of what makes your business competitive
can your business survive and prosper.
GE's CEO, Jack Walsh, once said,
"If you don't have a competitive advantage,
Since it takes two —
a buyer and a seller —
to make a sale,
the reason for establishing
a viable marketing presence
is for your business
to be on the prospective buyer's "short list"
when the buyer is ready to buy.
You want to be sure that your company
is among those being evaluated
when the prospect's need arises.
When you think about your competitive advantage,
consider that in your prospects mind
your company "fits" into some category.
you are either a "low-cost" or "value-added" supplier.
A low-cost supplier is categorized
as one who consistently provides
a lower cost with acceptable quality.
A value-added supplier
provides a differentiated product or service
that contains substantial attributes
which command a premium price.
Likewise, you are either a "generalist" or a "specialist".
A generalist is categorized
as having a broad scope —
serving all types of customers
in an industry or geographical area,
offering a broad range of products or services.
A specialist focuses on specific products or services
and dedicates all efforts to that one niche or market segment.
The key element in your thinking
should be to make a difference.
You must take the risk
to create a recognizable choice
from your rival companies.
Your worst error here
would be trying to imitate rival companies
or trying to be all things to all people.
As you think strategically about establishing your market presence,
consider this process:
- Conceptualize your strategy —
this is pure and analytical.
- Engineer general agreement to the strategy —
here you are muddling over the practicality
of what you want to do
and sharing your ideas with others
and getting their input.
- Prepare a mission statement and business plan —
to discover and clarify what business you are in
how you plan to approach it.
- Communicate the statement and plan —
both internally and externally.
- Live the plan —
if all the steps feel right,
start to implement the plan ——
but with the full expectation, knowledge and intent
that you will continuously adjust and adapt it
to market changes.