The Signature Marketing Series

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Principle #5
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:

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.  For example, 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:

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