Every business wants to know what their competitors are doing and while it is difficult to know everything they are doing – Google Alerts helps you discover what they are doing on the web. You can receive daily alerts when your competitors’ names show up on websites, news articles, blogs, etc.
To provide the best results you should use quotation marks like “M Is For Marketing” so you are not receiving updates on everything with the word marketing in it.
While this is certainly, not the only competitive reconnaissance you should do, it does provide interesting information to see where your competition is and who is talking about them. Which, in turn, helps you market smarter.
I was re-reading a 2001 article from the Harvard Business Review about how to navigate your business in a downturn. It reminded me that so many companies often try to diversify their products and services to capture revenue from new sources. Instead of being distracted by new ventures which deplete your resources and invite new competition, strengthen your core services and ensure you maintain your competitive edge.
Focusing on your core customers is equally important. Reaching out to a wider customer segment is important for growth – but it can take time. For a near-term (and ongoing solution) reach out to your existing customers. Provide them incentives to use your services or purchase your products again. Use email marketing, direct mail and/or telemarketing to communicate your offer and bring your customers back.
In addition, provide you customers an incentive to refer you to their friends. Word-of-mouth marketing is the one of the most credible marketing tools and providing your customers a reason to talk about you to their friends will certainly help drive sales.
To weather the economic storm follow these steps to solidify your core business and strengthen your customer relationships thus allowing you to market smarter.
Marketing is not finite. An ad campaign may end. A PR blitz can come to conclusion.
Marketing never ends. In fact, marketing should build upon itself.
A client wanted to use speaking engagements as a tactic to establish themselves as industry experts. While the partners of this company had significant industry experience, the company was relatively new and unknown.
They were frustrated at being rejected by a leading industry trade show. I told them they needed to build their portfolio by speaking at smaller events and writing articles in smaller industry publications. Those activities would provide credibility and establish them as an industry expert. Doing so provided a strong base for them to speak at the larger industry events and they are frequently quoted in industry news.
Getting the most out of your marketing dollar goes beyond integrated marketing. It is making sure you use your marketing elements as frequently as appropriate. Here are two simple, low-cost examples.
Example #1: You are featured in an magazine article. Post the article on your web site. Mail a copy of it to your prospect base. Use an excerpt in a sales presentation. Reference the magazine feature in your PR boilerplate copy.
Example #2: You write a white paper. Send the white paper out to all clients and prospects. Use the white paper in your press kit. Use it as a promotional tool in an email to collect new prospects. Promote it on your site.
Regardless of economics, the point is don’t just execute one tactic, see how your tactics can be used in many ways to build upon each other and thus build your brand, differentiate your company and help you achieve your sales goals.
Keeping this in mind will help you Market Smarter.
P.S. Remember to vote.