Some people will tell you that advertising is the key to business success. I wish that simple because then my job would be INFINITELY easier!
In his book HOW TO BECOME A MARKETING SUPERSTAR: UNEXPECTED RULES THAT RING THE CASH REGISTER, Jeffery Fox spends most of the book looking at the INTERNAL workings of your business instead of "keys" to creating powerful marketing campaigns. The reason? Because launching an effective advertising campaign will bring new customers to your business, but that is only the beginning.
Remember, marketing includes all activities involved in transferring goods and services from you to your customers. Advertising is just one piece of that complicated puzzle.
Just as advertising can work for you or against you, so can all of your other marketing activities. An effective advertising campaign that promotes a business with shoddy product or lousy customer service will merely hasten that business’ demise.
Success won’t happen overnight, but it will happen when you pay attention to each of the four factors essential for your business to succeed:
- Your businesses strengths and weaknesses.
In marketing speak, you’ll hear a lot about doing a SWOT analysis (SWOT: Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats) This is the fancy name give to your analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of not only your business, but also the strengths and weaknesses of your competitors. Many, many business people tend to overlook doing a strengths and weaknesses analysis on their competitors, perhaps because they feel that their competitor’s strengths and weaknesses are factors over which it appears they have no control. While you may not be able to control your competitor’s delivery of goods and services, you do have absolute control over where you position yourself in relation to your strongest competitor.
For example, four decades ago it appeared that Hertz was doing it all and doing it all well in the car rental world. They were faster, cheaper and better than everyone else. Then Avis launched their “We try harder” campaign and now forty short years later, being number two still looks pretty darn inviting. Without creating, exposing or exploiting a competitor’s flaw, Avis perfectly positioned itself as the “underdog” and willing to “try harder” to win your business. The rest is history.
- Your business strategy.
This is the “opportunity” part of a SWOT analysis. (SWOT: Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats) It’s where you make sure you’re not trying to sell ice cubes to Eskimos. If you’re Avis, it’s where you decide that because you’re number two, your employees can’t afford not to be nice.
- Day to day operations.
This is truly where the rubber meets the road. It’s where you deliver on the promise you make to the customer via your advertising. It is one thing for Avis to promote friendly, efficient service but it’s another to actually deliver upon that promise.
Day to day operations factors include, but are not limited to:
- How the phone is answered.
- How product is displayed in your store.
- How customers are treated.
- How complaints are handled.
- How long customers wait to check out.
- How staff interacts with customers.
- Whether products advertised are in stock.
- Your marketing message.
This is where you develop a marketing plan, create effective advertising materials and choose the right media to carry the message to your target market. It’s fourth on the list for a reason. Fail at the first three areas, but succeed at the fourth and your marketing message or advertising will only hasten your business’s inevitable demise.
Whether or not the increased customer traffic that results from your effective advertising leads to a healthy bottom line is up to your execution of the rest of your business model.
I’ve written a step by step plan to create marketing success for your business in my book Beyond the Niche: Essential Tools You Need to Create Marketing Messages that Deliver Results. Proceed with caution because the best laid marketing plans will only create success for a business built on a solid foundation.