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What’s the difference between the confident entrepreneurs who lead growing businesses and owners who can’t get out of survival mode?  It all comes down to this:  All successful businesses have a clear marketing strategy that makes everything they do more effective.
Unfortunately, many busy small business owners get so caught up in tactical daily marketing execution like building a website, sending email, tweeting, advertising, optimizing a landing page, blogging and so on, that they are not taking the time to work on the decisions that’ll improve the performance of their tactics. There are many things to consider when crafting a successful strategy, but there are five key decisions that over the years I have seen help hundreds of small business owners grow their sales and create sanity in their businesses. To make your tactics work better, to grow your business and bring sanity to your world, you have to decide on the single, simple answer to each of these questions and commit to not changing it for a year or two. Focusing on a well-defined target may make you uncomfortable at first, but stay the course and follow through.
If you are spending time and money on marketing but your efforts are not driving enough sales, the problem is almost always that you haven’t narrowed your target market definition enough to be effective. Your unique benefit should highlight the one (or two) main things your product or service actually delivers (benefits) that your target customer really wants, not a long list of all the things your product does (features). At Infusionsoft, we know our customers don’t just want our software: They want to grow sales and save time. When someone is looking to buy a solution to a problem, they will quickly make sense of the alternatives to compare against – your competition. Once you have defined your competition, make a list of all the things you do differently and better. Your company name is the leading category for target customers that provides unique benefit.
Our growth rate doubled when we focused and committed to this clear and simple marketing strategy. Try it for yourself: Fill in the blanks to create the marketing strategy statement for your own business. Can you see why it makes no sense to Tweet, to send a broadcast email or build a new website if you are not clear about your marketing strategy that has laser-like focus? Here’s the real secret that successful companies practice with extreme discipline: Creating a clear marketing strategy is not what companies do after they get big, it’s what small companies do to grow and get bigger in the first place. Greg brings 25 years of software industry experience to Infusionsoft, where he oversees the company’s marketing strategy, communications and partner programs. The real difficult thing, in my experience at least, is the human resources to run and maintain a marketing campaign. Amazing article to show what it needs to strategize marketing plan for efficient running of the business.
That’s right, but I find that most entrepreneurs jump to the benefits before doing the work to focus on a clear target and a clear competitive alternative.
Yep, and your differentiation depends on who you are targeting, who you compare yourself too, what you are selling and what is the unique benefit. Bigger companies have more execution capability, marketing leadership, tools and resources than small companies, so it could be strategy or it could be execution. Greg agree with all points except for point 1(Who is your narrowly defined target customer?), 4(Who is your real competition?) and that doesn’t mean that there is something wrong with those points. Let me explain, in my personal experience when it comes to target customers, and you want to identify your target customers I believe you need to start with “Others Like You (your business)”. I could have used “competitors” instead of others like you, but I didn’t on purpose, it is quite clear that “competitors” encompass not only businesses like yours but the “best of the industry” and that creates two big problems. First problem is of “Overnight”, when you focus on your competitors, your focus is mostly on best in your industry, the big brands, you want to be like them, you want to beat them and thus you try everything. I mean it all started in a dorm room for facebook, it took over a century for coca-cola to become coca-cola, Apple became Apple after decades of hard work, efforts …. So you need to focus on other business similar to your in almost all angles, you need to win small battles to win the war (beat the best of your industry through persistency and consistency).
One of the key ways a small local business can both differentiate themselves and also gain a competitive advantage over bigger businesses is relatively simple—providing great customer service. For the vast majority of respondents, all they really want is to have their questions answered. When asked if they wanted answers to questions or for companies “to know my mood and respond accordingly,” an overwhelming eight in 10 agreed that answers were more important. Almost half (47 percent) said that the one thing that most created a favorable impression was a quick response.
When it comes to customer service, there is an ongoing struggle for companies trying to find the right balance between privacy and personalization.
For young Americans, the balance was more in favor of personalization at 59 percent, compared to just 46 percent for those over the age of 35. For “high relationship” sectors such as banking, dissatisfaction with service most often came from mistakes or an uninterested staff. The results of the study suggest that providing good customer service is essentially a simple process, with speed and convenience being the top priorities important for your customers. Delivering on that means having well-trained first contact and frontline staff, ensuring that they have real-time information available to answer customer queries, and empowering your team with the authority to quickly and effectively resolve customer issues. In addition, it means employing keyword alerts and other tools that allow you to listen and monitor the social media space, and being smart when it comes to proactive reputation management strategies.
Great customer service invariably leads to happy customers, even if that stemmed from a mistake or complaint.
You can find out more about the Verint study and Infographics summarizing the results at Customer-Centricity: The Rules of Engagement (registration required).
Great Marketing words in 3d letters surrounded by colorful fireworks or stars to illustrate effective and great promotion or advertising campaign or skills. I like the way they help validate the values you consider important and question ones held by others.
In a previous job, we had a wall covered in our favourite quotes, each serving a different purpose depending on what the priority was on any given day.
So, when I was searching for some of my favourites the other day I thought it’d be fun to compile a nice list of them, and share them here on my blog. I’d really like to add to the list too, so if you have your favourites handy, drop them in the comments box at the end of the post.
Some of the main sources for this post included Entrepreneurs Corner, Content Marketing Institute, Ross Simonds and Nerd Business.

WelcomeThanks for visiting AdamVincenzini[dot]com, an Australian-based social media and content marketing blog. Subscribe and connectAdamVincenzini[dot]com is an Australian social media and content marketing blog. A good business plan supported by great marketing may be worse than a great business plan with good marketing. Great marketing articulates a brand promise that attracts new customers and engages existing ones, thereby fueling growth. Marketing that draws more people into a lackluster experience can actually hurt the business.
Startups, for example, often struggle to decide the right time in their lifecycle to invest in marketing versus solidifying and expanding their platforms. During the early days, when you’re still working out the kinks of a new business, or even a new idea in an established enterprise, you may want to focus marketing on a select group of customers who will help you co-create the experience rather than broadly inviting everyone in your target audience. For instance, daily deal sites like Groupon and Living Social, are often used to promote new businesses, but they’ve also been known to be bad for business, particularly for small businesses, because they lead to an influx of new customers when the business may not be prepared to scale their operations.
In the early days, marketing and communication that educates customers is just as important as tactics that drive growth. Marketing may not have a say in business strategy, particularly in a large or complex organization. The decision of going to the market is really crucial for marketers and the co-creation aspect is something to bear in mind regarding that. And focus is almost always the difference between a business that grows profitably and one that never seems to gain any momentum.
An accountant friend of mine changed his business from “doing taxes for anyone in Phoenix” to “a CPA who does taxes and investments only for physicians” – his best customers who have special needs. The narrower you define your market so you can focus on those that you can best serve and those that can best service you, the more effective your entire business will be. This leaves people unsure of what you actually do, which weakens your marketing effectiveness.
We don’t describe everything our software does or the hundreds of benefits, we keep our focus on those three key benefits in everything we do.
However, most entrepreneurs haven’t specifically defined who their real competition is and don’t focus their messages to create clear differentiation for their buyers. Doing these tactics without a road map – your marketing strategy – will not deliver the right customers and will give you fewer sales than if you had invested the time to implement a focused marketing strategy. He also launched a successful consulting company targeted at emerging software and technology service companies, which provides him a first-hand perspective on the unique needs of the small business market. It’s hard to get someone to split their time between running the marketing side of things and their other commitments, and even harder to find the time to discuss and develop strategy with other employees. Small business owners are so busy getting through the day or the week that most never get to the thinking needed to focus their sales and marketing efforts to be more effective. Since it very important to know who is the targeted customer, basis on which steps needs to be taken to build a strong business plan for implementation purpose.
I see this often where companies are concerned about turning away customers, rather than focusing on one of two target customers. A good strategy creates simplicity and power, but it’s much harder to create and refine than it looks.
Generally any larger company whose brands you recognized and identify with have done this work with extreme discipline, by definition. Small businesses are much more tactical and time-limited than marketers in medium sized businesses. You fail to realize that these big brands have been going through years of hard work, testing and retesting, effective utilization of resources, taking baby steps, having persistent and consistent approaches and after decades of hard work they became what they now are “The big brands” and you want to achieve all of that “overnight”, which is not gonna happen, never! The study, The New Rules of Customer Engagement, questioned more than 18,000 adults worldwide to find out more about their customer service expectations and experiences. Despite the clamoring from brands and marketers for “engagement” and “relationship building,” from the customer perspective, they see customer service as more of a transaction.
To further complicate matters, that balance—and the reasons for not liking the service provided—can lie in different places depending on the sector. On the other hand, for supermarkets and other retailers, price was said to be key in driving a preference of personalization. The research found that, when compared to a similar study completed in 2012, the proportion of consumers that maintained a relationship with a provider for three years or more had dropped from 85 percent to 60 percent.
It means building systems throughout the organization and (hopefully) maintaining an up-to-date CRM system. Most importantly it means staying in touch with your customers after the sale, and communicating with customers regularly as part of your email marketing efforts.
Even if your industry is self-explanatory in many ways, investors and vendors who do not necessarily understand your perspective will need a plan before they will trust you with their business.Fortunately, there are many tried-and-true tropes that you can use when you are formulating a marketing plan that will translate between industries. I launched this blog back in 2009 to share the things I was learning during the explosion of the social web. It is recognised as one of the world's top marketing blogs according to the AdAge Power150. If your business is flawed or unstable, or the underlying value proposition fails to deliver on the brand promise, great marketing can hurt the business in two ways. This doesn’t mean you skip marketing, but it does mean you take a hard look at strategy, couple marketing with operations and prepare to quickly improve on the business plan as customers give you feedback. One way they solve this problem is by taking an iterative approach to development, investing heavily in testing and cautiously deploying marketing.
If operations and inventory levels can’t support twice the number of customers, then growth can hurt the customer experience to the point of driving new customers away and alienating existing customers.
Proactively address issues in FAQs on your site, app and on social media and use content marketing, like blogs and videos, to teach customers how to maximize their interaction. But, marketers can advise on the right time and tactics to support business goals, such as when to focus on tactics that improve retention and customer experience, rather than going after customer acquisition.
Your marketing strategy guides your company culture, your products and services mix and your pricing.
You can continue to hope that “next time that email is going to work better,” or you can develop a clear focus and a realistic strategy.

This means you have to say “no” to other potential customers who might buy from you but who are clearly bad fits for your narrow focus.
He made this change over a period of two years and tripled his business, narrowed his service offerings and strengthened his pitch.
Here’s a simple rule: If someone can’t clearly remember your category description a month after you meet them, they were never clear about what you do in the first place. Pick the top one or two and put them on your homepage and include them in your elevator pitch.
It is surely a trap, but being intentional and focused is best way to building a life and a business that thrive. It’s one of the hardest things for small business owners, especially if they are struggling. Here is my question to you – do you pick who your companies target customers already are or can you make a push to target customers you do not already have? It takes time and a little change in mindset to get out of the urgent daily grind and develop a new discipline.
Eventhough you have a small business, someday it can evolve to a bigger one if you have this patience and techniques to manage your business. Small business owners are stretched thin, so it’s very hard to stop working frenetically IN THE BUSINESS and spend time ON THE BUSINESS to make decisions that make the execution work better. The reality is that what customers want is pretty simple: They want to be heard, they want their issues understood, and they want their questions answered quickly, preferably on first contact.
That way, the same information is available to all members of your team on a moment’s notice, and a consistent approach is adopted, whether contact is made by phone, face-to-face, by email, online, chat, or by way of social media channels. Take a look at this graphic emarketer produced from the Verint research that summarizes what respondents are likely to do if a company goes that extra mile.
That’s powerful fuel for any business, but for a small local business, it’s a way to level the playing field. Here are some of the best resources available for you to anyway and why you should use them.Government SourcesResources such as those provided by the Small Business Administration are among the best resources that you can use to formulate your marketing plan.
In 2013, this shared journey continues with an added emphasis on the development and delivery of sustainable content strategies.
Adam is the managing partner of Kamber, a specialist digital marketing consultancy based in Australia. Customers will be more willing to forgive mistakes if they know to expect some minor hiccups.
This takes time to develop the discipline, but you can’t do effective marketing without it. Then narrow your category definition (or your target market focus) until you are the leader. However, I would like to mention one thing that online marketing is needed as well and the same thing goes there too. For example your friend – did he begin to announce that he was for physicians only before he only had physicians? I find that most up-and-running businesses have obvious subsets of their customer base that are clearly their best customers. Longevity of relationships varied significantly between sectors, with banking, supermarkets, grocery, and clothing earning the most loyalty. It’s not easy to compete against big brands, but when you can win at customer service, you’re on the right path. Because everyone is trying to get contracts with the government, the marketing plans that they put a stamp of approval on create many trends in the world of business plans.Government sources will also help you to cross over your business plans into the public sector if you so choose. Have a good look around and if there's something you can't find, send me an email or get in touch via Twitter. Also, actively solicit feedback, take action on that feedback and close the loop so they know you’re listening.
Each competitor type would create different comparisons, so you need to narrow it down to one or two main competitor types. At the other end of the scale, phone and broadband providers, as well as online retailers showed the most churn amongst customers. Just remember, your customers want speed, convenience, and an understanding of who they are and what they need. Government standards for business plans are usually much higher than those of private companies depending on the company that you are trying to influence.
It will also show you a few things you could stop doing in your business that would create more focus.
The business that has the tools, people, and processes in place to give them just that will be the most likely to succeed.
If you can pass muster with the government, odds are that you will not have trouble within the private sector either.Smart InsightsThis website has one of the most extensive libraries of tips on business plans and marketing that is available online. Going above and beyond to not only deliver great customer service at the time of sale, but strategically putting systems in place that allow you to stay connected to, and serving, your customer base can go a long way toward building relationships that endure.
The true value of this site is the ability to find absolutely anything that you want to at the drop of a dying. Whatever holes you have in your business plan will easily be filled when you find articles from highly reputable sources in a timely fashion.ImforzaImforza is a go-to website for online entrepreneurs that are looking for funding from outside sources. Among the resources are many business plan samples that span over a number of industries and time periods. No matter what industry you are in or how intimidating your potential investors are, Imforza will give you the ammo that you need to impress them with the right statistics. You will also learn how to format your business plan to speak directly to C level employees who do not have time to go through a great deal of work before they make a decision.
She is a contributing writer to this and other blogs and also writes email newsletter articles, press releases and web content. Prior to her writing career, Natalie worked in various fields including real estate, equipment leasing and banking.

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