This evening I attended a business function and one of the guest speakers was a renowned author, consultant and professor specializing in high-tech marketing named Jakki Mohr. She had 15 minutes to educate the audience on marketing, arguably a topic that can rarely be addressed in hours let alone 15 minutes. I was surprised she was able to really break down marketing into three key elements, all of which are required to achieve business success, in her “15 minutes of fame.”
Mohr noted that most businesspeople think of marketing only in the advertising sense, or the desired outcome, but often neglect the foundation that begins well before the latter stages. As an entrepreneur many times over, I can attest to the importance of them firsthand and will try to share the breakdown below.
1. Define And Know Your Customer
Although this is known by most, Jakki went so far as to challenge businesses to truly isolate who it is they are marketing to, and ignore the others despite temptation. She noted a common mistake businesses make is the fear to leave money on the table and desire to serve and sell to everyone – a fatal mistake in her words. This rings true and many businesses would be better served identifying their best customer, then becoming experts in identifying and solving those people’s problems and establishing thought leadership, relationships, and brand.
2. Identify Your Value Proposition
The only way someone is going to purchase your product or service is if it delivers value to them, and you can articulate what that value is. Mohr noted that most the entrepreneurs in the room were selling to other businesses and there are only two value propositions they will make a purchase decision on, saving money or making more money. If you cannot clearly describe and ideally prove how you are doing one or the other, or both, then you are wasting your time and money in advertising. Mohr’s advice to businesses was before you spend a dime on advertising, make sure you have #1 and #2 clearly defined.
Execution is quite simply delivering on the promises of #1 and #2. If you establish yourself as the leader in customer service, but you partner with companies that provide poor service, you are not delivering on the promises you’re brand messaging are stating. As such, this can diminish your brand and credibility and lead to wasted investment and lost business.
Jakki went on to note that after these first three key elements of marketing are executed, the practice of measuring the effectiveness of your marketing becomes very important. You need to determine what factors drive your business and measure whether your marketing efforts meet your objectives. She joked that some of her students told her they decided to go into marketing because they were bad with numbers and she just shook her head – the numbers are very important so make sure you have a plan, goals, and way to measure how you are performing and spending your hard-earned money.
The last point of the evening was that most businesses should plan to invest in marketing, and it should be a relative percentage of their budget to what they spend in building their product or service. There are no exact ratios and the best advice is to research other companies and find industry averages with businesses similar to yours to determine if you’re investing the proper amount.