A Crash Course in Marketing
I recently finish reading “A Crash Course in Marketing” by David H. Bangs and Andi Anxman. Although it was written a few years ago and many of the concepts of eCommerce were out dated, there were really good marketing ideas presented that made me reflect on what I am (and am not) doing with my businesses at this point.
The book covered a lot of ground: from Setting Market Goals to Learning About Your Market to Interacting with Your Customers. As I read the book, I really felt guilty and almost depressed that I’m not doing more for my businesses. Goals, goals, goals – if I don’t write down what I want and need to accomplish, I will never achieve the highest levels of success with any of my businesses.
The authors talk about the 4 P’s of marketing: Product, Place, Price and Promotion. They take it a few steps further than that though. They also include these factors:
- Perception: how your products are perceived by you target market may be more important than any other single factor in marketing. Finding out what your market really thinks about your product is crucial; what you think doesn’t really matter if your target audience doesn’t like it.
- Positioning: how can you position your product or service in the minds of the consumers you are trying to reach? How does what you offer differ from your competitors? Do you even know who your real competitors are?
- Potential: a sure way to lose money is to plunge ahead and market a product without making sure there’s demand in the market. Don’t waist effort on duds. As a small business owner, you don’t have the luxury or financial means to toss a product out there hoping people will all of a sudden want it.
- Professional help: there’s a really good reason why smart business owners invest in expert advice from people that have been there and done that. Think of professional help as an investment in future profits.
- Planning: planning beats hoping and wishing for business success. You need two plans – a business plan and a marketing plan. The business plan helps identify broad opportunities. The marketing plan is the “plan of attack”, putting the goals in motion.
- Product Knowledge: If you don’t know your product (or service), how do you plan to sell it? I really liked this point because far too many times, clients want to sell what’s “hot” at that moment. So does everyone else! In order to avoid multiple learning curves, do something you have some knowledge about. Good presentations move product quickly. If you can’t tell a consumer why your product is good from them, why would they ever buy from you?
- Prioritizing: Marketing can be so overwhelming and complex. Setting priorities is so crucial to the success of your start-up business. You have to set priorities to assure progress toward a certain goal or objective. Some things have to be done before others: market (keyword) research, finding suppliers, setting up the business entity – things like this definitely come before the actual site will be live for all to see. Our main job as business owners is to make sure the important jobs are done first. For this reason, we set goals with timelines on when we want things done.
There were other things talked about but those are some that stuck out to me. As many of my clients have mentioned at one time or another, the feeling overwhelment happens to all of us. The concept of “Small Success leads to Big Success”, if believed in, will really take you to levels you never thought you could get. It’s because of that overwhelming feeling that I encourage clients to write down all the small things that are leading towards their big success. They can then go back and review the progress they’ve made, and their confidence and self-motivation will stay strong.
Probably the best thing I read in the whole book, the information I valued most, was the idea that marketing is an ongoing endeavor. There are always new things to try, experiments to test, and the results can be amazing. The future is bright as we implement what we learn.
10 Replies to “A Crash Course in Marketing”
I read a book about mailorder many years ago, everything you’ve touch on in the artical writen is very similar, know your product, get the marketing right, sort out the sales copy.
It’s good to be reminded how it should be done.
The 7th P is the hardest one for me. Prioritiziing, oh boy! I can do it on paper, but then I’m so easily distracted.
Great article, and I am right there with Jan on going off in too many directions with still learning and trying to run business too. I really think Prioritizing is very important, however there are many times when you have a few things that are equally important, so you have to figure out the best solution for each situation. If you have 3 things you consider top priority, ask yourself which one really has to be done first. Sometimes you may find that the one which is 3rd on the list is really your first priority because the others can not be done until #3 is done first; which actually moves it to #1 and then figure out will #2 work if #3 is not done first. Then there are times when #1, 2, & 3 are really equally top priority and each will work without the other being done first; in this case just strive to finish all three in the order you have them. Even if you do not finish as much as you plan; Small Accomplishments add up to a large end result and you Will eventually get there. It takes , time, & perseverance.
I am a newcomer, so this is all so new to me. Setting goals is not my stronghold, I just want to get out and get started. These are good reminders, as I have been reminded in the past by my mentor, but I guess I’m stubborn. Writing our thoughts down, thinking of our competitors, our target audience, these are very good ideas, but very tedious when you are working hard to get it all together and yes, overwhelmed.
Thank you for the great reminders!
In a short 3 months time I have implemented these marketing strategies in the selling of my CD and have had some small successes. So now I know my bigger successes will come as I continue on with planning and prioritizing; for I agree with you, Nate, that marketing is an ongoing endeavor.
The hardest part for me is the positioning and perception. I think it is so true what was said about perception…”what you think doesnâ€™t really matter if your target audience doesnâ€™t like it.” What a great challenge to build up to, to really know the target audience and what they want! Great info! Thanks!
A lot to think about all at once, and your “small success leads to big success” is helpful in not becoming overwhelmed.
How does one find out Perception when just getting going?
I think prioritizing is of major importance as well, so biting off a little at a time while following “the bigger picture” crucial. Sometimes I feel like I’m going off in too many directions.
Lots to be learning!
Nice points made. Perception is probably the most difficult hurdle to 1) overcome if negative; and 2) maintain if positive. I think you touched on it a bit but a nice, well-researched plan and proper execution is crucial to success. Thanks for the refresher on the info.
Really good thoughts. Sometimes I don’t sit down and just set goals and plans because it seems there’s so much to do, I fell compelled to “do” something and charge ahead when I should really pause and get a plan of attack first.
With only so many hours in the day, it is overwhelming to try and accomplish tasks, and that sometimes seems more important than planning. But of course without the planning, there’s no way to know if all the racing around “doing” will really accomplish anything.
Good lessons to be learned here!