Making a (long-term) splash in your market

July 11, 2012

So often we jump in the deep end and then we’re left just splashing around. Entering a new market with a splash is still a good thing, but you don’t want to sink once the water has settled. There is a phrase we all know about ‘just keeping your head above water’.  You could settle for that, but I imagine you want to do much better…

What you need, as the owner of a business, is a coherent, well thought out plan that communicates your key messages, as effectively and efficiently as possible to your target audience.

There is no secret formula, or one flashy idea that will get you noticed and achieve lasting results. The best results come from presenting your brand voice in regular, consistent communications, which encourage positive word of mouth and keep you front of mind with your market. A copywriting or marketing professional can work with you to build a coherent strategy that will achieve maximum impact for your business and will help to keep all of your messages professionally consistent.

Whether or not you choose to engage with a professional though, there are things that you can do to start planning your own Marketing Communications strategy that will set you apart in your market. Here are a few things to consider:

1. Establishing your target audience

This seems like an obvious point; surely you know who your target market is if you’ve acquired this business? However, so many people miss or skim over this vital step. Consider not only who currently buys your product/service, but also who could buy it? What other uses or benefits does it have?

Then, look at the evidence. Find as much data as you can, and if this doesn’t exist yet, start collecting some. What you want to determine is who your most profitable customers are, because that’s who you want to find more of. Marketing and customer acquisition carries a cost, in terms of time, resources and often money, so you want the most value from those you do acquire; the best possible return on your investment.

Be as specific as you can and really drill down to the detail. Some people find it helpful at this stage to use imagery, arriving at a picture of their ideal customer with all the socio demographic details defined. Involve your team in this brainstorming. It’s a fun exercise and will likely turn up more creative results than one person can generate on their own.

2. Working out your key messages

When you’ve done the first step of defining your ideal customer, this part becomes easy. To work out your key sales messages, all you need to do is consider the burning questions of your target market…

  • What is their primary need, relating to your product or service?
  • Which of their challenges or problems does your product or service solve?
  • What would be their barriers, right now, to purchasing your product or service?
  • What reassurances do they need, or questions must they have answered before they can purchase your product or service?

The answers to these questions will provide the basis of your key messages. Your aim is to acknowledge the need or challenge that your customer is facing, then answer the questions and provide the reassurances that currently form their barriers for engaging with you.

3. Figuring out the channels to make it all happen
Once you’ve worked out your target audience and the messages that you want to share with them, you need to work out the best way to reach them. This planning comes back to thinking about your target market again…

  • Where does your target market reside and spend their time?
  • Where do they get their information?
  • Who do they talk to and trust?

With the advent of new media and technology, social networks and the like, the channels that businesses have available are more varied and numerous than ever before. Consider PR, traditional advertising, email marketing, social media marketing, viral and guerilla marketing, or even whether a launch event could be the best way to start your new campaign…

Most likely, you can successfully utilise a number of different channels and, for the best results, your messaging should remain consistent, but with varied content across different channels, over time.

These steps provide the starting point for planning your Marketing Communications. With a coordinated strategy, your new business will be sure to make a splash that continues to achieve positive results long-term.

This article was supplied by Christina Wedgwood: Director, Writer and Content Strategist at Intelligent Ink. Phone: 09 629 4213 or email: Christina@intelligentink.co.nz