Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Is Your Marketing Missing Its Punch?

It’s common-place for business owners and managers of small and medium size businesses to ignore, avoid or simply not understand the need to create a repeatable marketing engine. Truth be told though, all businesses are doing some kind of marketing.  

You see, all businesses are alike.  We all are in the business of attracting, retaining and getting customers to buy more of our product or service. Some just do it better and more purposely than others.
So wouldn’t it be nice to confidently know just how to attract more customers, retain them longer, and to get them to buy more frequently from you? Of course it would!
Your USP and Guarantee
Two key fundamental elements of your marketing strategy need to be developed and receive ongoing focus in order to have a productive and predictable marketing system in your business. 
A really solid marketing system is grounded on a business’ Unique Selling Proposition (USP) and a Guarantee. We’ve preached repeatedly at our seminars that your marketing and selling must line up with how your prospects decide to buy. 
Study after study reveals that all purchasing decisions are driven by an 80/20 Rule; where 80% of the decision hinges on emotion and only 20% (and often less) on logic.  With that understood, having an outstanding USP and a solid Guarantee contribute significantly to the emotional side of the decision. 
Your prospects and customers not only “want” something of value, they also “want to avoid” making a bad decision. Your USP addresses the “want” (and it has got to be better than your competitors) while your Guarantee targets what customers “want to avoid” by reducing risk.
Unique Selling Proposition
As you think about your USP, it needs to satisfy four key characteristics:
1.         Obviously, it needs to be truly unique.
2.         It needs to be relevant and exciting to your target market.
3.         It needs to leave a lasting impression and get people talking.
4.         It can’t be easily copied, or if it is, it will be an obvious rip-off on the part of the offending business.
Here are some really short examples of USP’s -- some that meet the criteria and some that fall short:
¨ We have a friendly staff!  (Even the IRS says that.  This one misses the target.)
¨ Our shop is clean and tidy! (I suppose, but that’s probably not going to get me to drive across town to see you for the first time.
¨ We have a pick-up and delivery service to and from your business or home. (YUP… now THIS one piques my interest!)
¨ We have a range of sizes in stock.  (I should hope so!  Still shy of the mark.)
¨ We have a unique 8-Step program to ensure our staff precisely meets your needs. (Now… “Isn’t that interesting?!” Someone really interested in meeting my needs.  This one is good too.)
The Guarantee
The Guarantee centers on the notion of risk or post-purchase remorse.  Lots of business owners run away from the Guarantee believing it to be too expensive, risky for them, caddy and unnecessary.  Trust me…it is necessary and because you get to write it, you are in control of the risk and caddiness”.  Here are four big criteria for developing your Guarantee:
1. Be very specific.  Vague and complicated Guarantees will leave your prospect and customer with exactly the opposite feeling you want them to have. It leads to mistrust rather than trust.
2. Address the main frustrations and fears of the prospect and customer that they have with your industry.
3. Be complete…“either this happens or we’ll do this!”
4. Don’t be bashful.  Be impressive with your Guarantee.
If you want to add PUNCH and Predictability to your marketing efforts, start with these two fundamentals.  

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