Marketing: Cutting Through the Confusion

Simple Marketing Tips That Improve Outcomes

For a lot of people Marketing is a mystery. Here are some tips I learned over the course of my career to help clarify it for you.

It is all about the customer. The biggest mistake that I see is people and companies talking to their customers about themselves rather than talking about the customer. I see it everywhere: in person, on the web, in social media, in promotional materials. Everybody is talking about themselves. This is the biggest mistake you can make. You want to talk about them, about what they want, about what their needs are. Only when you really listen to them can you talk about you and how you can help solve their problems.

Focus on your target market. Your target market is who you should be selling to. When I first started my business, I figured that everyone who had a pulse was my target market. It took me a few years to figure out that was not true. Without a defined target market you are marketing to people who don’t need your product. It is extremely important to figure out who you are selling to. You will have a much better success rate when you narrow down your target market.

Play to your strengths. Figure out what your strengths are by talking to your customers and associates. They will give good feedback and let you know what your strengths are. Dig deep – keep asking why. Get to some words that you can use in your marketing materials that really describe you. Once you have clarity on your strengths, stick to them and use them everywhere.


Understand your brand positioning. There are 3 elements in brand positioning: Quality, Service and Price. You can apply 2 but not all 3. Companies position themselves on one or two of these. This relates to who your target market is and what your strengths are. Figure out which one or 2 you want to focus on and stick to it. Talk about it all the time. Be consistent in your promotional materials.

You don’t need a huge budget. There are lots of tools in the marketing toolbox: email, social media, direct mail, PR, telemarketing, cold calling, advertising, and more. Pick a couple of things and do it. Don’t try to do everything. If you don’t know how to do it, hire somebody. There’s no point in trying to figure out how to be an expert in something you don’t know how to do. It will wind up costing more money in the long run because you have to figure it out, learn how to do it, and make mistakes. Hire someone who knows what they are doing.

Networking works. Networking is an effective and relatively low budget form of marketing. I built my business on networking. I get involved and I join something: a committee, or a board. These provide great opportunities to build relationships, which is what it is all about. Just sitting next to someone at a lunch is not going to bring you business. Get to know people by getting involved. Chambers, BNI, NJAWBO, nonprofits, Rotaries, and religious organizations all provide opportunities to get involved and build relationships.

Focus on relationships when networking. When I go to a networking meeting and I’m there by myself, I approach a person standing alone and I compliment them - what a nice tie, scarf, etc. The next thing you know they are talking about who gave it to them, about their family and themselves. I’m building a relationship plain and simple. Make it about them and they will remember you.

Build a database. Don’t shove the business cards you get in a drawer. Take all those cards from networking and build a database. It can be as simple as an excel spreadsheet or you can adopt a CRM platform. Name, company name, email and phone are sufficient. Use it to send emails or make phone calls. Follow-up with interesting and valuable information for the recipient.

Two of my favorite marketing tools. A blog is the gift that keeps on giving: put it up on your website, use it in email and post it on social media. Direct mail has the best return rates ever because it stands out. It is pricier to execute but it has a good return if you do it right. Make sure it looks good, but the message is the most important part.

I welcome the opportunity to discuss how these best practices can be applied to help your business. Contact me.