What is marketing? Selling a product to people who had not thought of buying it until the received the offer. Sometimes the purpose of marketing is to create the need for that product.
Good marketing can be very adplexity discount. Back in 1987, an Italian TV programme launched an imaginary product Cacao Meravigliao, repetition, a catchy tune, a colourful display and the fact that it was on the national television, convinced thousands of people of their need to buy the product.
Any product, regardless of how good it is, or how well established the brand may seem, needs marketing. Look around you and you’ll see advertisements all over the place. That’s marketing. Your letterbox at home gets plenty of flyers and other unsolicited mail, that’s marketing. Those emails in your inbox trying to sell you odd things, that’s marketing too.
Of course, some of them are just spam. A friend of mine, who is a keen gardener, told me that a weed is a flower in the wrong place. The same can be said about spam: an offer sent to wrong audience.
I have been lucky enough to work on Subscriptions Marketing for over 7 years in a very good B2B company and over that time I have worked with very good people and have also developed campaigns, templates and procedural schedules from scratch, and I am pleased to say that my opening and unsubscribe rates of my marketing campaigns is very low, which means, my prospects don’t see may mails as spam/junk.
I can also boast of having learned everything I know by doing. I have no degree or diploma in Marketing. I do hold a degree in Journalism though which, with all due respect to marketing experts, it is just as relevant: we all want to engage with our audience.
I could add gravitas to my words by name dropping the companies I have worked for, but that would look a bit pompous, still if you are really curious, check my LinkedIn profile.
Working with capable people is a very good way to learn, but if you are a one-man(woman) band, you can still take advantage of the experience of people like me. There are many of us in Cyberspace, happy to share our experiences with you all. I will list some of my favourite places later on. Google (or any other search engine) is our best friend.
I know I am stating the obvious here, but I want to be methodical and not to assume anything, and when it comes to marketing the two more important things to start with are: a product/service and a list of prospects.
Let’s start with the product/service. How well do you know it? It is important, very important, that you know it inside out. If you don’t, find out who does and learn everything about it. Especially who is the intended end user and use that information to build a comprehensive Profile of the Perfect Customer.
What is a Customer Profile?
Each product and service has its own ideal customer. If your product is a book on gardening, your perfect customer profile will have basic characteristics such as has a garden, shows interest in gardening magazines and buys gardening products regularly.
Make a list of the characteristics of your Customer’s Profile and that will put you in the right direction to find your prospects.
Because I am not writing this for the well-established company, I am going to discard the buying/renting lists option, for one simple reason: the amount of research in to each name in the list could delay the campaign and the results could be very disappointing until you get that list really up to scratch.
My favourite approach is to collect my own prospects directly. New technologies are facilitating this approach more and more, not just with the Internet, but also with online social and professional networks. Offer free articles in your website to those who register, search professional bodies, join interest groups, etc.