I don’t have all the answers when it comes to marketing and since the world of business and promoting is always changing, I like to do what I can to keep up. With this in mind, I attended a workshop recently about Marketing Strategy. I learnt a new way to look at planning marketing, which is the Marketing Triangle. It’s a simple way of thinking about what sort of marketing materials and approach you need – without just launching into an expensive trial and error campaign – so I’m going to share it with you here.
The Marketing Triangle is made up of three Ms that you need to work on sequentially:
1. Marketing Research – first spend some time thinking about who needs what you’re selling and who your ideal clients are. What do they want to buy? What problems are they struggling with, that your service can solve for them? What are their beliefs and values – what drives them? How many potential clients are there for what you do? Are there enough of them to allow you to make a living from working with them? Where are they – local, national or international?
Build up a really clear picture of your ideal clients. If you don’t know enough about what makes these people tick – and why they will buy from you – you need to do more research in order to really get to know them.
While you’re doing your research, if you find that there isn’t a big enough market for what you’re selling, you will need to reconsider your services. Take the time to do plenty of market research so that you can avoid falling into any expensive pitfalls down the line.
2. Messages – the next stage is to think about what your potential clients want to hear from you. What do you want to tell them about your services and how you can help clients to overcome their issues? What features of your services matter the most to your clients? What benefits do you need to tell them about? Remember that a list of features is more useful if you’re selling a product. When you’re promoting a service, the benefits that you can deliver to your clients are far more important. Clients will compare your benefits to those of your competitors when they’re deciding who to work with. Look at the world from your clients’ point of view, in order to craft messages that will attract them to your business.
3. Methods – it’s really important that you spend plenty of time on the first two parts of the Marketing Triangle, before you even think about the third part – the Methods you can use to promote your business. Jumping into Methods before doing your Market Research and working out your Messages is an expensive trial and error way of doing marketing. For this part of the triangle, think about how you can get your messages out to your ideal clients – when you know your message and you know a lot about who your ideal clients are, it’s much easier to aim the best messages directly to where your prospects will see them. Think about where your ideal clients hang out. Which networking meetings do they go to? Where do they go for help and advice? What sort of websites do they visit? Who are the influencers that they listen to?
When you’ve spent time working your way around the Marketing Triangle, you can put your Messages into your Methods and hopefully bring in plenty of new clients! If it doesn’t quite work, go back to the start again and refine your Marketing Research. Then check that you’ve got your Messages right. If they’re OK, look at the Methods that you’re using. Keep going around the triangle in this order, every time that you want to launch a new service, move into a new market or try out a different marketing method. Time spent planning and researching your marketing will save you a lot of money and bring you a lot more business.
And a final note, if you run workshops to promote your business. When I arrived at this recent Marketing Strategy workshop I was asked by the trainer what I did. I told her that I was a Marketing Consultant and all the colour drained from her face! If you run workshops, always look at who has booked a place on your course to avoid any surprises.