Get Strategic With Your Marketing
How you market yourself demonstrates to your prospects that you are worthy of being their marketing resource. And you DO want to be their marketing support team. There is not a single client or prospect out there today who has a promotional product problem. But they do have marketing problems. Become a problem solver and you make yourself part of their team. Here's the deal: Problem solvers ALWAYS make money.
So, how do the pros do it? What are some examples of strategic marketing? Some companies market themselves as the market leader, while others may be the challenger. Remember the age-old Hertz/Avis competition? Avis took the market challenger position -- "We're Number Two, We Try Harder." Another marketing strategy could be your price positioning. Choose the low end carefully. The race to the bottom is strewn with losers. Unless you have some very lean process advantage, it is hard to win to see another day if you are claiming "lowest prices always." Speaking of processes, if you can be flexible enough to always create ways to make ordering from you simple and flow easily within your clients' processes, you may have discovered a marketing strategy that could work for you.
How about finding a niche and getting really, really good at it? Niche marketing refers to finding a segment of the general market and then developing solutions for the needs of that segment. Why niche? One way to look at it is who makes more money -- the general practitioner or the specialist. If you can focus on a clearly defined niche, you can not only get very good at it, you can develop a reputation that carries a premium price and more referrals.
An industry can be a niche. You could become the expert at health care, or education, or transportation, or financial services. If you find an industry that you love, you can learn it, study it, attend their trade shows, speak at their events, subscribe to their trade publications. By doing so, you will be able to identify the pain points of clients and a whole industry full of prospects. You can become known as the expert and the promotion and marketing guru to that audience.
You might turn your own passions into a niche and then find riches in niches. Love to golf? Why not specialize in putting together golf tournaments and golf outings? Whatever your hobby or interest, you can become the expert in equestrian promotions, or the go-to person for promoting 5Ks and other running events. Travel, poker, auto racing, basketball, tennis -- what activities do you love? How can you make a living with your passion? You have thousands of fun ideas that can enhance any affinity group. Become the expert.
We often advertise how we have nearly a million products that can carry an imprint. Why try to be okay at all of them when you could pick a product category and become the expert at apparel, or writing instruments, or awards. The premium incentive industry is double the size of the promotional products industry and there is room for more experts.
Becoming an expert by focusing could also mean creating a niche among the types of buyers that you specialize in. Take a look at your best clients and determine what your best client might look like. You could niche into buyers by gender, age, C-Level, admins or even alma maters.
Learn to become a marketer. This means having a vision of what success will look like and who you can best serve. It will mean making a plan. Have the discipline to make a plan and dig into what your strengths, weaknesses, threats and opportunities are. Be resolute in working your plan. Learn to say NO to anything that keeps you from your ultimate destination. Be willing to pass up the easy in order to stay on the path that will get you to where you want to go. Remember: Your "Stop Doing List" is more important than your "To-Do" List.