Focus on Marketing Fundamentals

It’s always a smart decision to periodically review the fundamentals of your marketing strategy. Focusing on marketing fundamentals makes especially good sense in today’s challenging economic climate when every organization is striving to do more with less. By answering three basic questions you can ensure that your organization is poised for growth in the months and years ahead.

1. First Place

How do you position yourself in first place?

What is it about your product or service that makes it stand alone in the marketplace? Is it the most effective, efficient, or economical? Is it the only one of its kind? Was it the first? Can you prove it’s the best?

Brainstorm with key stakeholders from all departments in your company to establish, precisely, what sets you apart. Carefully analyze your competition to determine what they’re using to differentiate themselves. Then formulate a value proposition that clearly articulates the benefits that your brand, company, or product offers — and that your competitors don’t. Educate your sales force, and especially your employees, to make sure everyone within your organization understands — and communicates — your competitive advantage.

2. First Words

What are the first words your clients need to hear?

Your key marketing messages should come through in all of your communications — loud and clear. Key messages arise directly from your value proposition and should call attention to the key differentiators that set your company apart. Key messages should be clear, concise, and credible. They should make it easy for your customers to understand precisely what you’re trying to communicate, and they should be targeted to specific market segments.

Once you have formulated your key messages, use them frequently and consistently across all marketing channels — your website, your print and digital advertising, your marketing campaigns, your print collateral, your sales presentations, your industry articles and press releases. And don’t overlook social media. Key messages, used judiciously, can be appropriate on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. Test your messages and don’t be afraid to fine-tune as necessary. If they don’t elicit a response — a click-through, a call for more information, a conversation, an order for purchase — don’t hesitate to re-write and re-test until you create a formula that works. And don’t be afraid to enlist the help of a professional as needed.

3. First Impressions

How do you make a consistently positive first impression?

Before your audience begins to read your marketing materials — whether digital or print — entice them visually. Colors, fonts, and symbols can immediately signal a familiar brand. Your “look” should be instantly recognizable, consistently positive, competitively distinct.

To achieve a distinctive look, create and implement a visual system — a set of standards that govern logo usage, typography, imagery, layout, and formats across all media.

An effective visual system is the cornerstone of your branding efforts. It’s the calling card that opens the door, establishes a set of expectations, and differentiates you from competitors and possible imitators.

Lasting Value

Once your competitive advantage is clearly defined, your key messages have been tested and implemented, and your visual system is developed and deployed, you’ll be poised for success. By closely examining and fine-tuning each of these fundamentals, you’ll make sure your brand, company, product, or service will benefit from the lasting value that keeping an eye on the basics can provide.