A good marketing strategy focuses on three main areas while utilizing an important ability we all need to exercise a little more often – empathy. Why empathy you ask? In order to help others including potential customers, you the business owner need to be able to put yourself in your customers’ shoes and recognize their needs and how your business goals will fulfill those needs. Empathy involves awareness of your customer’s feelings and if you are aware, you will likely be the one that customers consistently choose to do business with.
1. Review purpose and goals
A marketing strategy should reflect your business’ purpose and outline goals to expedite that purpose. Your purpose is why your business exists. Was there a specific passion you possess and know you can serve others by channeling that passion into a product or service? Was there a need you had and realized your business could be the answer for others’ same needs? At the end of the day, your marketing strategy will reach new clientele looking for the answers you will provide.
Your goals will outline your expectations for what customers will do once they’ve purchased your product or service. For example, car dealerships that not only sell cars, but also service them have this concept down. What better way to continue servicing customers and keep generating revenue from them then to establish a relationship by selling them a great car that they love and want to continue taking care of through oil changes, general maintenance and repairs. Who will do that? Well, the same place that sold them the car and established a trusting, loyal relationship right off the bat! Keep in mind, car ownership is a blessing and a curse because cars always require money to keep them running, a dealership that exercises empathy to this ongoing necessity and provides discounts for their loyal customers will win every time.
2. Focus on a niche
Defining who will benefit from your business purpose and goals will help identify characteristics of customers to target in your marketing. By utilizing empathy and thinking about your customer’s feelings and next steps, you will anticipate how those customers’ needs may grow and what you’ll do to continue serving them. By not focusing on everyone, but staying focused on a select niche, your focus stays where it needs to be – your customer. You can’t service everyone and you shouldn’t try to, that’s a near impossible task. Stay focused on the audience you choose. If it doesn’t work, you’ve likely chosen the wrong audience.
3. Stand out from the competition
Once you determined what your purpose is, your goals to execute that purpose and who your target audience is for your marketing strategy then it’s time to figure out what makes you different than anyone else offering a similar product or service. It’s unlikely that what you offer is the only one of its kind, unless you are selling a self-loading washer and dryer (now that I would be interested in owning). So, you need to explore ways you can stand out from the competition.
What is the competition offering that you can do better or with more incentives? Can you offer a better price point? Or are you able to provide a continuity of services that enables the customer to keep coming back? Or could it be as simple as you have a better understanding of your customer’s needs and your marketing highlights that need so that customers who didn’t even realize they needed you are touched by what you offer? You accomplish that last questions by tapping into that empathy skill yet again.
Empathy is a valued skill to be sure and being able to use it in your personal life and business world helps to empower people. More importantly, it can help you establish loyal relationships and will only enhance your marketing strategy outcomes.
Calisa Fitzpatrick - Vice President