The ABCs of marketing

For many CEOs marketing can seem complicated, so these ABCs of marketing might be helpful. Based on my 35-plus years of experience, they are essential to obtaining market prominence, building a successful brand and establishing market leadership.
Your marketplace needs to know that your company’s products and services offer a viable solution to answer its needs.
Any sales professional knows that the time spent prospecting is greatly reduced when a prospect is familiar with a company and its offerings.
If sales are your only marketing vehicle, the sales team is working doubly hard, as they educate and build a relationship between the prospect and the company’s brand before engaging in a sale.
The same is true if you have no sales team or no one is aggressively pushing your message out to prospective customers. When sales and marketing are in sync, your sales results are exponential.
About six months ago I ran across an interesting presentation by Matt Dixon, co-author of the book, “The Challenger Sale.” What grabbed my attention was that 57 percent of prospects gather information about products and services before the first contact with a potential vendor.
They do most research online and tap their social media relationships for referrals. If your company isn’t visible online and your prospects aren’t finding the right information to help them pre-select you, opportunities are being lost.
Branding began in 2000 B.C. in Egypt with Neolithic man branding his cattle to indicate ownership. Even in those days, a brand with a reputation for having superior cattle commanded a better price.
Brand development is the uncovering of a company’s brand distinction, the development of a brand strategy and promise that drives the organization to greatness, thereby creating market leadership.
Top brands typically claim a 10 percent price premium. Known brands rise above the marketplace clutter of “me too” products and services with a clear and compelling reason for brand preference. Plus, the best people want to work for the best brands.
Preferred brands enjoy a higher customer loyalty — there is as much as a 90 percent cost reduction when selling to an existing customer versus acquiring a new one.
When companies develop a strong brand, they create a brand value, resulting in 33 to 50 percent greater overall business value.
To take the lead in the market or even just be a strong contender, companies need a strategy for how to best compete.
It is no different than the Buckeyes or any other top team who takes the field. They study the competing team and know its player’s strengths and weaknesses. They have a plan to win, and as they encounter obstacles, they adjust their strategy.
Your business needs a competitive strategy, too.
Just thought I’d toss in a D. Don’t handicap your company by not investing enough in making your products and services known, defining your unique brand and developing a market-leading strategy.

Market leaders value and invest in marketing. And with a 33 to 50 percent greater business value, it certainly makes sense.