Why One Size Should Not Fit All in Your Marketing

September 12, 2011

As a small business, your marketing budget is probably limited. But that’s no reason to put all of your eggs in one basket. No matter how much success you’ve found with a single marketing approach you can’t afford to rely solely on one type of marketing. You need diversification if you want to get the most from your marketing budget.

Four Types of Marketing

Generally, we can lump marketing methods into four different categories:

  • Targeted – Where you identify the most likely customers and focus your efforts on reaching and persuading them.
  • Permission-Based – Where your current or potential customers allow you to market to them through emails, newsletters, snail mail, etc.
  • Credibility – Where your efforts are meant to improve your reputation with the public, not necessarily to bring in more business (although that, hopefully, is the indirect result)
  • Relationship – Where you find ways to keep the customers you already have and build loyalty

Whatever marketing you are doing now probably falls into at least one of these categories, but if you’re not using all four types simultaneously you’re missing out on opportunities.

Why You Need All Four

All four marketing methods work together to increase new customers, keep current ones, and increase spending from both groups. When you have all three of these things occurring at one time in your small business then your marketing is truly successful.

Think of it this way. Let’s say you’ve invested all of your marketing efforts into targeting potential new customers and bringing them to your business. Without relationship marketing, you are likely to lose those customers down the road to your competition because they won’t be loyal to you. Plus, you could be missing out on the perks of relationship marketing, such as customer referrals. If you don’t have permission-based marketing, you won’t have a convenient way of letting customers know about new products and services, company news, or special offers that might increase their spending. Finally, if you don’t have some way of convincing them you are credible then the results of your targeted marketing won’t be as good as they could be.

As you can see from this example, all four marketing methods are needed to create a complete marketing approach that will do wonders for your business.

Marketing Example

To give you an idea of how you can create a marketing plan that includes all four elements, here’s an example.

For credibility marketing, gather as many customer testimonials as possible. Get permission from your customers to use them in your advertising. Place the testimonials and your contact information on billboards, in bus stops, in public bathrooms, on your ad in the Yellow Pages, on your company website, on your business cards, in your press releases, on your letterhead, etc. These testimonials give your business credibility.

For targeted marketing, figure out who is most likely to use your services then send them a deal so good they won’t be able to refuse. Discounts, free offers, and similar strategies are proven winners. Try to find a unique way to reach your targeted audience. Snail mail is notoriously unsuccessful. Flyers distributed in places where you audience would congregate might be one answer.

For relationship marketing, consider offering a loyalty program. These are very popular with customers. They work by giving the customer something for free or some type of discount after so many visits, purchases, etc. These programs keep customers coming back, prevent them from going to a competitor, and show them you care about their business.

Finally, make sure every customer takes a survey that asks for their email address. Then use that email address to send them weekly updates on deals or events.

And there you have it – one way to incorporate all four types of marketing into one plan. Try it and you’ll see that marketing diversity is the way to go.

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