Years ago, an article titled, “Marketing Myopia” appeared in the Harvard Business Review that really nailed a fairly common mistake marketers make. The basic principle, as described below, is still completely relevant – perhaps even more so, than when it first appeared.
Way back when, the railroad companies thought they were in the railroading business. Then along came airplanes and the railroad companies began to shrink in size and influence. Some even went out of business. Why? Because they had defined their businesses too narrowly.
They didn’t realized they were actually in the transportation business, not just the railroading business. If they had known what business they were really in, they would have jumped on the burgeoning airline business by incorporating an airline division into their companies.
Instead, they had a case of marketing myopia or near-sightedness.
On the other hand, you can also define your business too widely. For example, a company could think it was in the “tool business” – a wide definition, when in fact it was really in the “quality hand tools” business – a much narrower, but more exact, definition.
Sometimes, by just stepping back and viewing your business in a new light or from a new perspective, and getting a more precise definition for your business, you can see opportunities that you might have missed before.
A Simple Marketing Checklist To Help You Generate More Leads
Use this checklist to help you put together a marketing “platform” with which to create a very effective marketing strategy that can bring in more qualified leads and customers or clients.
1.) Keeping in mind the above, “What business are we really in?”
2.) What do we actually produce or provide?
3.) Who are our main competitors, and what do we really know about them. Do we need to do more research in this area?
4.) What’s the main customer- or client-oriented BENEFIT we provide people through our goods or services that is also our Unique Value Proposition and Key Differentiation Point? We can’t just be another “me-too” company, so how do we differentiate ourselves from the competition in a positive manner?
5.) Who is our target market? How do we define that market – In other words, what common characteristics do the individuals or companies in that market share? What’s our customer profile?
6.) What do we really know about these people or businesses? Do we need to do more research in that area?
7.) What’s the best way or methods of reaching these individuals with our message?
8.) What is our message? What do we want to tell them when we reach them? What do we want them to know? What are we offering them that will cause them to respond positively to our message?
9.) How will we know if we have in fact reached them with our message? How do we measure response? How will they contact us?
Crafting a Mission Statement
If you know what business you are really in, you ought to be able to craft a mission statement or purpose statement that includes the following, but not necessarily in this order:
– Who or what are we?
– What do we do, produce or provide?
– What’s the main client- or customer-oriented benefit we provide people – our Unique Value Proposition and Key Differentiation Point?
– Who do we do all this for – who do we have or want for customers? (target market)
Written by Bob Nelson
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