Are you doing enough and are your activities focused on the things that matter?
Today, as I was driving along the highway, I saw a large white truck. Across the sidepanels in large font was the brand name. Below it was an email address. Nothing else.
This was not a Fortune 500 brand and while they may have customers locally, I sensed they simply assumed that whoever saw their name who feel compelled to email them. The truck had a stylised image of what appeared to be a tomato and another fruit.
Who are you? I have no idea.
Which begs the question, why would I want to email you?
Everyone is in the game to raise visibility. I don’t think we need more supporting arguments about why this is so important if we run a business or even if we are career-driven, ambitious individuals.
What sometimes seems missing though is the connective tissue between the efforts made to brand or raise visibility and the results they are hoping to achieve.
As individuals seeking greater visibility though, who is not plagued by “who am I to go out there and tell people how to do XYZ?” There’s more stopping us in our tracks internally than there are people out there who are against us.
But think about it this way. Is it really unsurprising to find that the top brands in the world (incidentally, all are tech brands) – Apple, Microsoft and Google – and many of the most successful companies in the world spend millions each year? Top companies are spending more than a billion.
Consider the magnitude of what’s involved for a second.
They are already hugely successful and yet, they feel compelled to continue to invest so much in advertising. Or perhaps is it because they continue to do so, that they are hugely successful?
What do you think that means for up and coming new businesses (or even established ones at that) that are trying to establish a presence, grow their market or establish new ones?
Your work is cut out for you.
One of the the toughest parts of being in business is knowing the balance you need to strive towards as you work on product development, brand awareness, talent development and marketing. It’s not enough to work on the basis that if you build a great product, customers will come. Yet, we cannot focus wholly on marketing without timely focus on tweaking our service/product.
What many small businesses fail to see is the importance of building brand awareness and what exactly is involved in that. Many are necessarily hemmed in by small budgets and understandably so. This inadvertently affects what they can spend their marketing dollars on.
But there’s so much that can be done without spending a lot. Yet, it involves a planned approach, one that is built on a framework of consistency, repetition and value. Far too many make a half hearted attempt, do not allow themselves enough room to build awareness and then fold on the initiatives because they don’t see the results they were expecting.
At times, it seems that expectations are out of proportion to the efforts taken. They are indicative of a lack of awareness of what it means to drive brand awareness and brand value.
Take a step back.
Consider the kind of information you would need before you decide to commit to a product.
What would firstly, make you consider or shortlist this, among so many others, in the first place?
What benefit does this product have that others don’t?
Why here, why now?
Do you have access to a taster – do you get the chance to test-drive the service or product?
What is the need for it? If there is no need, will I feel compelled to need it anyway?
What problem does it solve?
If you were to ask yourself these questions – and more – and then build an approach that answers these questions, you would do a better job at making sure that your marketing efforts made sense and drove value.
- It’s not enough to rely on your existing network or customers. Other players will come along, may entice your customers over, may even do a better job. What can you do now to ensure that they stay with you?
- Entry into new markets will require a more tailored approach and consistent effort. There is no one size fits all approach.
- Your work can and does speak for you but frequently, this works best among those who know you. What will you do to convince those who have not heard of you or are not convinced about your service offering? What assumptions are you working on that your target customer is simply not aware of ?
- Raising awareness is not to be done just for the sake of it. Ultimately, you want a targeted approach so that what you strive to be known for – your differentiating factor – is seen consistently across all your marketing and media channels. Check to see whether that indeed is the case.
- Test everything. It’s a crowded market and one where the better players are succeeding because they are tweaking their process, product and offering at every step of the way. They are succeeding because they are constantly finding ways to better things and because they are not running their business on a set of assumptions – they are testing them.
- Start with giving something before asking for the sale. No one wants to be pushed into buying something, certainly not now. We want the opportunity to try it first, to review it, to compare it against others of like manner. So perhaps, the best way to introduce yourself is to give them a taste of the pie and let them decide after that. Even a no that is examined will yield answers that can help you.
Over the next few posts, let’s cover the things you can do to raise your visibility….without having to spend a whole chunk of money.
Updated – here are the links to all the posts in this series:
#1 How to raise your visibility – give it time
#2 How to raise your visibility – put your stamp on it
#3 How to raise your visibility – build expertise and show value
#4 How to raise your visibility – test and tweak relentlessly.