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Moving Yourself And Your Target Market Up The Learning Curve Is What Real Marketing Is All About

Mar 20, 2008
Whether you are an entrepreneur or you work within a large organization, marketing is a life-skill essential to your survival. Muzzling the mean, menacing marketing (and sales) monster can be a daunting task . . . but a task that must be dealt with in every business on a daily basis.

Fail Marketing 101 and no matter how passionate you are about your business model, you will sputter and spin out in time.

First, you need to assess the reality of your own marketing and sales situation. You may need some help in order to make this assessment brutally honest -which it needs to be.

Here is the reality of the situation: many professionals and business owners/managers find themselves at the bottom of the Marketing Learning Curve. This problem is exacerbated by the fact that their target market is also at the bottom of the learning curve in that they do not understand the value of your service(s) and/or product(s).

Moving yourself and your target market up the learning curve is what real marketing is all about.

If you want to get your professional services understood, valued, and used in the marketplace, ignoring this responsibility is not an option. If you need to build upon your core retail business, ignoring the need for astute marketing is not an option. LEARN your way out of your problem.

You, your business and your target market will generally land on one of four of the following steps:

Step 1-Not knowing what you do not know. . . aka you are clueless! For the business person, this might be understanding the 5 Principles of successful marketing (People, Promotion, Product, Physical Distribution and Price).

For your target audience it may well be not knowing that you exist or what exactly you and/or your service or product can do for them to help solve their problem or make their life better. Ignorance may be bliss, but I guarantee that it will rarely build your client list.

Step 2-Becoming aware of what you do not know stage. For the business person, this might be doing some basic research on effective marketing. Careful here. A little knowledge can indeed be a dangerous thing. You will need to sort and sift and ask a lot of questions.

For your target market, this might be you providing them with a free assessment of their needs and wants or providing testimonials of how other people in their shoes used your service or product to solve their problems.

Step 3-Testing before you plunge. The business person takes her newly-learned knowledge, sets up a plan and tries new things in order to improve results and build business. These marketing tests are designed to build the perception of your target market as to what is really in it for them to do business with you.

Test early and often to see if you are connecting with your target market. If not, change. If you are connecting, run with it.

Positive test results position you to close in on making the deal/sale.

Step 4 - Your batting average is improving. You are in a business that you love and that you do well. You have begun to get more hits than strikeouts and your fan base is building . . . because your clients/customers perceive that they have gotten the results they want and that they can trust you over the long haul. They are enthusiastic about referring more business to you.

Here are some ways to keep climbing the marketing staircase to success:

1. Read marketing articles relevant to your particular field.
2. Attend some marketing workshops.
3. Form a mastermind group.
4. Isolate ONE idea each week (or month) and give it a go. If it works, do it again; if it bombs, try something else.
5. Be patient with yourself and the process. You did not become an expert in your own field overnight and you will not become a marketing whiz quickly.

Marketing is not about hustling or twisting arms. Successful marketing is about sharing what you know with the right audience in such a way that they perceive the value for themselves in the work you do or the product or service you offer.

Success in business in general and marketing in particular is little more than being willing to do the tasks that most people are not willing to do even when you do not want to do them. Be willing to try new things that your competition is not doing or has not tried.

Know that you never arrive at the pinnacle of marketing expertise. It is a lifelong continuum.
About the Author
Bob Schumacher writes books and articles that give entrepreneurs a clear coffee-shop English perspective on how to steer their business or profession into the top 20% who achieve 80% of the business and profits. Visit http://www.20do80.com for a complete directory of his articles and books.
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