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Need a little extra oomph in your marketing plan? Try this…

by Alison Bradford

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Every once in a while it’s a good idea to step back from your current marketing plan (you do have one of these don’t you?), and have a look at what else is going on in the world.

If you need a bit of inspiration on how to re-invigorate your marketing, the obvious answer most people spring to is to look at what your competitors are doing.

Take heed though – this is unlikely to give you the extra bit of oomph you’re looking for, unless you are looking for how not to do things.

Let me explain.

I’m a big fan of the 80/20 rule and apply this lots to clients businesses in different areas. But, this rule also applies to businesses in general, in that around 20% of businesses are very successful or getting there, and the other 80% are just getting by or struggling.

What this means for you is that most of your competitors aren’t doing that well and therefore you don’t necessarily want to be looking for them to inspire your next marketing strategy.

So, where should you be looking instead? Outside of your industry.

Take a minute now to come up with 3-5 companies that are outside of your industry, that you can identify as a successful company.

Who do you admire? Which companies would you love to work with? Who do you think came up with a great idea that you wish you had thought of? Whose marketing stands out for you and you often pass comment on?

Now you’ve identified them, answer this question;

What is it about their marketing that makes them successful?

Let me give you a couple of different examples.

One on my list is John Lewis. In economic times when lots of retailers are struggling and blaming various factors outside of their control (e.g. economy, internet etc.), John Lewis have performed well and continued to grow. They’ve managed to develop a successful online business whilst still growing their retail stores.

What makes them successful? They know their customers really well. They’ve identified what their customers problems / concerns are, and they’ve built a business around fixing these.

They’re perceived as good value and high quality, definitely not low cost, and focus massively on their customer service.

Another, different example for you.

Another on my list is a company I see as up and coming, Hello Fresh UK. (Google them if you’ve not come across them)

I’m not sure about their origins as they have sites in the US and Australia, as well as the UK, but I’m a big fan of their product and how they market it.

Similar to brands like Graze, rather than spending huge amounts on advertising, they are basing their marketing around recommendations, referrals and social media.

They offer a big discount for people to try their first box, minimising any risk to the customer, and hoping that once tried each customer will return again and recommend more people. They also offer an incentive to refer others to them.

Plus they are solving a problem for the consumer they are aiming at – people who like to cook and want to eat nutritious food, but don’t have a lot of time to go and buy lots of ingredients or research new recipes each week.

How can you apply this to your business?

Taking your own examples (and mine if you want to), how can you apply what they are doing to make them successful, to your business?

How can you make sure you are providing excellent service and value, like John Lewis?

How can you minimise the risk to your customers to make buying with you a ‘no-brainer’, like Hello Fresh?

How can you put in place a great referral scheme that has others doing your marketing for you?

How can you apply what others are doing outside of your industry, to put some extra oomph in your marketing?

I’d love to hear what you come up with so please leave me a comment below to let me know.

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Alison Bradford

Alison Bradford is a business coach who works with smart, ambitious business owners to get clarity about how they can grow their business and increase profit. Sign up here to learn 6 easy ways you can boost profit in your business today.

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