On Tuesday, November 15, a group of 16 female entrepreneurs gathered for a workshop with Linda Popky to learn more about how to be heard above the noise and work towards a marketing strategy that makes you stand out of the crowd.
Linda Popky, founder and president of Leverage2Market Associates, which transforms organizations through powerful marketing performances, shared some valuable insights as well as basic strategies with the participants and sure to inspire some lightbulb moments.
In order to get to know the group and set the tone for this morning workshop, the first question asked seemed obvious yet had a twist that made participants dive into the topic right away and reflect on their product and core mission of their business: What do you do and how are you helping your client being better of with what you have to offer? While this question made the ladies in the room think, the next question settled the reason why everyone came that day: What is your biggest marketing challenge in terms of standing out in your target market?
In today’s crowded and congested business environment, it’s hard to stand out in the crowd and be heard. Whether you work for small or large businesses, you still need to find a way to reach prospects and customers, drive them to purchase your products and services, and build relationships that last. The questions popping up among the participants made it clear, standing out is a struggle and everyone seems to face similar challenges. It also turned out that some participants target the same field of activity and think in a similar direction for their products and services. Thus the workshop was not only a great opportunity to share advice on marketing strategies, but also to establish relations with likeminded women and maybe even go into cooperation at some point in their respective businesses.
The most pressing questions of the day, mentioned by the women present were:
- When should you use social media and which channel would be appropriate?
- How can you reach your target group in a cost effective way, especially in the beginning of a business when funds are tight?
- How to find innovative and creative ways to address potential clients?
- How important are cultural norms across different countries and cultures and how can they be addressed effectively?
- What should you do when you have multiple audiences?
- How can you fight price competition effectively, without engaging in price erosion?
- How can results be measured?
- What possibilities are there to automate procedures and to what extend can this be useful?
Over the next two hours Linda gave valuable advice, some essential guidelines and interesting insights in marketing strategies applicable everyday and to all products and fields of activity.
First of all: Have a quality product, ensure great and appealing packaging and work towards being in the right place at the right time. Once this premise is set, everyone should follow 8 timeless marketing principles, applicable to every situation and every product:
- Strategy: Basically, know what you are doing, why, where and to what goal. If you have answers to the following points, your strategy has already a quite solid foundation
- Product: Define your product, what is it and what problem will it solve for your potential customers? Why will they be better off with your product?
- Customers: Know your target customers and target them correctly. E.g. why did your current clients, customers hired you or bought your product?
- Brand: Create a brand around your product. What does your brand stands for, what values are important to the brand?
- Communication: Think about how to communicate to your customers and what type of communication is in line with your brand values?
- Operations: Think about ways to measure the impact of your efforts
- Sales Channels: Use the sales channels that target your potential customers
- Market Analysis: Know the market your engaging in. Who else is “playing in the field”? How do they play? In short: Know your competition
After the basics set, Linda gave some ideas of how you can differentiate your product and brand from others and indeed stand out of the crowd:
- Don’t forget that you are the brand. No matter how brilliant your product, if people don’t feel comfortable around you and see you as the expert, they won’t buy your product.
- You’re the centre of attention. Embrace that position and tell people what you do and how they will be better off with your product.
- Don’t let others define you. Know who you are and what you’re standing for. If you don’t, others will put you in a drawer that you might not even want to be in.
- Don’t wait to be a 100% ready to move. Timing is important so, dare to go for it when you are maybe just 80% ready. The early adopters will love you even with small deficiencies. They give you valuable insights to make your product evolve and get ready for the big crowd that will be more critical. A good reading tip is the book of Geoffrey Moore “Crossing the Chasm”, that addresses exactly the difficulties encountered between early adaptors and crossing the gap to reach the middle and late adopters.
- Not everything that glitters is gold. When choosing your communication channels, remember that the core concern should be to target your audience. So, you need to be where your audience is, no matter how innovative or established the channel might be. This applies especially also to social media. Business-to-Business and Business-to-Consumer, as well as cultural and country aspects will define your choice.
- Don’t be afraid to think big and look forward. Picture where you want to be in 10 or even 20 years from now and work towards that goal
- Dare to be controversial. Don’t be afraid to have a different opinion, state it and explain why you see things your way. People will appreciate your way of thinking and your courage to express your thoughts.
After these very useful and eye opening insights, Linda encouraged the participants to set up a quick action plan. What goals do the present entrepreneurs want to commit to, today, next week, next month and next year. What are their metrics for success, what obstacles might they encounter and how can they be overcome? How will they assure accountability?
The workshop closed with one more great statement that you might sometimes forget because, you are overwhelmed with the details.
There is now sound unless you make it!
To find out more about Linda Popky, follow her on Twitter (@popky)!
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