In this tutorial, I will be sharing with you some brilliant marketing strategies that can make your business more profitable.
As you probably know, a single marketing strategy can transport a business from zero to hero.
Claude Hopkins, the marketing genius and author of The Scientific Advertising explains in his book (the same book I just mentioned) how he visited a beer making company and looked at their meticulous process of making their beer.
As their consultant he asked, why didn`t you run an advert to tell people all these great processes you`re following to make your beers?
Those guys told him, well every beer maker make it this way.
Smart Hopkins said, well, nobody has told the public about this, so let us tell them. That is what they did to be the market leader.
Marketing strategy: what is it?
I think you don`t need me to tell you the meaning of marketing strategy, but for us to be sure we are on the same track, let me remind you that marketing strategy is that tactic developed and applied by a business owner with the aim of winning more market share and making more money.
Business strategies can differ from one business owner to another, depending on various situations.
The business approach of a man just starting a business may be different from that woman trying to grow a business.
The business tactics of a business who is leading in the market is definitely going to be different from that of the nicher… a business trying to take a specialist approach to win a share of the market.
In all, let`s get to work and identify some meaningful marketing strategies you can apply to win your market.
1. Be the first in your market.
By far the most profitable marketing strategy is the marketing to the plain mind. Give me a second as I want you to see business marketing as you see the relationship between a man (the business man) and a lady (the market).
How easy it is to get a 27 years old lady to fall in love with you? it all depends.
If she has a serious relationship and other three men running after her, you`re in for a long walk (as Nelson Mandela titled his book).
But what if she has nobody she`s dating now? You know what that means.
You can get yes, even now.
That is how business world looks like. An innovatively new products or services get people`s attention so earn yes to their cash, easily.
But can there be a completely new product again? Yes, but waiting for it and working for it is beyond what most people are qualify for.
Just as I explained in our tutorial about how to discover business ideas, it`s a laborious work that may take years.
But here is a good news.
Human beings are so weak that we don`t usually recognize that there may be the same engine in an unpainted Toyota can and a red coloured Toyota car.
You got it! There is a colour call blue and another one call yellow, but, yellow plus green is what we know as a new colour. Being the first business to introduce an innovative product or service to the market is the greatest and the most powerful of all the marketing strategies.
2. Be the first in a new market.
Etiselat is a Nigerian telecom company who came late to the market. Since the first market position (as explained above) has already been taking, they try to become a king in a new market. They target phone users who of course are browsing with their phone.
If you look at your business very well, there are different categories and lines. If you cannot be the king for the whole market, don`t fight for the whole market. Identify a category where you can be the king.
This is an example.
You want to start a private school in your city or town, but there are already 52 private school and seven of them are highly known.
What can you do?
Start a girl-only private school or a Christian only private school.
Because people are usually afraid of what their female children may become, they will love to take their children to your school (thinking, there must be a special care for them there) and because religion is such a sensitive issue in Africa, many parents will love to send their children to a school where they will be trained in the way of God.
You got that! Let`s move on.
3. Be a specialist.
Don`t be a jack of all trade. Nobody will respect you. Think about this situation. You visit a friend and from there you`re having malaria and he tells you, guy, I know of two hospitals in this environment.
One is very good and treat just any disease, the other one is treating only malaria, which one will you love to go?
It is smarter to be known for one thing that to be known for all thing.
You see this all around you every day. Do you know a fuji musician who is also an hip hop musician?
He cannot succeed.
Specialization is a powerful business tactic, because it makes people to see you as an expert.
4. Identify your position in the market.
Every business market is eventually going to be divided into four. There will be a leader, a challenger, a follower and a nicher.
Let me use Nigeria telecom industry to explain this.
MTN is the market leader. Glo is a challenger. Etiselat is the nicher while that ‘’guy’’, Airtel is (unfortunately) the follower.
A leader is the king. He can sometimes has 40-60% of the market share. The challenger is a threat, looking for a possible chance just to kill the leader. He can be compared to the strongest opposition party in the political system.
The nicher is that business whose owner admits the fact that he is too late to the market, but he is fighting for a part of the market, as explained in the number two above.
If you know your position in a market, you`re more likely able to know how to dominate your market.
5. Tailor your tactics according to your market position.
If you`re a leader, don`t tell your market you`re a specialist and if you`re a challenger, then, I am better is your message.
6. Fight with your name.
Your business name is far important than you think. We have a tutorial about naming your business. (click to read).
Do we fight with our names in the business world?
Not in business alone… everywhere in the world.
I know a very close lady friend who introduces herself as Lizy. When I heard her mum call her Elizabeth, I understand.
Al Ries and Laura Ries write in their book, The 22 Immutable Laws of Branding that, the brand with a better name will come out on top. Your name is part of your marketing strategies.
7. Appeal to a group of people.
Seth Godin says, create a tribe. People love to belong, it`s our natural weakness. That`s why you see people identifying themselves with football clubs and social movements.
Most people go to church simply because it gives them a sense of belonging.
How can you ride on this human need of belonging? Structure your marketing message in such a way that shows that you are creating a tribe.
Our name (in this organization) was, The Optimist.
It is not too smart to go with that name, because we want to create a tribe (so to say it like Seth Godin).
Think about our name now, Africa Business Classroom. How does it sound? We choose that name so as to appeal to a group of people, Africans.
Why is this very important? Because people love what is their own.
Let me tell you the truth. There are so many websites out there who can teach you what we`re teaching you in the ABC, but you`ll still find a need to come back here.
Why? Somehow you`ll feel, these guys at the ABC are Africans, talking about business in Africa.
You get it.
In your business and marketing messages, you may target the youth, the men, the women, the aged or a particular nationality or continent.
Those in that group will fall in love with you because they will see you as their lovers.
Believe me, we are enjoying this in the Africans, thank you for loving us this much!
8. Create a Unique Selling Promise.
I came across the concept of the USP (Unique Selling Promise) in around 2007/8 when I was reading a book from Brian Sher, and since then, I have been applying this marketing technique.
Look at your competitors very well and come up with their three major weaknesses that the consumers are complaining about.
Can you fill this gap? If yes, can you create a simple message that will tell your target market that you have filled that gap?
Because MTN came to Nigeria when there was no network in most towns and city, they smartly coined the Unique Selling Promise, everywhere you go! telling you, we`re there everywhere to give you network.
Because sky bank felt that many banks say no to people, I guess loan seekers, they coined the term, saying yes to your dream.
Because we found out that most people who are talking about money online are (first) talking about making money online, (second) deceiving people that they are millionaires (third), telling people that they can make millions of naira without work, we coined a marketing message on facebook that looks like, We don`t teach making money online, we don`t teach get-rich-quick and we are not millionaire. This advert is a huge success.
We couldn`t come up with a better marketing tactic. Be unique and tell your market how you are unique.
There is not a better marketing strategy than this… as much as I know.
When you are different, people will fall in love with you and your products/service
9. Perception wins, even when quality products fail.
There was a market research to find out how people react to the taste of Coca-Cola and that of their enemy competitor, Pepsi. The outcome of that research teaches us marketer a great lesson… most people prefer the taste of Pepsi to that of coke.
So why does Mr. Coke remain the king in that market? Human beings usually (or always) judge the book by its cover. Many quality products and services are dead and forgotten. Let people perceive you as the best.
10. Quality, yes, quality wins.
This is counter-intuitive, I know. But not really. You see, we are already in a world of super stars. Just as I was explaining to two friends of mine yesterday, it seem extra-ordinary needs another extra to make it a winner in the present day world.
You see, in the last 100 years, an average product, service, musician or footballer easily could get to the top, because there was few people in the world (less than 2 billions), there was little noise and there was so little competition.
For instance if you were making soap in the last 100 years, average quality soap I mean, you`re likely to become very rich because only few people (very few people) are soap makers in the whole of Africa.
Today, the soap makers in Lagos alone may be more than ten thousand. So if you don`t have any quality thing to offer, please, go get job.
Don`t waste your time in the business world. However, always, I said always let your customers perceive your products or services as the quality.
That is where the last point work with this one and make these two marketing strategies work together.
11. Give out free samples or services.
Do you have a great product that you want people to buy? They are skeptical about that product. You need to give them a taste of it.
Remember the last time you visit a suya seller. He understood that you may be doubting the quality of his meet, so he offered you a taste of it.
Car manufacturing companies, whenever they release a new car will offer people the free ride.
This is a marketing sstrategy
This takes away people`s fear and attracts them to the new car.
Do you want people to love your product? Can you produce some samples?
If you`re rendering service, this is a lot easier (and cheaper), can you offer people some free service?
If you have an hospital, can you offer a free medical checkup?
If you are having hotel, can you offer free breakfast? You will be surprised that even people who are rich enough to pay any amount for a breakfast may come to your hotel because of the free breakfast.
Funny? Psychologist Dan Ariely has told us (in his book, predictable irrational) that human beings, all of us, are irrational.
Claude Hopkins said, sample always pay for itself and even more.
When people taste your product or service, they say, wow, and then buy (that is why it must be a wow product anyway, if you want this business tactic to work).
When someone gets a free medical test and discovers he is about to have typhoid, will he go home and sleep all night? You get it.
12. Spread a contagious virus.
The truth is, advertising is dying and may soon die. Why? Noisy. Noisy. Crowded.
Because advertising is now everywhere, and hundreds of them for that matter, nobody is paying attention to adverts again (except a few brilliant ones of course).
When last did you react to a television advert?
When last did you buy something because you read its advert on newspaper?
Did you ever take your phone and call a line from a radio advert? Maybe no.
So do you think your own advert will be diligently listened to?
But there is a way out… spread a contagious virus.
This is what I mean. Create something that is great enough to catch someone`s attention. After such people fell in love with you, they are more likely to tell their friends about it.
Can you remember few instances when you talked to a friend about a great fast food restaurant, a nice hotel or a great book? Now you can see.
We love to talk about a good product or service to our friends. In fact, we are usually proud of them and talk about them on social media sites.
With this, we`re advertising for the company involve (and we do so willingly).
For instance wherever I read a great book, I tell my friends about it, even force some of them to buy it. I know I am ‘’helping’’ the author, but that is not the way I see it. Instead, I see it as helping my friends.
Create something worthwhile (a product and service) and people will want their friends to also know about it.
We are so much grateful to Africans who are telling their friends about us. This tells me that it pays to give value.
If you`re new here, we will love you to stroll around this website and read as much as you can. If you think some of your friends will be benefited by what we`re doing here, please tell them to visit us (www.AfricaBusinessClassroom.com).
Get our free book, 10 Secrets University Can Not Teach You About Business & How to Make Money here and tell your friends to get it too.
Thanks. Let`s continue.
13. Be consistent with your message.
Don`t be surprise that MTN is still using everywhere you go as their marketing message after around nine years of creating it. Whatever you stand for, be consistent.
14. Be flexible.
Don`t be surprised by this. Though consistency is good for you, your competitors sometimes will come up with a hard blow. To cope with this, you too may have to change your marketing strategies.
Thanks for reading.