Saturday, July 03, 2010

The Business Chat - let's go marketing!

Merci beaucoup to all who completed last weeks survey. As I pointed out, marketing in this day and age is a 2-way conversation and that survey allowed you to have a voice in the content of my posts here. 87% of you want marketing advice, 73% want online sales tips and craft show advice and general business tips were asked for by 53% of you.

So let’s talk marketing. First we’ll define it. From Wikipedia: Marketing is the process by which a company creates customer interest in its products or services. It generates the strategy that underlies sales techniques, business communication, and business development. It is an integrated process through which companies build strong customer relationships and create value for their customers and for themselves. Marketing is used to identify the customer, to keep the customer, and to satisfy the customer.

I find that most small business crafters, those who sell occasionally to friends or family don’t think they do any marketing at all. They do, everyone has a business card and a business card is the simplest form of marketing. It informs a customer of who you are and what your product is. That in a nutshell is marketing.

Sales are when you knock on a customer’s door.

Marketing is what you do to get a customer to knock on your door.

Advertising is the method you use to publicly acquaint your customers with your product in order to get them to buy what your business is offering.

Why is marketing the most important thing in your business? Because marketing is concerned with attracting customers. Ever try to run a business without customers? The name of the game in marketing is attracting and retaining a growing base of satisfied customers. How does this apply to you? Who doesn’t want to sell more at each show they do or in your online store? In order for your business to be successful, you need to make money. For your business to make money, you need sales. To make or increase sales, you need to market your product effectively. Bottom line: You can increase your sales with some marketing.

When I go to the One of a Kind Show in Toronto (juried show of 850 artists), just by being there I will sell some jewellery. These are what I call random sales. People randomly walk by my booth, stop in and buy. Each customer who walks into the door of a craft show has a limited amount of money to spend. I can passively wait for them to randomly walk by to receive a portion of their cash. Or I can plant my company name in their mind so that when they walk into that show, they look for me first and spend their dollars on my jewellery before they randomly walk into someone else’s booth. Now I have 2 types of sales, those who look for me, and the random sales.

So what can you do to get the customer to look for you first? You need to plant your company name firmly in their brain. We talked about how marketing is to inform a customer who you are and what your product is. Let’s tackle the biggest problem most small crafters have, defining what you sell.

At the start of my seminars, I ask each person to tell me their name and what kind of jewellery they make – essentially to market themselves to me. The answers are always one of two:

  1. the simple – “I make jewellery”; or
  2. the long-winded – “I’ve always really liked working with wire, when I was 4 I started playing….” And on and on….

Although each of these answers are true, as a consumer in neither instance do I have any idea of what the product is. Jewellery is so vast a creation. Do you make lip rings? Toe rings? Custom Celtic wedding bands? Diamond tennis bracelets? If you can’t define your product, your customer doesn’t know what you’re selling. The ability to define your product enables you to convey a strong image to your customer. A strong image will stay in the customers mind.

I’m going to leave you with a question this week and I’d like you to think about this and send me answers.

What do you sell?

Next week we’re going to start branding your company.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

you know - I think that your definition of the difference between marketing and advertising is possibly the most profound piece of business advice I have ever seen.