A Simple Rx for Marketing

For small business and for nonprofits, marketing can sound like a complicated, overwhelming time and money cruncher. It can be intimidating. But it doesn’t have to be. When I explain marketing in a seminar or workshop, I like to break it down into a very, very simple formula that anyone can approach with hope that it can actually be done. When I use the word marketing, I mean something very, very specific. It requires three simple steps.

1. Define an Audience
So, decide on a group of people you want to reach out to. Usually, that means they have something in common – maybe they live in the same area, have purchased the same product from you or maybe they all attended the same event. This can be as simple as pulling together a list of all your customers in the last year. The point is, start with a list.

2. Reach out with a message specific to that audience
This means that you put together a message or an offer that is just for those people. If you’re using a service, like a Constant Contact, you pull in the recipient’s first name for an even more personalized message.

3. Elicit a physical and measurable response
This is the part that makes it marketing. Up to this point, with 1 and 2, we were really in the land of communications. With this third piece, you begin to really market. A physical and measurable response is a click, a reply, a forward, sharing your message on facebook or linked in or twitter. Walking into your store, picking up the phone and calling you, buying something. Any physical act that a person takes as a result of getting your message or offer.

Rinse and repeat. That’s it. It does not have to be more complicated than this. This is marketing in its most basic form. Sure there are many ins and outs in terms of audience segmentation, branding, design, etc.. but in it’s simplest form, marketing is about measuring response.
If something works, you do more of that. If it doesn’t work, you stop doing that.

What real marketing does is provide an environment where you can remove assumption and emotion from your decision-making in terms of where to spend your marketing dollar (or hour of work). Because you are measuring, you know what works. So you can continue to hone your message, your timing and your offers to get the highest possible return over time.

Define an audience. Reach out with something specific to that audience. Elicit a physical and measurable response.
You can do this.

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