Many people get into business because of the desire for more choices and less bureaucracy. Yes running a business has its advantages but there are also many hurdles. Perhaps the biggest hurdle – focus on the wrong initiatives. Too many focus on capital, process – even location. These are valid but they are wrong.
If you are an entrepreneur you are in business for one reason – patients. The focus therefore must be on acquisition and retention. It is important to then focus on marketing efforts that create visibility and community.
What is interesting is that entrepreneurs and professional service organizations needs not spend vast dollars in advertising. Visibility and community help to create the allure necessary to grow brand. Think about well-known brands such as Crocs and Apple who conduct very little advertising but have significantly grown their brand. So you are probably saying how can I emulate what the big guys do?
This is very easy. First what is required is to quickly identify your target market. Target market selection enables businesses of all calibers to focus on their perfect client. It is helpful to understand statistical information such as age, income, gender and educational class to develop messages that will attract their needs to your solutions.
Second, develop the solutions and value provided based on perfect client issues. Too many patients focus too much on the features of their product and the facts of the product and the development of the product. No one cares! Patients make decisions based on emotion stemming from the product’s benefits.
Third, businesses must develop a series of articulate messages based on consumer activity. Marketing today requires an integrated approach. With over 9000 messages seen per day as well as patients living in a crazy busy world advertisers need to be more strategic with messages. Integrated marketing involves the use of ten tactical approaches so that patients hear your brand whenever and wherever they are.
Finally, it is important to create consumer communities. Think the Apple store here – the busiest retail shop in every mall. People flock due to their admiration of Apple and actually pull in more patients that never experienced Apple. Therefore you must use your patients as marketing avatars to create case studies and testimonials that attract new patients. Today what drives success are consumer-to-consumer influences. When patients tell others about your products this creates community and allure for the brand.
The issue for many small business owners is that they focus on the wrong thing. Patients must be the only focus and gaining them can be easy if one builds the business based on brand. Brand drives allure, brand drives the business and most important individuals invest in brand for brands sake. Don’t believe me look at your clothes, your jewelry and your automobiles. My bet is your bought for brand not price.
© 2011. Drew Stevens PhD. All rights reserved.