Strategy is a foundation. Without a solid foundation, very little can be built and what can be built will not last. It’s like stacking heavy rocks on top of an egg. Eventually the rocks will crush the egg, leaving you with nothing but a messy rock and a useless egg. It is unfortunate but some business owners see marketing as a series of unrelated events or actions. They rely on them only as they need to (“we need more sales”) and neglect them when they are overly confident (“I will do marketing later”). They fail to realize the importance of a strong marketing foundation, built on strategy.
Without a proper strategy, when you add new tactics, like events or new marketing elements, you are unlikely to get good results. These new tactics fail to deliver because they are not supported by a solid foundation. They may be inconsistent, confusing, or even completely wrong for your audience.
“The company without a strategy is willing to try anything.”
— Michael Porter
Strategy elements are interconnected building blocks that create the foundation of your marketing system. In order to build a strong and successful marketing system you need to establish, from the start, the right foundation.
Three of the most important foundation building blocks are: purpose, difference, and ideal customer.
The purpose of your business is a cornerstone of the foundation. The purpose should describe why you do what you do; your calling; your passionate reason for being in business.
The flippant answer to the question “What is the purpose of your business?” is ” to make money”. While that may seem to be an obvious answer, it’s certainly not the right response for an enriching and on-going business. Here’s why: history tells us that relationships based solely on money are extremely one sided and typically leave one party in the relationship unhappy. The unhappy party will likely find someone else to work with. Relying on money as your purpose dilutes your value and makes it difficult to compete on anything but price. Remember, there is always someone willing to do it for less and happy to take your customers.
Your difference should build upon your purpose. Do you approach a problem or solution in a new or peculiar way? Does your company’s size afford your customers an economy of scale? Does your expertise save your customers money, time, or frustration that they would otherwise encounter? Your difference should be unique to you and your business and clearly distinguish you from everyone in the same market who says they deliver the same product or service.
Once you understand your purpose and your difference you can begin to identify the individuals or businesses that would appreciate those elements of your business. Your ideal customers are probably a subset of your existing customers. You can identify them by their financial impact on your business, which includes both revenue and profit. They are also the ones that refer business to you, allowing you to provide the same value you provide them to their friends, family, and associates. Engage these ideal customers to build or validate your difference. They understand the reason they do business with you better than anyone else and know why they really choose to work with you rather than others is critically important.
These three foundational elements; purpose, difference, and ideal customers, form an interlocking foundation. Once they are in place you can begin to add layers of tactics for lead generation and lead conversion that build a strong and results driven marketing system.
Want to build your strong foundation? Start here with the Valens Point marketing check-up. We’ll help you identify your purpose, difference, and ideal customer.