Sometimes looking at a big company and their marketing strategy can teach us a lot about marketing our small business.
Apple Co. is no doubt a big company. They are known for their innovation and ‘cool’ gadgets. Every launch of a new product involves a presentation by Steve Jobs. Their products are sold in the millions in the first few days (iPhone 4 sold 1.7 million in 3 days) because they create such an anticipation and smart marketing campaign. What do they do that makes them so successful?
Looking at their last few launches a pattern emerges. Not only does Steve Jobs do all the presentations, not only he wears the same clothes no matter what weight he’s in, there are some things we can all learn from the big boys, with their cool innovations, the advertising budget and the PR firm. We can do it too, on a smaller scale.
When Steve Jobs does his presentation he is concise, to the point and entertaining. He does not concentrate on the technical aspect of the new product. He doesn’t talk shop – how fast it is, how the components became smaller. What he does talks about is what their new product will do for you, the customer. How will it improve the way you communicate or do business. If a customer wants to know the specifications of their new gadget he can go to their web site and get that information. Steve jobs is talking to the average customer to show him how cool is the new product and how fun it is to use.
When thinking about marketing and advertising, think about your customers first – how will they benefit from it, what needs your product comes to satisfy.
- Create a buzz. That is what Apple does best. Months before the product launch they drop a few words here and there. Obviously not every company is as highly regarded as Apple, and not every launch is a topic of conversation on the big news networks. Creating a buzz before the launch is very important. Every company that is serious about their marketing can do it through websites, social media and bookmarking sites. Don’t wait until the product is completely finished. When you create a buzz you can get feedback about what people want and think your product will be. Monitor those conversations, see what customers really want.
- Create a product customers will be happy to show off. When you look at Apple’s products, not only the components are important the packaging is important as well. It is always slick and new (think iPhone, iPad, iPod.) Apple always innovates, jumps ahead in leaps and bounds, not only evolves from model to model. What can you do to your product to make it as sleek as possible, something others will be proud to share? How do you show it on your website?
- Get expert advice and recommendations ahead of time. Show your product to the titans of your niche and have them write a few words about it. Put it on your website and tweet about it.
- Take pre-orders. This is a must and a base to build on. Even if you are not sure yet about the final price, you can create a following you can e mail to and update on pricing and new features. A business woman I know created a buzz by tweeting about her product when it was still in the building stage. She got 150 preorders just in the first few days. The product is not finished yet.
- Make a big deal out of your launch – as big as your budget allows. If not a presentation in a big ball room, you can create a launch on the web. Make sure your speech is short and entertaining. Leave the technology to the experts.
The bottom line – when you are about to launch a new product, plan the launch months before the actual date. Think what information you want to release and when, think how you can maximize your exposure and don’t hesitate to turn to experts in the field to help you plan it correctly.
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You have your products ready, and your services are in place. Your brand image is ready and your marketing collateral is all written, designed and printed out. You now need to target your preferred demographic, your target audience and the niche your small business will occupy.
Nearly every product or service is aimed at a specific demographic group that will be interested buy it. As a small business, you need to do some market research to determine your sales demographics and establish a target audience.
If your product is something that a wide range of customers will use, you will need to create various marketing campaigns to reach different segments of this broad market. Then there are products and services which have a fairly specific target audience which need to be zeroed in using a more specific manner. This is called niche marketing and if done properly, can be very beneficial and cost-effective.
How do you determine your market niche? Ask yourself the following questions:
- What should be the age of your potential customer?
- Who would be more interested in your product, a man or a woman?
- If your product is pricey, what income level should your potential customers belong to, preferably?
- If your product requires it to be used in a certain way, what is the education level of your potential customers?
- Is your product something that will be used by a family or an individual?
- What will your customers appreciate the most about your product? Its price, easy availability, or ease of use? What do they like or dislike about the product or service in general?
- Where does your audience research for products? Do they use the Internet, newspapers, books, or television?
Based on the results of your marketing research, you should be able to determine the focus of your advertising and marketing efforts. If you happen to find that your potential clients spend are frequent users of the internet, likely that your best marketing lever would be a Web page or an e-newsletter. Again, if you find that your potential customers are interested in listening to talk radio, you would do well to develop promotional strategies that revolve around radios.
Your audience might change too, depending on various factors. It’s always important to keep on top of who your target audience is. Do this, and you will maintain a steady flow and easy returns. Another great visibility technique.
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