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Reassuringly Expensive | Ensure Your Marketing Mix Adds-Up

Posted On - 07/02/2013 13:52:05

The marketing mix: everything about you that spells out your offerYou're many things to many people. Computer wiz, friend, supplier, that-nice-shop keeper, saviour, local business person. You mean different things to the different people you know and to those you've yet to meet.

Every day people around you are forming an impression of you and they do it based on things you say and do in your business. The way you present the business through your shop front. How you treat customers and even how you speak to people in the street. What your shop window looks like. Your website. The list goes on. Some would call this your marketing mix but whatever it is, everything, everything, absolutely everything about you and your business – even what you don't do - is creating perceptions of you in people's minds. Everything.

Now we're not about to tell you what that image should be. But we are going to ask you a question. Is everything you're doing with your business forming a consistent image in people's minds? An image that stacks up. A marketing mix that works. An impression that you're all things they'd want you to be. Trustworthy, expert, friendly, value for money? Or are there things about what you do and don't do that are sending mixed messages? Things that make people ever so uncertain about you. Things that make them hesitate.

Because if there are, you're losing business. And you're losing it because you're confusing them. Here are the top 10 reasons we see...

#1 - Great service from your local IT expert. Guaranteed cheapest in Town

Price always matters, but it has to be handled with extreme care. It speaks volumes about you and our blog "That Makes More Sense"goes into this in detail.

How can you be cheap and expert at the same time? How can you offer great service and not cost? It doesn't add up.

Customers are happy to pay for value and this is the issue: what do they think you're worth? If they perceive your value no differently to anyone else, the only thing they'll compare you on is price. If you're finding it hard work to defend your prices, could it be you're experiencing first hand the uncertainty you've created by not selling your value? Could it be their hesitancy is because they can't see why you cost what you do? This is why learning how to ‘sell' value is important and this is why we'll be blogging about it in the coming weeks.

#2 - Professional products & services. Small, cheap, handwritten posters and leaflets

Now let's be honest here. Do you have any A4 leaflets taped to your windows? Any posters stuck up with blue-tac? Anything handwritten in your windows or on your doors? Do you?

I know, this stuff costs money. A decent large professional poster, lets say double A0 will set you back £40 plus VAT. An A0 wall mounted snap frame £100. Laminated A1 – ideal for use in a decent A board – about £40 as well. A decent A1 ‘A' board costs £79.

Where is this going? Simple: how can you provide anything remotely ‘professional' and present yourself amateurishly? It doesn't stack up. Yes it costs money but customers know what professional looks like and it isn't ‘scrappy'. Why create this conflict in their minds for the sake of saving some cash? Why ‘invest' in scaring them off? Is it time to change the quality of your signs and posters?

#3 - Offering independent advice. Giving personal opinions

A few weeks ago we were with a small IT business. A customer walked in to pick up a printer they'd fixed. "Whilst I'm here, I'm thinking of buying a new laptop and I saw a Dell I rather liked. What are your thoughts?" she asked. "Oh I don't like Dell" came the answer. And it came before that business even knew which Dell was being considered.

Now, how good Dells may or may not be is not the issue. And neither is the fact that an answer like this given in the way it was makes the customer look daft.

What is the issue is what's been said shatters any impression of objectivity. Of authority and expertise. Because all it says is what THEY think, not what the benefit of their experience says. And it's the experience customers want, not pet loves and hates.

How can that customer tell if they're just ‘dissing' one product over another because one makes them more money? In other words, how can that customer tell if they were just being sold to, or being advised? They can't. Because it's unclear what they're getting.

If your wondering what should have been said you can find out when we blog in detail about "How to Sell you have Knowledge, Experience and Opinion".

#4 Stating you're the ‘local IT shop' – with nothing about where your are on your marketing

This one may sound obvious but it comes up time and again. Convenience can mean many things but one of them is about how easily and quickly a visitor could find and use you.

If they're sussing out your website and can't easily find where you are, are they more likely to visit you or the shop where the website says all that? Quite. Don't hide! Make sure whenever you promote your business: website, letterhead, business card, leaflets, brochures, whatever, consider including at least some details.

#5 - ‘Personal service from people who care.' No answerphone message

You trade on many things. One of those is that you, the business owner, the expert, is going to personally serve me or fix my computer.

Customers want to use you because they know you will look after them. So if they phone to discuss what want they need and get nothing what will they think? If all they can do is ring and it goes dead or rings endlessly before finally going to the carrier's pre-recorded message does that create an impression you care?

Can the customer tell they even rung the right number? Maybe they've never used you before - so if there's no answer do they know whether you're still in business? And if you are, does it look like you actually care they called you? No-one can tell. So no-one leaves any messages. They just move onto the next number they've got.

How can you offer personal service, service that's all about ‘care' when it's clear you're at best sloppy sloppy and worst you actually don't give a damn? Does this happen? Well we wouldn't blog about it unless we'd tried calling customers and found it so. Why do you think some businesses make a point of recording a new answerphone message every day? Perhaps you should too.

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