Marketing is one of those words in the English language that has more meanings than anybody could possibly keep track of.
After investing over tens of thousands of dollars in marketing training, seminars and workshops I define marketing as something much more than an advertisement.
So, here is my shot at defining marketing for you:
Marketing is a holistic process of making somebody feel like they’d be a fool if they don’t utilize your services. This includes strategic creation of the product or service itself for a specific want or need of a market segment. This includes the packaging, delivery mechanism and communication strategy of consumer benefits to the most likely person to pay money for your creation.
Read that one again…
I’ll say something another way to make sure you don’t miss it…
Smart marketers take a look at what markets are available, and then create products or services around a segment of people that fit a demographic and/or psychographic profile.
Made even simpler, find a group of people who want or need something, find an innovative way to fill the want or need and sell it to them.
See, most business people create a product or service and then try to find markets for it. More often than not, they resort to mass marketing mediums like radio, television and newspaper hoping that somebody will have a need or want and respond.
The smarter thing to do is to look at what markets are available, and create a product or service that that crowd is starving for!
So, if you find a list of people in your area that are building a new home, it makes sense to offer them granite countertops. If you know that there is some remodeling going on in the neighborhood, granite countertops are a great match for that market.
I know, this sounds like common sense, but chances are you’re not thinking of marketing this way.
This brings us to the 9 most important words in stone countertop marketing…
Advertising legend, Rosser Reeves, made a simple nine word statement in his book “Reality in Advertising” that I feel lays the undeniable first step to all successful marketing.
I had read that book more than a dozen times before another advertising genius, Gary Bencivenga, pointed out the significance of these nine words. After careful consideration, I dare say that they are the most profitable nine words in stone countertop marketing.
The most profitable nine words in stone and fabrication marketing are:
“A gifted product is mightier than a gifted pen.”
In other words, if you have a tacky showroom and inexperienced workers, there isn’t much your marketing department can do for you…
Yet few marketers talk about this. They completely skip this first step and head straight to tricks and techniques that will – at best – blind the consumer for a short amount of time until they realize that they’ve just made a bad decision or been duped.
Another advertising great, Bill Bernbach, creative director of Doyle Dane Bernbach, the renowned ad agency responsible for the successful Volkswagen Beetle ads of the 1960s, voted the all-time greatest general advertising campaign in history, said this:
“The magic is in the product,” not in the [marketer’s] pen. Or as he put it another way, “Advertising doesn’t create a product advantage. It can only convey it… No matter how skillful you are, you can’t invent a product advantage that doesn’t exist.”
I think you get the point.
Don’t perform a subpar service and have less than quality employees and expect your marketing department to bail you out when customers aren’t buying because they found a better value somewhere else.
Now, let me step in here to defend the position of advertising. A gifted product is only the first step to success…not the entire enchilada.
After you create your gifted product, it’s time for the gifted pen to step in and communicate the benefits of your new asset to the right audience in the right way. It takes all parts to make this work.
See, your prospects are so bombarded with advertising from all directions that they don’t believe or even recognize all of the noise in the marketplace.
I contend that if you sent a letter to 1,000 people offering them $100 just for calling in and giving you their name, address and phone number, you’d have a surprisingly low number actually call for their $100 prize.
Because, they either don’t see the message or don’t believe you. It’s as simple and complex as that. Marketing and advertising needs to be seen by the right person and believed regardless of how gifted your product is. That’s where marketing expertise comes in.
So, enough with the high level stuff, let’s talk about how you can develop a gifted countertop product and put this new thinking to good use.
Here are 7 questions to ask yourself that will help you innovate your business so that it will be extremely easy to market for a decent marketing professional:
What do people in my market need or want that I can help solve with business asset? What are my prospects biggest frustrations when it comes to the countertop industry? What can I do to help eliminate these frustrations?When my customers are choosing their products with me, what can I do to make their experience better? When my prospects first realize they want to purchase countertops, how can I make their decision making process easier? If my customers could create their dream showroom, what would it look like?What extra services could I offer that would better facilitate my customers needs and/or desires?
I personally guarantee you this…
If you honestly answer those questions, and actually do something about your discoveries, you’ll make drastically higher profits than you would had you not asked the questions and innovated based on the answers you receive.
Here are a few examples that have been proven to work. If you’re in a higher-end market with a lot of professionals living in your area, offer services that are attractive to these professionals. Offer custom showers, bathtubs, and stone decor. Include cleaning and restoration services and product warranties.
Most people dream of having an upgraded garage with added storage. What if you offered a solution to this? Form an alliance with a local garage storage and organization service. Give the customer an easy way to store their belongings with stone counters in their garage. Do you see a way to fulfill some of their personal desires?
Consider selling needed products like cleaners and stone care products. Explore online store options that allow your customers to buy online. And, of course, there’s stone furniture and home decor.
What if you formed an alliance with a professional cleaning service that specialized in stone care? Not only is this intriguing and a good reason for people to buy from you, you can also make extra money by setting up a commission structure with the cleaning service!
Here’s a quick tip before we end this article. Don’t expect to know the right answers to these questions. There’s only one person who knows the exact answer. Ask your customers! Too many business owners look within themselves for these crucial answers, yet – in reality – their opinion doesn’t really matter. You’re on the wrong side of the cash register to be answering these questions. Form good relationships with your customers and put yourself in their shoes. Ask your customers, get the answers, and create an extremely profitable business.