My first job in college was to sell ads for the campus newspaper. I can’t tell you how many times I watched town merchants agonize over whether they should be in the college paper at all, over what to put in the ad, and finally about how the ad should look. It wasn’t until years later I understood if these merchants had just laid a solid foundation for their marketing efforts, the agonizing wouldn’t be necessary. What is that solid foundation?
First, know your customer. Everything you know about customers guides your marketing efforts, from which media you choose to be in to what your ad will look like.
Second, know your competition. What is your competition doing, or better yet, not doing?
Third, be unique in the marketplace. This is the ultimate goal of all of your marketing efforts, to stand out from your competitors and to be memorable to your customers or potential customers.
For my fretting merchants, knowing if they had college students as customers or wanted them as customers answers the question of whether or not to be in the college paper. Knowing if their competition was promoting to college students and what their approach was would then guide what they might advertise and how in order to be unique, different from the competitor.
These same three absolutes of marketing apply whether you’re Proctor & Gamble or a small town ladies-ready-to-wear. Only the execution is different.
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You can e-mail Dave at dave@MarketingOverEasy.com. © 2010 by David F. Ramacitti. Excerpted from The Three Marketing Absolutes: Know Your Customer, Know Your Competition, Be Unique (c) 2008 David F. Ramacitti.