This weekend my husband and I journeyed out with friends for the annual pumpkin patch expo. It’s something we have done for a few years now and it’s always a blast. Maybe it’s just being around dear friends or the fact that we drive golf carts in search of the perfect pumpkin, I don’t know, but whatever it is, it’s interesting to see which pumpkins we award as the “perfect pumpkin to carve”.
One friends says she likes the warty pumpkins because they have character. Another likes pumpkins that are smooth and flat on one side as they are easier to carve. We like pumpkins that are oval. To us, that’s what a pumpkin “should” look like.
So as we were in search for our perfect pumpkin I was reminded how crafting a marketing message to catch a customer’s attention can not only seem like a quest, but the message can also get lost in a sea of other everyone else is doing. Finding your business might be very similar to looking for the right pumpkin. There’s a million of them out there, but what really fits your needs?
Here’s how to stand out in the crowded market and make your marketing message the one customer’s find, remember and act upon.
- Delve into what your competitors are doing. Know their message inside and out. Is it successful? If not, why? How can you capitalize on their weaknesses? Are your competitors using flashy images? Should they be and if so, why aren’t you using eye-popping images to grab attention?
- Use keywords and messaging that resonates with your audience. Know what your customer’s speak sounds like. What are terms that get their attention? Are you talking over their heads?
- Define your target market and talk to them. If you haven’t had a chance to chat with the people who purchase your products/services you should. How can you effectively communicate your company’s message to them if you don’t know what challenges, goals or expectations your customers seek? It’s a good practice to set up focus groups and parade your advertising ideas in front of the people that will be purchasing your product/services. Gage your message’s effectiveness based on their comments. Revise if you need to. It’s much cheaper to revise than to pull the plug on a campaign that’s been running for a few weeks or months!
- Try something new. With the Web 2.0 boom, there are a lot of new vehicles that your company can use to get your message out there without spending a ton of ad dollars. Survey your solid client base. See if they know about Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube or even MySpace. If they don’t, discover why they haven’t had a chance to learn about Web 2.0 and take it on as a new way to market yourself if it’s true to your target market, of course.