Business strategy, then marketing |

One thing I’ve learned over the last two decades is that I need to get in front of a whole lot of prospects in order to meet my business development goals this year. So this week’s topic is on Marketing 101 — specifically, how to get your services in front of more prospects. Case in point: for a decade, all of our work came through client referrals. This worked really well until the economic downturn of 2008. It was then that I realized that business strategy was what was needed, and not more marketing tactics — at least not yet.

Let’s talk about business strategy and marketing 101 for a few minutes…

First and most importantly, marketing should be informed by a solid business strategy. The good news is that strategy makes marketing infinitely easier because it forces you to clarify and articulate exactly what you are selling, and to whom. The book that started me thinking was Blue Ocean Strategy, which outlines how to move away from “red oceans” (highly competitive markets) and uncover new markets/customers or “blue oceans,” while reducing costs and eliminating competition. I highly recommend this read.

Ten years ago, I wasn’t very strategic about my business. I would say that I “did” graphic design or, depending on who I was talking to, that I “did” web design. This was neither remarkable nor unmistakable, and I was focusing on deliverables, not outcomes or benefits. I had thousands of competitors.

So I got to work: I carefully considered the intersection of my strengths as a designer, my best projects, and the needs in the marketplace. I did client research, looked back through our history of projects, assessed the talent on our team and chose a niche for millercox.com. Then, I launched MightyLittleWebShop.com to market web design services. This new (dual) positioning has paid off in page one Google rankings and lots of inbound leads for both companies. These successes started with strategy.

Next week, I will talk about brand positioning. Until then, think about if your business strategy is strong enough to unlock new demand and eliminate your competitors. How are you going to get your company’s name onto page one of Google?

As always, feel free to email me at [email protected], tell me what you’re working on, and I’ll see how I can help.

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