Paul the psychic Octopus and Marketing for SMEs
We’re sure you’ve all heard of the remarkable tale of Paul the clairvoyant octopus, who correctly predicted the winner in all 8 of the matches he was prompted to, at this year’s World Cup.

Whilst his feat is certainly unlikely and many seem convinced of his psychic abilities, the cynic in us here, feels fairly confident that it was merely coincidence.

But what has psychic Paul the octopus got to do with marketing, I hear you ask?

All too often, SMEs leave their marketing success to chance. They might as well let psychic Paul loose with their marketing budget and see what happens. Would you feel confident in putting your marketing fate into the ‘tentacles’ of a clairvoyant Octopus, regardless of his past success at predicting the future?

If the answer is yes, then good luck to you. If it works, you’ll have a great press release on your hands! However, for those of us that would like a more stable foundation on which to make our marketing decisions, there is no substitute for proper marketing planning and preparation.

We keep shouting about it and that is because we believe that investing time, energy and money (sometimes) in this area will reap significant rewards down the marketing road. SMEs are notoriously keen to shun planning and preparation, in favour of pursuing ad hoc business interests. This attitude is a major factor in why many businesses are finding their marketing does not deliver the return on investment they expect and their business needs.

So what can you do about it?

3 crucial areas that you need to know about before you embark on any marketing campaign are:

  1.  What is your market? Not what you think it is, but actually research who your service / products appeal to? You may be surprised at some of the market segments that are interested in what you do.
  2. What are your customers / potential customers’ needs? Why are they buying / would they buy your products or services? What needs are you satisfying?
  3. Who are your competitors and what are they doing? Again, not just those you are immediately aware of. You need to research a bit further, consider your indirect competitors too.

Only once you have this information as minimum, should you consider formulating a marketing plan.

It has been proven that there is a direct link between the long-run profitability of a business and its ability to get a clear understanding of its customers’ needs. It makes sense really, if you know what someone wants and why they want it, it should be fairly straightforward to offer a service or product that meets that need.

The crucial next step is giving them a reason to get it from you. Here’s where knowing what your competitors are up to becomes vital. Armed with this information, you are in an ideal situation to position your company’s offering in a unique and competitive way that creates a compelling case for why your customers / prospects should use you.

As the old adage goes, fail to plan and plan to fail. This can certainly apply to marketing. A bit of planning and preparation will significantly push the odds of marketing success in your favour, giving you facts and figures on which to make your marketing decisions rather than the whim of a psychic octopus called Paul in a German aquarium.

Free Marketing MOT for Hampshire Businesses
As part of our quest to get SMEs planning their marketing more, TLC Business allocate a limited number of free marketing MOTs to businesses based in Hampshire that want to improve their marketing’s performance. Many businesses have benefitted from one already so don’t delay and book your MOT today. Visit our marketing MOT page for more information.

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