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Solving the Marketing Puzzle

by Julie Chance

Imagine that I handed you a clear plastic bag with 1,000
piece jigsaw puzzle in it and asked you to put the puzzle
together as quickly as possible. What would likely be the
first thing you would ask for? What would you want in order
to make the task more doable?

Would it help you in completing the activity if I also
provided you a picture of the completed puzzle? Of course.
Without the picture of what you are trying to create you
have no point of reference. You don't know if those blue
pieces with white on them are part of the sky or an ocean
with white caps. Are the red pieces part of a flower or the
side of a barn?

Developing and implementing marketing and promotional
activities like advertising, direct mail, a website, a
brochure, or even networking without a marketing plan is
like putting together a jigsaw puzzle without the picture on
the cover of the box. The marketing plan gives you a point
of reference and direction for implementing your promotional
activities. To successfully market your business you must
create the vision or the picture of the outcome, and then
document that vision in an action plan format. Only then
should you begin implementing promotional activities.

There is a tendency for business owners - those we are
established as well as those who are just getting started --
to start trying to put together the puzzle without first
taking the time to determine what the final picture should
look like, making sure they have all the pieces, and sorting
out pieces that may belong to another puzzle. They want to
start with developing or revising their website. Or they
think a brochure or an ad is the silver bullet that will
bring in lots of business. They spend a lot of time and
money then in the end they are disappointed with the
results. The key to solving the marketing puzzle is to be
sure you have each piece of the puzzle and that these pieces
are assembled to create the outcome you desire: Develop
Your Vision: Describe your five to ten year vision for your
company. This is a vision not a set of goals - it should
have emotion. Dream big. Remember if you shoot for the moon
and miss you'll still be among the stars. Identify Target
Markets: Who uses the product? What are the needs, wants,
challenges of the target market(s) you serve? Why do they
buy? Where do they buy? Who are the decision makers? Who are
the influencers?

Define Your Product: What products/services or
product/service lines do you offer? What problems do each
product/service or product/service line meet? What are the
features and benefits of each product/service or
product/service line?

Identify Competitive Advantages: Who are your potential
competitors? What is there value proposition? Where do you
have an advantage over your competitors? Whey do they have
an advantage over you?

Develop Market Position and Brand Identity: What is the
picture you want your prospective customers to see when they
think about your company and your products/services?

Formulate Your Message: You must: capture attention;
identify problems, needs and wants; describe the product;
tell them the benefit and value they will receive; give your
message credibility; and tell them what you want them to do

Formulate Your Marketing Strategy: What strategies will
you use to reach potential prospects initially and build
visibility? How will you collect contact information? How
will you build credibility? What will your continuous
communication program be? How will you close sales?

Identify Promotional Tactics: What vehicles will you use
to communicate to your target market?

Develop and Implement Your Action Plan: What specific
actions steps need to be taken when? Who is responsible for
implementing the action steps and what will it cost? Put it
down on paper. Before you begin investing - or invest any
more - money in your promotional efforts be sure you take
the time to define what you want your final picture to look
like. Then you can begin solving the marketing puzzle one
piece at a time.

Julie Chance is president of Strategies-by-Design, a
Dallas-based marketing coaching, training and consulting
firm that helps businesses from specialty retailers to
professional service firms Map A Path to Success by
implement marketing programs that work. Interested in
learning more? Explore teleseminars presented by Julie at, the training division of
Strategies-By-Design. While you are there be sure to get
your certificate for a Free Teleclass.

This article was submitted by - Julie Chance Please Rate/Review this Article - Recommend it to friends

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