Many businesses pursue a marketing strategy in the same short sighted, reactionary manner as yesterday's day traders. They never develop a marketing strategy. They do not consider the long term. They lack patience. And, like day traders, they receive the same dismal results.
Gambling your business future on an over-hyped, half-baked get-rich-quick marketing strategy is simply not a good idea. It is usually the common sense business marketing strategies that offer the most reliable road to success.
Drawn from more practical approaches to finance, I call this the Long Term Investment Analogy, and at its center is the development of a highly visible, credible business reputation.
Establish A "Reputation Fund"
In this hyper-competitive world, and consumer skepticism on the rise, it's crucial to invest in the one of the last things we can still count on--a good business reputation.
Raising your company's reputation quotient is surprisingly easy--if you begin with the right attitude. Instead of looking for a marketing miracle, you can build a profitable business reputation with series of small, sustained "deposits" that ultimately deliver long-term rewards based on patience, discipline and the magic of compounding.
All of this means a commitment to establishing a reputation fund.
Because prospects must decide whether or not to buy from you, your good reputation will be an insurance policy. It reduces the risk of doing business with you because prospects will know they are going to receive value and quality.
A Smart Investment Strategy
You don't have to wait for your reputation to "happen." You can design a reputation that meets your goals and shapes perceptions about your business while helping you stand apart from the crowd in a meaningful way. Your strategic "reputation marketing plan" will be based on the following principles:
VISIBILITY. A good reputation is only as effective as the number of people who know about you. There are many low cost, high impact ways to enhance your visibility, from writing to speaking to developing a convincing Internet presence. A commitment to sustained visibility is crucial to any successful reputation plan.
TARGETING. Visibility is ineffective if it reaches the wrong people. You must first determine the most desirable, profitable audiences to receive your message. Targeting means thoroughly understanding your ideal client/customer profile. It means learning what they read, what organizations they belong to and what web sites they visit. Make a list.
CREDIBILITY. Next, look for ways to build credibility into your business and ultimately your reputation. Today's consumers are suspicious. They want to know they are getting their money's worth. Your will need to make a case for yourself and give prospects a little "taste" of what you offer.
SHARING "EXPERT" KNOWLEDGE. If you've been in business for any length of time, you know something. Use your expert knowledge to make a case for yourself as a source of genuinely helpful information and one who makes a genuine contribution to your industry, clients and prospects.
Make Regular Contributions
Patient, smart investing - whether in stocks or your reputation - guarantees good results over the long term. The sooner you begin establishing your reputation, the easier it is to make it grow--much like compound interest can grow small, steady investments into a massive retirement payload.
But compounding takes time to work its miracles. Building a reputation that works for you means planting many seeds early on to reap the big harvest.
Be realistic. Although your initial deposits will look small at first, make no mistake -- they will, if sustained, work to your advantage in a big way, propelling you and your business throughout your career.