First, a grateful acknowledgement to Tim Totten of Final Embrace for giving me a well needed kick in the blog!  I met Tim yesterday while doing some blog marketing and he reminded me that my blog was suffering from malnourishment.  I promised Tim that I would get my blogging act together!  And the Marketing Goddess never breaks a promise!  So, here’s to you Tim!

My favorite quote on the planet:  “The best definition of insanity is to do things the way they’ve always been done and expect different results!”  Although I don’t remember who said it (I could goggle it), but that is not the point.  Its application to marketing is the point.

Let’s look deeper!  It is often the case with niche markets that they forget those creative solutions that make them stand out from their competitors.  Those really important “Ah Ha!” and “What If” moments that sparks organic growth.  About now, I ALWAYS get the weirdest looks from clients as they point out that they either get as much business as anyone else in their market or they assure me that their services are popular with their customers. 

Always remember:  Marketing has a two sided function. 
1—Attack the Company:  This is a serious microscopic look at your product and service to see where you can reach out to customers even if your company has to change.  Many customers feel the need to defend their companies, but, in fact, it would be like the doctor giving you medication.  It might be bitter and hard to swallow, however, look at it from a detached perspective if you can and take the medication!  The pain only last a second.
2—Dominate the World:  A good marketer will not accept anything less and neither should you.  Which would you rather?  A marketing company who is interested in gaining 5 new clients or 10 new clients?  Granted, marketing is NOT a short term solution.  Great marketing puts you are a road to successfully lining customers up outside of your door and maintains the flow of new business.  It’s not how much business you deserve (all great respect to my hero Jack Welch!)…it is how much business will you settle for?
Once you accept those two ideas, Great Marketing is within your reach!  Now, grab my hand (electronically speaking of course!) and walk outside the box with me.

Ask yourself these five top questions:
1–Do I have a viable market plan?
2– Do I really know what my customer wants?
3–What new trends can I incorporate into what I already do to meet customer needs?
4–Do I have the proper partnerships in place to really maximize my exposure?
5–Are you constantly in contact with your customer base?

A quick case study in dedication to Tim’s market (Funeral Services):
Audience Analysis (this would commonly be a part of your SWOT analysis—ask if you want to know!!):  People who need funeral services after losing a loved one.
1–Do I have a viable market plan?  A market plan will include all the pretty bells and whistles that answer the most important questions…how will I attack?, where will I attack?, what do I want to gain from this attack?, and how much will it cost me?  These are all important because you want to get every $ back that you put into a marketing approach.  So, set goals.  Know what you want and how you will get it.  Also, know how to measure what you will receive for your investment!  This marketing plan will give you a quick and easy map for your marketing.
2–Do I really know what my customer wants?  In the funeral market, one would assume that traditional is king.  But….NEVER ASSUME.  As with any market, your customer decides what is important.  Remember, we are outside of the box.  What if you offer theme funerals?  You’re thinking cheesy right?  Are you thinking of an incredibly patriotic military themed funeral?  Outside of the box says offer your customer what they want to make it perfect for them.  Much the same as weddings, don’t stand at the doorway and wish you could offer this or that.  Ask your customer….”when you think of the perfect funeral, what do you see?”  Make that happen!  Even if you need to hire an event planner…make it happen!
3–What new trends can I incorporate into what I already do to meet customer needs?  Now, the world is full of new and useful social marketing tools that can be used in every facet of life!  For example, do you have a website?  A blog?  An online memorial services page for each funeral where people can get together online to remember their loved ones.  Do you have the ability to offer web cam abilities so long distance relatives can log in to your system and virtually be at the funeral?  Perhaps leave notes of comfort for the family from far away?  Really, walk outside of the box with me!
4–Do I have the proper partnerships in place to really maximize my exposure?  In the example above, perhaps you seek sponsorship or partnerships from FTD (or another large online flower shop).  This way, when people are viewing the services they can send flower to their loved ones.  Are there other partnerships that will support and grow your business?  Reach out to them and explain WHY you should partner together.
5–Are you constantly in contact with your customer base?  This is the most disappointing to me in our online, wired up, constantly connected world.  In past days, we would struggle to make sure we kept in contact with each customer.  Now that is it easier, we don’t work at it.  It takes several contacts before your customers see you.  Do a postcard mailing promoting your “Respect for Military” funerals.  Send out emails to your customer base (opt-in only PLEASE!!) with a short message of services and how you can help prepare.  Get in contact.  Funeral services are always preaching about pre-planning for pre-need.  Take your own advice!

You see, marketing does take thought, planning, and insight.  You have to really understand the people you are trying to reach and then take the mountain to them.  Even if that means doing things in your field that others are not doing.  Don’t continue to walk the same ground because you don’t want people to look at you.  That goes against every marketing grain known to mankind.  THE BASIS OF MARKETING IS….people are looking at you and talking about you!
Now, get out there and start some buzz in your business.

If you have questions, comments, or emotional outburst….well, that is why I am here!
Diana, Marketing Goddess (Magic Touch Marketing @ www.marketingsc.com)

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