wardell books

Chapter 1: Marketing



To most people, marketing is promoting, advertising and selling. It's the ad they ran in last Saturday's newspaper, the sale they are having on old merchandise, or the clever way they handle objections in order to convince their customers to buy. But marketing is much more than just a way to make one more sale. Marketing is the vital link between business and society.

Think for a moment about the role marketing plays in our daily lives as consumers. Marketing informs us about new or existing products and makes those products available to us, no matter who creates them or where they are located. It shows us where to go for dinner, where to find a new pair of shoes and where to find entertainment.


In fact, we're continuously inundated with marketing messages. Some are helpful and some are not, but one could hardly imagine a day without them. This constant exposure to marketing has created a highly sophisticated consumer. Most people can see straight through the average sales pitch. Today, people want information, not hype, to help them make their decisions. As a result, the old “selling approach” to marketing is no longer adequate. It emphasizes products and services, maximizes short-term sales and stresses the needs of the seller. To successfully compete, today's business owners must stress value, focus on long-term and future relationships and emphasize the wants and needs of their customers.

The financial benefits of focusing on your customers are very real. It costs up to five times as much to attract a new customer as it does to keep an existing one, so forging a relationship should always take precedent over the closing of a sale.

Marketing must become a customer-focused attitude that permeates your entire business. In other words, every part of your business must be defined and operated from a marketing perspective. Your business must become a “marketing machine.”

Ninety-six percent of unhappy customers never complain, but 90 percent of those who are dissatisfied will not buy the product again. Each unhappy customer will tell his or her story to at least nine other people.

To this end, we'll use simple marketing research techniques to develop a thorough understanding of who your best customers are, and why they buy. We'll examine the position your business currently occupies in the marketplace and we'll determine what changes should be made to more effectively connect your business to your ideal customers. Then, we'll refocus your business so that your customers and prospects receive a clear and consistent marketing message.

Why go to all of this trouble before rolling out your next big promotional campaign? Two reasons:

First, you'll have more long-term success if your promotional campaigns are based on a sound marketing strategy. Your customers aren't just buying your products or services; they are interested in your business.

Second, promoting your business without identifying your marketing strategy can result in marketing messages that are inconsistent with your business, inadvertently sending mixed signals to your prospects and customers. For example, poor quality business cards might send a mixed message if your company sells expensive, high-end furniture. A simple, elegant card might be more appropriate. On the other hand, a simple elegant card might send the wrong message for an alternative graphic design company. These are simple examples, but they illustrate a point that holds true for every business.

Mixed signals weaken your position in the minds of your customers and prospects. Over time, that can spell disaster.

A Vancouver-based restaurant chain fell victim to this problem. The restaurants were attractive, the food was excellent and the staff was friendly. The company even had name recognition from a line of successful, ready-made vegetarian products which they marketed across the country. Everything about the restaurants suggested a uniquely, well-positioned fast food business except for one thing. They were too slow. The food took too long to prepare and the customers had to wait too long. Their efforts to maintain high quality on the one hand, resulted in slow service on the other, contradicting their “fast food image” in the minds of their customers. As a result, the restaurants never became profitable and were eventually shut down.