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Marketing 101

By Nick May
Owner at Walls By Design and Podcast Host at The Chaise Lounge

What is Marketing?
I’m a marketing major, but for the longest time didn’t truly understand what marketing was all about. Over time, I’ve created my own definition. Marketing is anything that communicates your value proposition. A marketing friend of-mine always said, “marketing is what you do when you cannot see someone face to face.” The problem with that definition is that I always market to people when they are right in front of me.

What is Your Value Proposition?
Your value proposition is the perceived value of your product or service. I may be willing to buy a Coke for $4 if it’s the only option in an airport or at an event venue. But if I’m at the office or in the grocery store, there is no way I’m spending $4 on a single Coke. The first coke, at the airport, has a convenience value. Another example of value proposition can be seen through car dealerships. You may buy an Audi from a lot of different places although you might recognize that the Audi at “Bob’s Used Car Lot” has a lower value that an Audi purchased at an Audi Dealership with a beautiful lobby, free snacks, and an indoor showroom. Make sense?

Don’t Just Market Your Business, Market Yourself
Your service has value too. Are you perceived as the cheaper option, like Bobs, or are you more like an Audi of Denver? Everything you do communicates a level of value. How you answer your phone (or don’t), the shirt you wear to a client’s home, your business card, your website, your ads, your Houzz profile, etc. All of these things tell a story and build a case in your client’s mind about how much your services are worth.

Passive vs Active Marketing
There are two categories of marketing: passive and active. Passive marketing is all the experiences that customers or potential customers have while dealing with you and your business. These are thing like your voicemail, the logo or dress code worn by your team, your sales process (if you have one), and any warranties you offer. It’s the customer experiencing the way in which you do business. Active marketing is everything you do to get the phone to ring. This includes social media posts, mailing postcards, magazine features, Google Ads, your Facebook page, and networking events. All active things you do or pay for to attract customers.

I talk to business owners all the time who tell me they don’t do anything to market their business. False! We all market our businesses every day… meaning we communicate value to the world every day (either adding or detracting from your value proposition). The more perceived value you can build into your marketing, the more money you will be able to charge your customers.

I run a painting business in Denver, CO, and we are no small operation. We have about 30 people on staff, but we only have about 17 painters. What does everyone else do? Answer phones, run our marketing, manage projects, move equipment to job sites, edit podcasts, write blogs, edit my horrible spelling and grammar, and on and on. All these things raise the value of painting homes for our customers. To EVERY customer? No. But in the big picture, the more well known we are, and the more on time we are, and the better we communicate to our customers, and the better we train our painters… the better experience our customers receive. Thus, our value is raised.

I was not always a good marketer, but I believe the better we are at marketing, the better our business will be… more customers equals more opportunities to learn and a higher perceived value. Not to mention we all win… our team, our customers and us, as the business owner.

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