For most small businesses the concept of creating momentum through marketing is crucial. For the social purpose business it is vital.
It can take a tremendous amount of force (education and time) to get products and services moving but once moving, they tend to keep moving with less and less force – they achieve momentum.
Exposure is the first step to people learning about your services and then translating their good feelings about you into purchases. The best exposure develops over time and builds in momentum. There are three considerations that support this endeavour – thinking long, going wide, and getting narrow.
In preparing your marketing strategy, regardless of size it is critical to start with the big picture. The long game. The ultimate mission. Your marketing must express passion and relentless intensity.
On the television show Survivor, it is suggested that those who outwit, outplay and outlast will win. Because a social purpose business is focused on the triple bottom line (profit, people and planet), we’re not necessarily concerned with outwitting or outplaying, but we must be committed to outlasting. Longevity is a part of momentum and requires staying focused on the client and their current and changing needs.
Big picture thinking expresses itself as macro-leadership – the way the head of the company targets the big issues rather than the small ones. Time and effort spent on macro-management enables leaders to be as clear, decisive and disciplined at the ‘big picture’ level. Here are some of the questions the big picture CEO must ask while structuring their marketing strategy:
- Why does our organization exist and what is its purpose?
- What do we offer our customers and why is it of value to them?
- What metrics will we judge our organization by, to know we are successful or going the right direction?
- How are our behaviours, actions and personalities being expressed internally and to our customers and partners, and are they congruent?
Conrad Hilton says, “success seems to be connected with action. Successful people keep moving. They make mistakes, but they don’t quit.” By answering the above questions and taking incremental, actionable steps, momentum will begin.
This focus will build momentum and help you to not only think long, but ensure your company lives long.
You’ll get the best exposure when you deliver your message to your market from many different angles. Using only one form of communication is not as effective as casting wide, especially for the small business. Some vehicles to consider include:
- an interesting and informative website with great search term recognition and easy ways for customers to connect with you such as a bold “contact me.
- social media interactions across all channels where your audience congregates. Give and take, listening, and communicating back and forth generate the greatest buzz online.
- email and video marketing – these direct communications to customers and prospective clients inform them of all of your internal news.
- magazine articles, book chapters, and of course blog posts are some of the best business cards you can present to your future customers.
- networking where your customers hang out, such as conferences, annual general meetings, and online groups.
- presentations to decision makers and to those who will benefit directly from your services and products.
- day-to-day operations because marketing internally can be just as important as marketing externally and may be the key to your company’s momentum.
This wide net will eliminate the feeling of ‘selling’ and replace with a feeling of communicating with, understanding, and getting to know your customers. As Wayne Gretzky says, “you miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.” In marketing it is important to keep testing the best route to being where your clients are so they can take time to get to know you better.
Momentum will build as we gain wider exposure.
Jim Burns, president of Avitage Consulting suggests that investing in momentum marketing requires “a customer centric content strategy… a one size fits all mentality for content will not work.”
Although we are marketing wide, internally we are staying as narrow as possible. Having a narrow niche or specialty will help you prospect effectively and build momentum as you create a brand you want to be known for.
As someone who relentlessly tests, I have done so with our services. The feedback I consistently get is to just keep doing what we are doing (music therapy). “You do this the very best and the city needs you to focus on it.”
Niching = focusing on what you do well
You could follow the best social purpose business practices but if your product or service doesn’t appeal to your market, your business won’t gain traction. A successful social purpose business combines the cause with the needs of your target consumer, and offers the products that resonate with those needs and wants. Warby Parker is a shining example. They attract busy, cash-strapped millennials with quick, easy and affordable eyewear options, and then impact their customer with their social good mission.
As I have indicated in previous blog posts, JB Music Therapy is a service niche. It was formed to fill a gap that was not available to the public. Although we have a broad range of customers from infants to seniors, our niche is our service. When we‘ve branch out into other products and services beyond music therapy, we witnessed a decrease in our customer growth and profits.
As Dolly Parton says so eloquently, “you gotta keep trying to find your niche and trying to fit into whatever slot that’s left for you or to make one of your own.”
Do what you do well, all the time, and you can’t help but build momentum.
Through the social entrepreneur’s lens, building momentum can be far more important than growing profits (although these often follow along). When tough times strike and you are headed downhill, momentum comes easy; building upward momentum can feel far more difficult. However, the reward brings with it a sense of energy that fosters larger contributions to something greater than yourself.
How do you know if you have achieved marketing momentum? When you meet with someone you want to serve and they have already hired you.
By thinking about the big picture, casting a wide marketing net, and effectively articulating the story of your mission to your core niche, you’ll set your social purpose business up for success, all while building momentum.
Next week in this blog series we are talking about self-care in business and how that is going to help with your own momentum.