Shotgun or Rifle? Simplify the way you think about marketing

As we approach the 4th quarter of 2016, it’s a great time to increase your year-end marketing efforts to drive sales and revenue!

Yet, for most business owners, marketing is as painful as making a math major write an English paper!!  Marketing gets a bad rap – with money and time wasted on ineffective tactics and tools.

Reality is that in order for a business to grow, the right prospects have to know about it.  Here’s a simplified way to think about marketing – by taking either a shotgun or rifle approach.

Shotgun Approach

A shotgun approach refers to a literal shotgun, which fires a large number of small pellets that cover as wide an area as possible.  The idea is that if you shoot enough bullets, you’re bound to hit something!

Used for general branding, the shotgun approach typically produces more leads at a lower cost than rifle marketing.  The downside:  Lower-quality leads must be carefully vetted to ensure they fit the target market.

Examples of shotgun marketing include:  Advertising or press releases on websites or in newspapers and trade publications.  Using social media is typically pretty inconsistent, but may be justified for general branding.

The shotgun approach also includes networking in community and business groups, professional organizations, memberships on boards, and involvement with chambers of commerce, public service clubs, churches and local universities.

The goal is to expand your network and increase your reputation – ultimately creating connections that translate into sales.

Rifle Approach

Unfortunately, most business owners haven’t thoroughly identified their ideal customer or how to differentiate themselves from competitors – giving marketing a bad rap with lackluster sales results.

The rifle approach efficiently targets specific demographics with a single bullet aimed at certain selected targets or segments.  This approach generates fewer leads, but with much better quality, translating to much higher close rates.  Instead of a more broad approach, marketing is targeted to trade groups and specific niches that are easier to close.

Part of the “secret sauce” behind the rifle approach is utilizing research, mailing lists and 3rd parties to reach specific targets with the most compelling competitive advantages that turn prospects into customers.

If you apply the 20/80 Rule (what 20% of activity gives you 80% results) to get the most marketing impact with the least effort and dollars spent, consider using the rifle approach.  Direct mail, email marketing, events, advertising, PR and social media are highly targeted for optimal results.

Rifle Approach and EOS
Businesses running on EOS create a simplified strategic plan called a Vision/Traction Organizer, or V/TO.  The goal of the V/TO is to get everyone in the company 100% on the same page on who the company is, what is does best, where the company is going and how it’s going to get there.

EOS is all about the 20/80 Rule – especially in the Marketing Strategy segment of the V/TO, which defines the ideal customer and the differentiators – called 3 Uniques – that best attract them.  The more your customers know about your most compelling competitive advantages, the more deals you’ll close.

With your Marketing Strategy clarified in the V/TO, you have the foundation for a marketing plan that offers the greatest return on your marketing investment.

Still Hate Marketing?
Having a marketing plan will help your business survive and thrive!  Yet, many business owners are uncomfortable with it or overwhelmed by the choices and the amount of work.  If marketing isn’t for you, consider outsourcing the tasks to an expert.  Hiring someone will cost you, but it will also help your business survive – and even thrive in today’s competitive marketplace!
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