10 Simplified Rules Of Marketing


Introduction & Background To The List

I’ve been speaking, presenting and consulting for more than 20 years. During that time, I’ve had the opportunity to meet with and work with large businesses, small businesses, entrepreneurs and veterans.  I’ve interacted with non-profits and educational institutions.  I’ve been a keynote speaker, a participating panelist, and even given the commencement address for a college graduation.

This original list was developed for one of those presentations. I was given a three hour window of time during an annual industry trade summit. Three hours is a lot of time to fill. So I created a list of what I knew to be true in the world of marketing.

That was in 2012. And while the words and phrases have been edited through the years, the list has remained pretty much in tact. It’s been reviewed and tested frequently.  I continue to use them frequently in workshops I conduct.

I’ve found their simplicity to be beneficial in helping inspire, teach and consult business owners struggling with the concept of a marketing plan.

I subscribe to the principal behind rule #9 in much of what I do on a daily basis and hope the simplicity of these rules help you too find clarity in the marketing work you’ll do.  – Cary

The Rules

1. THEY DON’T KNOW WHAT YOU DO: As a business owner, you know more about what you offer and are closer to your business day-to-day than the average prospect and even customer. So when putting your messaging and campaigns together, it’s best not to assume your target customers know what you do or how it will help them solve a problem.

2. THEY DON’T CARE WHAT YOU DO: On average your prospective customers may be too consumed with their own schedules, tasks, deadlines and daily life to notice the details of your business on a regular basis. It’s a good idea to remember that the conversations you have 100 times a week may be a first to the next customer.

3. UNTIL THEY NEED WHAT YOU DO: Life is busy and we live in an age of micro-moments and instant gratification. When someone needs what you offer, ask yourself – will they think of me first? Will they find your business online when they are looking? Evaluate your readiness and visibility from a customer’s point of view and see if you are ready to provide answers, resources, and value any time of the day from any device the customer wishes to use.

4. IF IT’S HARD TO FIND THEY WON’T FIND IT: Remember that your habits, likes, and frustrations as a consumer may be similar to what frustrates your customers. So be sure to cover the basics with your website and materials whenever possible. Things that can be easily overlooked are pricing, phone numbers, and addresses. It can be easy for customers to look for alternatives and competitors for what you offer if the formation they are looking for is not visible and accessible.

5. IF IT’S HARD TO UNDERSTAND THEY WON’T REMEMBER IT: Your company messaging should be as simple as possible. If the features and benefits you choose to promote are focused on the needs of the specific audience you serve, the better your results will be. It’s always best to speak in customer-friendly language and not industry speak.

6. IF IT’S HARD TO DO THEY WON’T DO IT: Remember consumer attention spans are short. Consider that the goal of your marketing efforts should be to clearly define the benefit and value you provide as quickly as possible. Think about how can you make the process faster and easier for your customer.

7. WHAT YOU KNOW IS VALUABLE: It’s very common not to fancy yourself as a marketer or even think you can ‘do marketing’. However, please know that when it comes to effective marketing, reverse engineering your experience into proactive answers, resources, and materials is an extremely valuable exercise.  

8. YOU GET SECONDS NOT MINUTES: Remember that people are busy and there are many distractions constantly begging for their attention. You’ll do best if your messaging is quick to get to the point and makes it easy for customers to understand what to do next and how they will benefit.

9. SIMPLICITY IS WORTH MORE THAN CREATIVITY: Being creative and inventive with your marketing efforts can be rewarding. But if the customer has to say “what does that mean,” it’s all for not. To be effective, start with the basics and build from there. Don’t let creativity take you away from the basic goal.

10. THEY STILL DON’T KNOW WHAT YOU DO: You can do it all right and still have someone say “I didn’t know you did that”. It happens so keep at it. Be consistent, focused, and repetitive. And remember – Be consistent, focused, and repetitive.

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