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Problems are marketing gold dust!

If you think about it the greatest marketing and business successes have come from solving problems for people and businesses.

Going back in time we can think about how transport evolved.  The first bicycle was invented in 1865, enabling people to travel independently and faster then they could walking. In 1901 the first car with 4 wheels was developed and it went further in solving the problem that people had in getting about independently and quickly. Today the automobile industry continues to solve problems for people. Each car brand tries to have a different competitive advantage, offering marketing solutions to clients with particular 'problems'. For example, fuel efficiency, lowest carbon footprint, fastest 0 to 60. The list is endless!

Here are a few of my favourite examples of great marketing that has solved a problem and changed consumer behaviour:

  • The Sony Walkman - the convenience of listening to music on the move
  • Hair Straighteners - making it easier to achieve straight hair
  • Hair Conditioner -  softer more manageable hair
  • White bread with wheatgerm - the taste of white bread with the goodness of brown
  • Gas barbecues - more convenient way to cook food outdoors
  • Music streaming - access to any song (virtually) any time
But you don't have to solve such big problems for people and businesses to hit upon marketing gold dust! 

Take time to talk to your customers and ask them what problems they have and try to solve them. It could be a simple thing - they may want to hear from you or order from you more often, they could want to order on-line. These simple changes could  make them more loyal to you and increase your sales to existing customers.

 It could be that you identify the next big innovation in your sector but you won't know if you don't ask! If you are an existing business do your customer research. If you are a start up undertake market research before you write your business plan

Once you've hit upon your problem busting opportunities put time aside to develop a marketing strategy and plan.


Why do I need a USP?

Have you heard the phrase 'if you're marketing to everybody you're marketing to nobody'? Well that's essentially what you're doing if you aren't communicating a USP, unique selling proposition, to a clearly defined target audience. A strong relevant USP will help you to standout from the competition and motivate people to choose you.

Before you start you will need to have a very clear idea of who your target audience is. This is easier if you are an existing business. You will have data that you can analyse. It's good to think about who your best customers are - would you like more of them? Here are some thoughts on things to consider when defining your target audience:
  • They have a need for your product or service
  • You can market to them easily
  • They are likely to be regular customers
  • There are plenty of them
  • They are local if you need them to be
So once you have defined your target audience you can begin to develop your USP - the special something that you offer customers . You'll need to invest some time into doing this and here's a checklist to help:
  • List all of the things that make your business unique
  • Review your testimonials as they will help to add things to your list
  • Look at your competitors - how are they differentiating themselves?
  • You can then delete things from your list that are the same as your competitors
  • Ask customers why they first chose you as this will help you to refine your list too
  • Potential customers are key to understand as your final USP will help to make them customers so ask them what problems they want solving. 
  • Make a list of 3 to 5 USPs and do some small scale research with current and potential customers to check them out
Once you have your USP use it in everything your do from your ads to your email signature and even on your invoices. It will make you feel much more confident when talking about your business when presenting and networking.



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