Rediscovering a classic book is such a treat. Business books can, however, become outdated. New editions containing updates for changing market conditions can ensure a timeless and informative experience for the reader. In the field of marketing, Jay Conrad Levinson and his wife and business partner, Jeannie wrote a quintessential work on small business marketing, the Guerrilla Marketing Field Guide. They have released a new and updated version, serving the needs of a new generation of guerilla marketers.
Today, marketing seems very complicated. In a blog post last month for Entrepreneur.com, the Levinson’s argued that a marketing strategy, however, doesn’t have to be complex. They believe that a comprehensive strategy can be articulated in seven brief sentences:
- The first sentence tells the physical act your marketing should motivate.
- The second sentence spells out the prime benefit you offer.
- The third sentence states your target audience or audiences.
- The fourth sentence states what marketing weapons you plan to use.
- In your fifth sentence, you define your niche or what you stand for: economy, service, quality, price, uniqueness, anything.
- The sixth sentence states the personality of your company.
- The seventh sentence states your marketing budget, expressed as a percentage of your projected gross sales.
They describe in the book how such a strategy highlights the prospective buyers targeted by the marketing. They recommend starting with the people and then working backward to the offering. By organizing this way, results become more easy to attain, planning to obtain the results has meaning, and a specific call to action can be developed without much additional work. By doing this “blocking and tackling,” your team is able to anticipate market shifts over the long haul. The Levinson’s suggest the following:
The strategy must be expressed in writing, and it should not contain headlines, theme lines or copy. The strategy is devoid of specific marketing copy because it must be solid, yet flexible. Specific words and phrases pin you down. A strategy should be developed as your guide, not as your master.
After you’ve written all seven steps, read it a couple of times, then put it away for 24 hours. It’s just too important to be accepted — or rejected — hastily. Look at your strategy from a fresh perspective on a different day. See if you still love it and believe in it.
When is the best time to change that strategy? The first time you see it — before you’ve invested any money in it. After you’ve finalized it, don’t change it again for at least six months; then do a review and see if you need to tweak your strategy. If you have it right, you may not need to make any changes for several years.
Your approved strategy should be pinned up on bulletin boards and emblazoned in the minds of everyone who creates marketing for you. Keep the strategy handy in a drawer, on your desktop, or in an accessible file so you can reach for it the moment anyone presents even a tiny opportunity for marketing to you . . . or when you have a killer idea yourself.
Now that you know what we mean by marketing strategy, it’s time for you to create one for yourself.
Ask yourself these questions so you can create your seven-sentence marketing strategy:
What physical act do I want people to take after being exposed to my marketing (click here, call a phone number, complete this coupon, or look for my product next time they’re at the store)?
What prime benefit do I offer? What competitive advantage do I want to stress?
Who is my target audience?
What marketing weapons will I use?
What will my market niche be?
What identity do I want my business to have
My marketing budget will be _______% of our projected gross sales.
Following this outline will help organize your small business around what’s really important. Good luck!