(Photo by Easa Shamih)
Imagine you’ve landed on the beautiful Caribbean island of Sa Lez. It’s sunny, populated, healthy, and bustling with activity. As you wander around you notice that there are no stores, only market stalls. At each of the hundreds of stalls, you see that each vendor lists what they offer and their price. How would you choose which vendor to purchase from?
It’s clear that the vendor’s price list alone is likely not enough to sway your purchase. Digging deeper, you might compare vendors based on location, or best selection, or longest line, or best looking display, or best smile. You’re using other cues to help you pick the best vendor for your needs.
This is the essence of marketing. How can a business owner help people to choose their products or services? It starts by identifying the type of person who’s looking for what you’re selling, and clearly articulating what makes your offering better for them.
Now, imagine you have one of the stalls at the market. What should you do to get more customers? Here are some varied approaches:
- Sit in your stall, and watch what people touch and ask for (passive learning).
- Give a talk at the entrance of the market that gets everyone excited to buy from you (active sales).
- Do something wild, that strongly gets the attention of a few people (so they tell their friends), while the rest of the people ignore you completely (guerrilla marketing).
- Hand out flyers at the entrance with a special free treat that many of the people there are appreciative of (but few remember or talk about) (product sampling).
There’s no absolute right or wrong approach to market your business. The right solution is the one that works for you and your prospective customers. While experts can suggest the best practices to begin your marketing strategy, ultimately it’s up to you to fine-tune the approach to customize it for your specific needs.