What is the difference between ‘positioning’, ‘differentiation’ and ‘brand’

A member of The Marketing Compass asked me:

“What is the difference between ‘positioning’, ‘differentiation’ and ‘brand’.

Positioning refers to where the company (or brand) sits in the marketplace in relation to its competitors. This is usually seen via a chart with an X & Y axis. Think about supermarkets and how they range from low cost / no frills  through to up market operators such as Waitrose. If you looked at price versus service, the first type of supermarket would be bottom left and Waitrose would be top right.

Differentiation refers to the ways in which an enterprise or brand stands out from the crowd. Norwegian Airlines currently offers return flights from London to Los Angeles for £400 (!) on Boeing Dreamliner aircraft (which are relatively lightweight and fuel efficient). Therefore their key point of differentiation is price.

A brand is a promise. It is the offer that the enterprise holds out to the marketplace. For example, you always know that you can return goods to John Lewis and that they will not make a fuss. Here are some branding tips, by the way.

Here is my 4 step marketing model:
1. Marketing plan
2. Website
3. Promotion
4. Selling / conversion (the latter is an ecommerce term)

If you have a clear strategy that is embodied with your marketing plan, things will go better for you. The plan would include your decisions on positioning, differentiation and brand, amongst other things.

Does all of this apply to services? The brief answer is that, yes, it most certainly does.

Website not working? This may well be to do with the lack of a marketing plan and the clear direction that it gives you with regards to differentiation etc.

Nigel Temple offers an in-house / 1-2-1 marketing plan training course, during which we build your plan.  He is also a website developer (there is a lot to be said for keeping busy, isn’ there?)

Website navigation bar tips

Imagine that you are looking for a specific product or service that you market. Now take a look at your website. Does your navigation make it easy to find the relevant item? Is it easy to understand? Is everything in the right order?

Here is a simple navigation bar:

Home
About
Services (or Products)
Blog
Contact

Notice that there are only 5 options.

in general terms, fewer is better.

An upper limit would be 9 items.

Use drop downs to reveal other options.

Ensure that the menu works well on smartphones and other mobile devices.

If the customer hasn’t visited your site before, they will be looking for something. If they can’t find it quickly, they will disappear.

Visitors will spend a few seconds looking for what they’re after. If it is buried or difficult to find, you’re making them work too hard and they will go elsewhere.

My first book was about writing words for websites. During the research for this book, I looked at hundreds of website navigation bars.

By the way, there is a trend away from navigation bars altogether. Here an example: www.marketingrobot.co.uk

Website development

You have 1 second to convince customers to stay on your website

Imagine that you are seeing your website homepage for the very first time.

The website has  1 second to convince you to ‘stick around town’.

Two types of people visit your site: strangers and friends. Strangers include people who are looking to buy and friends include customers and people that know you.

They are busy. They are on a mission. They want an answer to their question or a way to solve their problem and they want it now.

Online, first impressions count.  The customer’s heart will either sing or sink as they look at your site.

How many customers are you losing, by not passing the ‘1 second homepage’ test?

Website development

A copywriting tip leads to activity and connection requests within LinkedIn

Yesterday, I posted the following copywriting tip within LinkedIn:

“A contact has updated their website with new wording. I noticed that there are some typos. I have found that if I point out grammatical and punctuation challenges, the changes are made and little learning takes place. So I gave this feedback: “There are a few typos on the homepage. I suggest that you read the webcopy out loud and slowly. When I lead copywriting workshops, the delegates are amazed by what they pick up, when they do this.”

I was quite surprised by the amount of feedback that it received. At the time of writing this comprised:  7 Likes, 4 Comments and 572 Views (scroll down to see a screenshot). Nothing to write home about, you may say, but not bad for a short social media update.

As you can see, the update comprised a tip. It was concise. As people began to comment, I responded to their comments.

This morning, I have had 2 new connection requests within LinkedIn and several new notifications. So I have posted another tip, this time on MailChimp training.

LinkedIn is a big subject and they have a habit of moving things around, don’t they?

~ Nigel Temple provides LinkedIn training for professionals and sales teams ~

What do the green LinkedIn profile buttons mean?

Have you noticed the green buttons that sometimes appear just underneath the circular photo of a member of LinkedIn?

Starting informal conversations via a LinkedIn message can be an effective way of getting noticed and moving onto a business topic.

You can now see who is online and available, within LinkedIn.

On a desktop / laptop, click on ‘My Network’ / ‘See all’.

A list of your connections appears. Some of them will have a green dot (they are logged into LinkedIn and they are using a desktop / laptop).

On a mobile, visit a connection’s profile to see their ‘green dot status’.

If the green dot has a white centre, they are on LinkedIn via a mobile phone.

This feature works for paying and non-paying LinkedIn members.

Connect with Nigel here:  https://www.linkedin.com/in/nigeltemple

Is it worth having a CRM?

Is it worth the time, trouble and expense of having and using a CRM (Customer Relationship Management) system?

The answer is that, yes, it is.

In my experience, it is a challenge to keep track of details and information when you are marketing and selling, as the information escalates exponentially. You end up with lists or a spreadsheet full of dozens, hundreds or even thousands of people.

If you are busy and the sales leads are coming in, you need to keep track of current sales opportunities. At the same time, it is important not to ignore dormant customers and your future sales pipeline.

For example, you may ask yourself: Who else is involved in making this decision? What did they tell me six months ago? Are they on LinkedIn? Is there a direct dial telephone number for this person?

The best CRM for your enterprise is the one that you actually use.

All too often, the software can be difficult to setup and too complicated to use on a day to day basis.

Have it open at all times. Record details as you receive them*.

In an interconnected age, choose a CRM that integrates with other software applications that you use.

For example, Capsule CRM integrates properly with MailChimp and Gmail.

Once I have sent a proposal by Gmail, with one click I can add that person into Capsule. When I look at their profile in Capsule, it shows me the email and the PDF proposal – which I can open with one click. I can then add this opportunity to my sales pipeline, which means that I won’t forget about it.

The benefits of having a CRM system

Capsule CRM training

* Please bear the GDPR legislation in mind when you record and store data.

Social media broadcasting versus engagement

Within social media, an example of ‘broadcasting’ would be sharing your blog entries. Some companies do little else.  A few of them are very good at doing this, particularly if the blogs are relevant to their target market and are well written, helpful and useful.

Sadly, this is not always the case. You may be aware of some enterprises / brands that churn out huge volumes of blog material, much of which is of little value.

An alternative strategy is engagement. For example, you can ask a member of Twitter a question by sending a Tweet which includes their Twitter handle. They will see that they have been mentioned via ‘Notifications’.

Another example would be the use of instant messaging with LinkedIn or Facebook. As I am writing this post, my smartphone has been pinging, as new instant messages arrive via LinkedIn.

In addition, you can of course Like, Comment or Share other people’s content. I am selective when I do this and I only Like content which is interesting, thought provoking etc.

When I comment on someone’s social media content I am always positive. I am not saying that you should do what I do, and I have noticed that other people can be controversial or negative in their comments. I have always wondered if this works for them, if they have something to market / sell?

An effective strategy is to combine broadcasting with engagement. Yes, I realise that this is time consuming but it beats cold calling,  doesn’t it?

As always, I welcome comment and feedback on my posts.

A CRM system that works with MailChimp

For several years, I have been a MailChimp trainer.  During the training sessions, I am often asked about CRM solutions that work with MailChimp. There are several options and one that I like is Capsule CRM.

Capsule is a cloud based system. You can login to it via a website browser or via their App (which is very useful). You can create a free account and experiment with it (with up to 250 contacts).

The best CRM (Customer Relationship Management system) for your business is the one that you actually use.

I have read countless stories in the marketing and business press regarding complex databases, that have cost a great deal of money,  which have failed.

Many CRMs are too complicated and take too long to learn.

You can install a CRM on your own office server and there may well be good reasons for doing this, i.e. if it integrates with your accounting / e-commerce system.

Alternatively, you can use a cloud based system. This option can be easy to implement and inexpensive to run.

MailChimp and Capsule and be linked together via an API (Application Programming Interface).

I have got to know the Capsule CRM well as we use it every day within The Marketing Compass and I offer Capsule CRM training.

 

How to set sales and marketing targets

Setting sales and marketing targets works and this will make a big difference to your results.

I have used them for years and when I work with a client we always go through a target setting process.

“Setting goals is the first step in turning the invisible into the visible.” ~ Tony Robbins

A. Financial targets (start here):

1. Turnover for the year ahead

This is an important target. If you don’t have a turnover target to aim for, anything could happen and it probably won’t be good.

2. Turnover per month

Start with your break-even figure, then add a buffer. In general, I have found that people tend to set targets which are too low.

3. Profitability for the year ahead

If you don’t have an objective in mind, profitability could be anything, couldn’t it?

4. Profitability for per month

The idea is to make money every month.

B. Customer targets

The number and type of customers that you will require to achieve the above targets.

If you segment your market, this process will be much easier.

C. Website targets

How many Unique Visitors, page views etc you will need for your website per month and annually.

In addition, set a target for the number of sales enquiries / sales that will come from your website.

If e-commerce is part (or all) of your business, then you will require a more in depth set of website targets.

D. Promotional mix targets

Begin with outputs, for example the number of blogs that you are going to write per month as well as  the target word count per blog.

Go through each promotional technique that you use and set targets. There are hundreds of promotional techniques to choose from, by the way.

If you are using a lot of them, then you may need to catalogue the techniques and set output, sales leads and sales targets per technique and also for each marketing mix category (i.e. advertising, events).

Having clear sales and marketing targets will help to keep you focused on the important tasks, not just the urgent ones.

E. Sales targets

Set targets for the number of customer contacts and key objectives such as sales meetings,  proposals and closing ratio per month. See: Selling professional services

Get your team involved

If you work with other people, get them involved with target setting and measurement. Unrealistic targets can be demoralising however, it is a good idea to set exciting growth targets which the whole team understands and is committed to.