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?)

Marketing strategy advice for a service firm startup

A member of The Marketing Compass asked me for some feedback and ideas for their new consultancy business. Here is my answer:

“I recommend that you position yourself as an expert in your field and continually educate your marketplace by sharing what you know.

This can be done in many ways. However, the key will be in your actions and how you demonstrate your expertise.

For example, you could write a concise e-book that displays your knowledge. It only has to be a few thousand words in length. You can then publish this as an Amazon Kindle e-book, as I have done here: Webcopy Writing

An e-book can be expanded and turned into a print book. There are now several ‘print-your-book-on-demand’ services for low volume runs.

By the way, a blog can feed an e-book; therefore, why not plan the book in terms of chapters and sections and then blog the whole thing, one post at a time?

Another brand building idea is to give talks, i.e. at networking events or wherever members of your target market gather together.

In addition, relentlessly gather together testimonial statements and case studies, as your business grows – and upload these to your website. This is called social proof. It is better to have the customer saying how great you are, rather than you saying this yourself.”

12 questions: your 2016 marketing strategy

Nigel TempleHave you thought about your 2016 marketing strategy? Here are 12 quick questions to ask yourself:

1.  What is your offer to the marketplace? (This should be a simple sentence or two that anyone can understand).
2.  What is the one key thing that you want customers to remember about your brand, next year?
3.  Are you going to launch any new products / services in 2o16? (Hint: you can’t keep selling the same old stuff forever, can you?)
4.  Have you reviewed your pricing, for the year ahead? Should it go up, stay the same, or go down?
5.  What is your digital marketing strategy for 2016?
6.  What is your mobile marketing strategy for the year ahead?
7.  How will you out-innovate your competitors, with regards to marketing, in the New Year?
8.  Who is going to do the webcopywriting?  (“The more you write, the more you sell.”) Remember that writing for the web is different to writing for print.
9.  Which social media platforms will you focus on, and why?
10.  What do you plan to learn, marketing wise, in 2016? (In a fast changing environment, success goes to the learners).
11.  Are you asking yourself the right marketing questions?
12.  How will you measure your success? Brand awareness? Website stats? Social media connections? Sales leads? Turnover? Profitability? Market share? Something else?

Written by marketing consultant, trainer, speaker and author Nigel Temple.
Join the marketing conversation within The Marketing Compass community.
Discover how to work with Nigel for £97 +VAT:  www.navigatorplus.co.uk

Marketing strategy advice

I’m often asked for marketing strategy advice as I have worked with several thousand businesses in this area. Here are some of the questions that I ask, during an initial conversation:

*  Do you have a business plan?
*  When was the last time that this was reviewed?
*  Do you have a written marketing plan?
*  How often do you look at it?
*  What is your turnover target for the year ahead?
*  What is your profitability target for the year ahead?
*  Which customer segments are you targeting and can you describe them to me?
*  How many customers / clients will you need to achieve this target?
*  How are you positioning your business?
*  What makes your brand stand out from the crowd?
*  Where do you keep your customer records?
*  How often do you contact dormant, current and prospective customers?
*  How many products / services do you have?
*  Is your pricing maximising your profit potential?
*  Where are your customers (local, regional, national, global, online)?
*  With regards to promotional activities, are they:
a) Primarily time based (i.e. your time)
b) Based on a modest budget + your time
c) Primarily budget based (i.e. using marketing communications
agencies and / or marketing staff or freelancers)
*  Have sufficient numbers of customers heard of you?
*  Are you generating sufficient sales enquiries?
*  How are you measuring your marketing results?
*  What does the measurement tell you?

Are you happy with your marketing strategy? Do you have enough customers? If you could use some  help, you can join The Marketing Compass, attend one of our events, send me an email or call me on 01628 773128.

Brand strategy

All businesses, no matter what size, should ‘think brand’. Here is a Mind Map (click to expand) which shows the key elements of branding. Scroll down to see a checklist, which explains what the branches mean.

Branding Mind Map by Nigel Temple

Brand strategy

Begin with a clear set of objectives for your brand. What does it stand for? What is the one word which you would like customers to associate with your brand? What short phrase sums up your brand and sets it apart from the crowd? The key issue is to differentiate your brand – which may not be easy if you are operating in a crowded marketplace. (If you have a startling new idea for a brand, then your challenge may be explaining it!)

Successful brands are built on strong values

If you are creating a brand, it will be built on your values. Write a list of your values and include them within your marketing plan.

What’s the big idea, then?

Successful brands are underpinned by a central idea. What is the big idea which drives your brand? (If there is any difficulty in responding to this question – call me).

Do your products / services fit with your brand?

Are they aligned with your brand values? Do they support the brand or detract from it?

The customer journey

From initial encounter and awareness, to desire, purchase and advocacy – is there brand consistency? I am not just referring to your visual brand identity, I am talking about brand identity and character.

Visual brand identity

Are you using your logo, colours and typeface consistently? For example, I have used Arial for as long as I can remember. I use it within my website, blogs, emails and all of my printed matter.

Staff, colleagues, teams – do they get your brand?

Does everyone within your enterprise understand what your brand is all about? Gather them together and ask them to write down what your brand stands for. Compare the results. (Be prepared for a surprise). Incidentally, engaged staff create the best brands. (If you would like me to come over and do this exercise, you are welcome to contact me).

Promotional mix

Is your promotional mix integrated? Does it all have a consistent look and feel or is it all over the place?

The human brain and branding

People love stories. What stories are there to tell about your brand? How are you getting these stories out there? People learn through experience – what kind of experience does your brand deliver? Above all, how does it make your customers feel?

Brand results

An established brand is worth more money than a non-branded enterprise. Brands attract more customers and they deliver a higher level of profitability than their commodity cousins.

If you would like to talk to me about your marketing strategy and brand – by all means get in touch. This could be one of the most important and influential conversations you ever have about your business.

Nigel Temple

Nigel is a marketing consultant, author, speaker and trainer. He shows businesses how to get better results from 21st century marketing – starting with marketing strategy and brand positioning. He advises business owners, boards of directors and teams.

Nigel has taught marketing strategy since 1996. He has an honours degree in marketing and served as a Faculty Member and Course Director at CIM (the Chartered Institute of Marketing) for 12 years. He led over 500 Business Link workshops, focusing on marketing strategy and internet marketing. Today, he delivers marketing events for The Marketing Compass which provides impartial marketing advice for business owners.

To find out more about Nigel’s services email joanna@nigeltemple.com or call Joanna on +44 (0)1628 773128.

He welcomes media enquiries about 21st century marketing, social media and digital marketing. He has appeared within the national press and broadcast media.

Nigel is the founder of The Marketing Compass – join thousands of business owners, tell us about your business and ask some marketing questions!

Follow Nigel on Twitter: http://twitter.com/nigeltemple

Internet marketing strategy

Here is a Mind Map which shows the key elements of internet marketing strategy (click to expand). Scroll down to discover what the map means and to read a checklist…

Internet Marketing Strategy

I often use Mind Maps when I am delivering internet marketing talks / presentations. I find that they help the audience to see the ‘big picture’. This Mind Map is all about internet marketing strategy and the branches refer to the following key points:

Internet marketing objectives

What is the primary objective of your internet marketing (i.e. website, SEO, newsletter, videos, social media)? To create awareness? To build relationships? To generate sales and revenue? I have asked thousands of seminar delegates this question. Interestingly, they are often hesitant in answering. How about you: do you know what the primary mission of your website is? If you are unsure, could this explain why you are not getting the results you are after?

Internet marketing skills

Are you technical by nature? Do you love to write? Are you a marketing professional? Successful websites are driven by strategic marketing thinking; they contain well written, compelling copy (website words); and they work seamlessly (i.e. the technology works so well that you don’t really notice it, in the same way that you don’t notice a car engine – until it starts playing up).

Online attraction processes

Are your website, newsletter and social media interactions engaging your customers, or failing to get their attention and interest? Are you educating them, when they are hungry for knowledge?

Content Management Systems

Which CMS do you use? Have you received any training, with regards to its features and functionality?

Social media campaigns

‘Social’ and ‘Search’ are merging. Now is the time to build your social media network. Don’t just be a ‘broadcaster’ (which is boring): be a conversationalist – you will be surprised by the difference.

Content production

As the old saying goes, ‘content is king’. My clients (and members of The Marketing Compass) tell me that the more they write, the more they sell. In addition to the written word, use videos and images (do you like the Mind Map? Mind Mapping was invented by Tony Buzan – Hello Tony!)

How to you spend your internet marketing time and resources?

Yes, I know that you are busy. Yes, I know that you already have a great deal to do. However, let’s face it, the future is digital. Spend some of your time learning about the new technologies. Spend some time writing and creating interesting content. Delegate the stuff that you don’t love to do to somebody else.

Internet marketing metrics and results

‘What gets measured, gets done’. This certainly applies to internet marketing. Are all your efforts actually generating money in the bank? It’s no use having lots of traffic, hits, followers, likes etc if you are not making money.

Accept that change is not going to go away (in fact, change will continue to accelerate). This a fantastic time to be alive, if you love to learn. I wish you well with your internet marketing journey.

Nigel Temple is an internet marketing consultant, author, speaker and trainer. He shows business owners, professionals and teams how to get better results from 21st century marketing – including online brand awareness, improved search engine rankings, social media effectiveness, website traffic and sales enquiries / sales. He is often asked to deliver his website review service – for business owners, boards of directors and teams.

Nigel has taught internet marketing since 2000. He served as a Faculty Member and Course Director at CIM (the Chartered Institute of Marketing) for 12 years. He led over 500 Business Link workshops, focusing on website effectiveness, SEO and social media. Today, he delivers internet marketing events for The Marketing Compass which provides impartial marketing advice for business owners.

To find out more about Nigel’s services email joanna@nigeltemple.com or call Joanna on +44 (0)1628 773128.

He welcomes media enquiries about 21st century marketing, social media and digital marketing. He has appeared within the national press and broadcast media.

Nigel is the founder of The Marketing Compass – join thousands of business owners, tell us about your business and ask some marketing questions!

Follow Nigel on Twitter: http://twitter.com/nigeltemple

Customer attraction system

Do you have a Customer Attraction System (CAS) as part of your business model? Does it generate a steady stream of conversations, sales enquiries and sales? Is it predictable? During the last century, marketing was largely all about pushing. Companies pushed the (unwilling) customer towards their brands, using expensive advertising, telesales, direct mail and sales forces. In the 21st century, pushing has become more difficult, due to the fragmentation of media, an explosion of communication channels (i.e. TV and radio stations, websites, blogs etc), laws to protect consumers from overactive marketers and more educated buyers.

Smart companies realise that getting customers to come to them is way better than the old style ‘hunt and kill’ methodology. Broadly speaking, an attraction based approach includes customer education and knowledge sharing. It is co-operative, trusting, interactive and more female than male in nature. It also happens to be ideal for the world wide web – which was originally conceived as a way of sharing files amongst scientists.

I know that this approach does not appeal to everyone. “Why should I share my hard won knowledge?” they say to me. “That’s fine,” I reply. “Keep all of your professional knowledge locked up in a darkened room. Lock and chain the door. Let some large, angry dogs wander around the corridors putting the fear of God into anyone who enters the building. What will happen? The knowledge will shrivel and die, as it needs interaction with others to flourish and grow (just like you do). Mind you, you’ll have to go and bang on all of the doors in the neighbourhood to find new business. By the way, how will your neighbours know that you are so brilliant at what you do, as they can’t see your expertise?”

My advice is to share a little more. If you need any more encouragement, I am sure that your competitors are already doing this.

By the way my last book was entitled ‘How to get clients to come to you‘ so this is a subject close to my heart!

Nigel Temple is a marketing consultant, speaker and trainer. He shows business owners, professionals and teams how to get better results from 21st century marketing – including brand awareness, website traffic and sales enquiries. To find out more about Nigel’s services email joanna@nigeltemple.com or call Joanna on +44 (0)1628 773128.

He welcomes media enquiries about 21st century marketing, social media and digital marketing. He has appeared within the national press and broadcast media.

Nigel is the founder of The Marketing Compass – join thousands of business owners, tell us about your business and ask some marketing questions!

New years resolutions for your business

Do you make New Years Resolutions? During the Christmas break, business owners inevitably think about their enterprises. Here are some suggestions for business-orientated resolutions:

* Build your brand. One way of doing this is to….
* Create more awareness, as new customers need to find you. The more often that your name keeps ‘popping up’, the better. Low cost ways of doing this include the social networks, SEO, PR and events.
* Become a better writer and write more often.
* Meet more people (i.e. via networking and by giving talks).
* Be kinder (everyone is doing the best that they can).
* Become a better listener.
* Be more creative. In the 21st century, creative thinking is crucial, in order to differentiate your business.
* Write a ‘significant item’, such as a manual, e-book or book.
* Arrange more 1-2-1 meetings.
* Work on your website (as this is your marketing hub).
* Update your CRM on a regular basis, so that you can keep track of dormant, current and prospective business relationships.
* Learn more about marketing. You can do this here: www.marketingcompass.co.uk

If you would like some feedback on your marketing strategy, promotional mix and customer attraction processes – just ask. I offer a variety of services to suit different requirements.

All the best
Nigel
Marketing consultant, author and speaker
Tel: 01628 773128
Founder of The Marketing Compass Impartial marketing advice for business owners