Online Marketing Starts with a Market Dominating Strategy

Successful Marketing Campaigns Start with a Core Message that Definitively States Your Position As the Leader in Your Market

A cautionary note before we begin: While the things described in this article may seem elementary at first, keep an open mind. The majority of businesses we have seen over the last fifteen years have marketing that must "fix" these fundamentals before we can achieve their business goals.

To evaluate your own marketing, it’s important to form a baseline and identify the reality of where your business stands.

To begin, start by answering a few questions:

  • What does your marketing do for your business?
  • Does it successfully explain why potential buyers should do business with you, rather than your competition?
  • Does your marketing attract your ideal customer?
  • Do you have a compelling Market Dominating Position?

If your marketing message doesn’t capture the interest of your ideal customers, you are leaving it to chance that they will buy from you. They may even buy from the low-cost and low-service provider around the corner because you didn’t establish your message.

To be effective, your Market Dominating Position needs to accomplish the following objectives:

  1. Clearly tell people what you sell.
  2. Define how you are superior to your competition.
  3. Explain what clients can expect when doing business with you.

Your Market Dominating Position is the core strategy that lays the essential foundation for your growth. To achieve significant growth, you must be able to communicate your distinct value to your prospective buyers. We achieve that goal by identifying quantifiable, specific ways that you are superior to your competition. Then, we communicate those to your prospects in a way they can quickly understand. This will likely include strategies to help you break away from the status quo and innovate your way to leadership in both your local market and in your industry.

With a powerful marketing strategy, you will have a foundation for all your future marketing materials. It will shape how your website engages with prospects and will work to turn more prospects into clients and then turn more clients into repeat buyers and “referral-givers.”

Advertising based on your Marketing Dominating Position overcomes the "curse of knowledge" and teaches prospects what to look for when they want to buy what you sell. 

Professionals tend to be in the top .5% of the world when it comes to expertise in their industry. However, they often forget what it’s like to be an outsider without the knowledge they possess. We refer to this as the “curse of knowledge” - which is what happens when you incorrectly assume that your prospects have the background and knowledge that you have about your business. 

We overcome this tendency as we work to create your Market Dominating Position.

With a Clear and Precise Message, We'll Find Your Audience and Engage Prospects by Showing Your Superior Value

We will develop your core marketing strategy that will become your unique marketing message composed of words, phrases and images, all stated with clarity and passion in a way that instantly and definitively communicates who you are, what you do, and what customers can expect when doing business with you.

This may require some innovation on your part. We can help you make improvements and innovate. We may need to be creative when we take into consideration what your customers want. Then we will deliver that message in a way that makes you the clear leader in your industry.

Many small to midsize business have a great story to tell. But they either don’t tell it or they tell the part of their story that doesn’t matter to their potential customers, like when the business first started or that you have “great customer service” or “great quality”. Maybe you do, in fact, provide great customer service. But if you can’t explain how that improves your customers’ lives, they will lump you in with everyone else.

If your business doesn’t routinely deliver a great experience, the time to innovate and become the best choice is when you create your marketing strategy.

If you don’t think your business is superior to your competitors, then we need to talk about INNOVATION.

If you’re a business leader who’s stuck with price-competitions or even losing market share in a highly competitive industry, then your Market Dominating Position is more critical than ever. We will work with you to identify ways you can innovate your offerings to achieve a superior position in the marketplace.

When we are ready to go to market, your marketing will work to accomplish 5 things:

  1. Capture the attention of your ideal customer
  2. Educate and inform those ideal customers how to make the best possible buying decision by giving them the information they need to move forward and purchase from the best company possible, which is you
  3. Reduce their anxiety as they near a decision
  4. Generate a purchase
  5. Instill loyalty for repeat buyers and referrals

If your strategy isn’t clear and you fail to communicate to your ideal customers what differentiates your business from your competitors:

  • You will NOT appeal to your ideal customers.
  • You WILL compete with your lower quality competition who is saying the same things you are.
  • You WILL regularly compete on price, which means you can never charge a premium for your superior service.

We have all experienced the situation where a friend or co-worker told us about a buying decision that turned bad. As you’re listening, you’re thinking to yourself: “If you had just come to me and asked, I could have saved you a lot of pain and suffering. And referred you to a business that would have taken you on an excellent customer journey.” 

Think about your marketing this way: it needs to do the job of that referral. Your marketing needs to be found online so your customer can access it 24/7.

We Work With You to Set Your Business Apart with the Perfect Marketing Strategy

Before we execute any tactics, we create marketing that captures attention, educates and moves the buyer along with their purchasing journey.

As you begin to think about your customer’s journey, you will want to ask yourself some questions. Answers to the five discovery questions below are the beginning steps of creating your strategy.

  1. Who is ready to buy?
  2. What do your buyers consider to be important when buying from you?
  3. What do they need to know to buy?
  4. How do you make the case that your product is what the customer wants?
  5. What do your buyers need to see or sense to have enough information to buy?

We personally guide you through the questions before approaching your customers with reasons why they should purchase from you. As you formulate answers to these questions, you will easily see ways to innovate your business and create a Market Dominating Position.

We Place Your Marketing Strategy Before Marketing Tactics. Here's Why:

If you go to market without your MDP and only a tactical plan, then you end up spending more on your marketing for inferior results. Tactical marketing (or media marketing) identifies the method you use to deliver your message: websites, radio, email, digital ads, social media advertising, and more.

However, without an MDP, your ads will not have anything that differentiates your business from the hundreds of other competitors out there. To overcome this problem, we’ll walk you through a five-step process.

Step 1 . Narrow Your Focus

Nearly all great business success stories over the past 40 years resulted from simplifying. Some simplified at their outset to deliver something new, while others simplified to make a comeback. Amazon, McDonald’s, IKEA, Southwest Airlines, Apple, Honda, Charles Schwab, and Chipotle are few. 

Rand Fishkin, founder of Moz.com, in his book, "Lost and Founder", admits that by adding too many features to Moz, the SEO SAAS product soon lost market share, and more narrowly-focused SAAS products passed them by.

For some of you what you read next will be a big relief, because you already know it needs to be done. Or it will make you very nervous because you can’t imagine giving up hard-earned business.

But you will need to eliminate some customers and begin to limit or eliminate the services or products your business offers that don’t generate the right customers.

For the sake of this discussion, let's say you have 4 types of customers:

  1. Profitable
  2. Profitable-and-Refer
  3. Refer
  4. What we'll call "2- and 3-Star Review" Customers (Any number of terms can be used to describe these customers; weI chose stars as the descriptor. These are the customers that see you as mediocre or just below mediocre. You have to ask yourself, “Under any circumstances, can I make them happy?”)

Customers in the Profitable category are good and those who Refer are also good, but those in the Profitable-and- Refer category are your ideal customers. 

I was at my dentist the other day in the waiting room, along with 7 or 8 other people. At full volume plus, a patient was berating the dentist about how expensive his work was. The dentist had walked the lady from his procedure room to check-out; he does this when you have suffered through something more than a 6-month check-up. I always thought it was a nice touch after a little suffering in his chair, instead of just having the hygienist walk you out. I may be reading too much into this experience, but the full volume complaint about the cost, for everyone in the waiting room to hear, was her version of a 2- or 3-star review.

From past experience, I know the dentist’s process for pricing procedures, and patients must sign-off on their scope and cost. So I know check-out isn’t the time or place to discuss the cost of the procedure; it had already been covered. I also know from talking to my wife, who goes to another dentist, that my dentist’s rates are competitive.

For the sake of this example, I will be generous and say this patient is a Profitable. Can you see how Profitable-and- Refer is a better indicator of your ideal customer than Profitable alone?

Step 2. Identify Your Ideal Customers

You have already done your self-evaluation concerning why customers buy from you by answering the five discovery questions above. Now is the time to find out why directly from your customers. Read customer reviews for your company. And for your competitors. You will be surprised at the amount of excellent information you will learn. Call your past happy customers, ideally those who referred you or who wrote a well-constructed 4- or 5-star review and find out what they liked about the experience.

Here are some questions you should ask them:

  1. What made you decide to do business with us?
  2. Why do you keep purchasing from us?
  3. What products or services can we add that you purchase from other businesses?
  4. What phrases or search terms do you use to find a service/product like ours?
  5. What do we do that our competition doesn’t?
  6. Do you refer us?
  7. Would you mind writing us a review?

Personally interview 6-8 customers or have key staff or DigitalMX make the calls. This process gives great insight into your business.

Also, don’t treat this as an interrogation. Go with the flow as you would in any other conversation and dig a little deeper if necessary to get the best information. You will learn a lot from listening to your customer’s version of their buying journey.

Here's something to be aware of while taking in what your customers tell you. Note the difference between what you think is the primary benefit of your product or service and what gets your customers’ attention. Knowing this distinction between what you think and what they think about your products and services will give you invaluable insight when it comes time to market to them. 

More on this as we get into developing your Market Dominating Position.

Step 3. Create Your Market Dominating Position (MDP)

Your MDP is your unique business message composed of a combination of words, numbers, and images that powerfully and precisely articulates who you are, what you offer, and what people can expect when doing
business with you, with the goal to make your competition irrelevant and dominate your marketplace.

Some other terms for Market Dominating Position are:

  • unique selling proposition
  • remarkable brand promise
  • customer persona
  • customer avatar

To create an MDP for your unique business requires us to know the primary concerns of your target market. Customers who are ideal from both a Profitable and Refer standpoint, as defined above, make up the foundation for developing your MDP.

Armed with their feedback and your own answers to the discovery questions, you are ready.

Once we begin, you may be surprised to learn that this may or may not have to do with the advantage your product has over your competition. Also surprising -- we may discover your business has both a primary and secondary MDP, depending on the nature of your services.

Don’t think these principles won’t work in your industry 

Our examples may not be from your industry, sales channel, or delivery method for your product or service. Their purpose is to help you understand a principle that often vexes business owners and professional marketers.

For example, if you are a SAAS company selling software to a business, you would do well to understand the motivations of the decision-makers. You may be prepared to show how your software enables seamless integration with accounts and other software, how it can reduce time required for bookkeeping by 75%, how it can integrate all aspects of your business so that employees at every level can work more efficiently.

Your core message may be:

  • New Software Cuts Time Spent Bookkeeping By 75% And Fully Integrates Account Management And Communication

However, the owner or decision-maker may not be directly motivated by these advantages. Maybe he spends 65 hours at the office each week when he wants to spend no more than 20. The owner with this focus will “tune out” of the message above because it does not address the time spent at work issue.

For this owner, the message should be:

  • Owner Cuts 40 Hours From Personal Work Week With New Business Management Software

The key is to utilize the principles of marketing that have always worked and will continue to work and use them within the existing marketing and advertising infrastructure to deliver your message to your decision-making audience.

Here’s another example to illustrate the power of the appropriate MDP.

A medical lab developed a process that allowed them to provide extremely accurate results for its cases and then deliver these results in a way that did not require a doctor to interpret them to their patient. The doctor could take the results and literally print them off and hand them to their patient.

Executives at the medical lab thought that being more accurate and more accessible would give them an advantage in the marketplace, and it did - for the few doctors willing to listen.

After reviewing their materials and researching their target audience, we determined that their Market Dominating Position was not properly targeted, because they did not understand the primary motivator of the doctors.

What the lab people didn’t realize was that the doctors didn’t have the mental and emotional motivation to take the time to understand their product.

These doctors had gone through college, then they took the MCAT and got accepted. They took out $450,000 in loans to get through school. Then they went through residency, often working 75 to 80 hour weeks. When they got a real job, they discovered that instead of treating patients and helping them get well, they were spending about half their time filling out ever-changing forms and submitting paperwork to insurance companies and the government. They pay enormous amounts for a physical office and malpractice insurance. They have to pay back their loans. They own an expensive home and an expensive car because they want a nice lifestyle after all their hard work. Finally, their patients are not getting well as often as they expected. Many of the medications they prescribe are maintenance medications and don’t provide the quick recovery they hoped to provide when they first entered the profession.

Then, after all this, our salesperson shows up on the doorstep and wants them to fill out more paperwork to switch medical labs? Not a chance.

Our new message focused on what the doctors truly wanted: more take-home income, more time and better patient outcomes. The new MDP message enabled the lab to penetrate the market and paved the way for them to deliver their secondary MDP message: their lab was more accurate and more accessible to the patients. But this message could only be delivered once they had the doctor’s attention.

Here's another example, this one from the HVAC industry:

This is a 5-star review for an HVAC company copied from their Google reviews. “The appointment reminder and the ETA courtesy calls really impressed me. The technician was friendly and knowledgeable. Being first-time customers, Bill took the time to explain all of our systems and answered a ton of questions from us. Very pleased with the service and the peace of mind it gave us. We will use again and recommend.”

This company has over 60 Google reviews, and most likely 80% of those reviews have one or more of the following words: professional, courteous, prompt, polite, friendly technician, knowledgeable technician. You get the idea.

I also know from personally using this company that they send an automated reminder call the day before your scheduled service, then you get a personal call the morning of confirming the “window” they gave you is still good, and finally, a call from the technician as they leave for your house.

They also have a Live Chat function that one reviewer mentioned he was thankful for when he needed to schedule an emergency appointment. This company has invested a great deal in customer-focused processes and
procedures.

However, the only place you can find anything related to the language their reviewers use is on the Testimonials page of their website.

In other words, they don’t have any content related to what their ideal customers are telling them they value. They are to be applauded for executing a complicated business very well and being great members of the community. However, I can’t help but think they are leaving some business to their competitors because they didn't take the evidence of what matters most to their customers and use it to create a Market Dominating Position.

Phases of Developing Your Market Dominating Position

Phase 1: Develop a powerful Market Dominating Position that states your core message in an authoritative and persuasive way.

We’ll do research to gain a thorough knowledge of your industry. We’ll dig deep to understand the true REALITY of the product and services you offer.

  • What do you do that’s good?
  • What do you do that's no so good? 
  • what we can do to “fine tune” and polish up your processes to make your reality more attractive?
  • What is different, better and unique about your business?
  • What can we measure?
  • What can we prove?
  • What do you offer that we can’t necessarily measure or prove, but is still true?
  • How do you compare with competing services?

We’ll develop a core strategic message based on the advantages and benefits of your services. This strategic message will (1) identify possible objections that customers will likely have in the buying process, and (2) define how to overcome those objections.

Phase 2: Implement the core strategic message in all available centers of communication, such as landing pages, website, emails and letters, as appropriate. You already have some lead flow, but your marketing materials must communicate your “inside reality” so that your “outside perception” will be accurate. In other words, your strategic message must CONVINCE prospects that your business is the best option for them and that it is guided by integrity and a desire to give them the best solution or product possible.

Phase 3: With the message developed and implemented in core areas, create support materials to drive prospects to where we can share your MDP and convert them into customers. This will be an on-going process.

Step 4. Content Is the Link Between Your MDP and Solving Your Prospects’ Problems

Content is an asset -- a very valuable asset. Think about the task it performs. It is “on” 24/7, extolling the virtues of your company and solving problems for potential customers. All other search engine optimization (SEO) tasks aside, nothing has the impact of thoughtful problem-solving content.

As part of your strategic marketing engagement with DigitalMxOnline.com, we build out your Complete Content System.

What is a Complete Content System?

1. Every sales channel, such as email, website, social media, PR, trade shows, etc., requires content.
2. Keyword research
3. Monthly hub themes (more about this dynamic concept below)
4. Content delivery, meaning how you get your content out there
5. A yearly editorial calendar that systematizes your content development by planning for it
6. Content upgrades that provide a free, low-threat way for your customers to take the next step

The most challenging and critical piece of your Complete Content System is the Monthly Hub Theme. If you are a CPA firm, one month’s hub content topic could be “How to Systemize Your Business Accounting Processes

the topic is decided upon, articles are written around this theme, such as:

  • implementing key accounting systems
  • preventing employee fraud
  • tax planning for business owners
  • audit-proof your business
  • how to get your customer to pay up
  • retirement planning for business owners

Certainly, there are many other options, but this brief list gives an idea of potential themes. 

Step 5. Guide the Customer Journey

A statistic was recently shared with me that confirmed how I shop: 57% of buying decisions are made prior to talking to a company. This didn’t surprise me at all. I’d say the percentage is actually higher in my case, but it should give all of us an appreciation for the task we have in guiding potential customers through the buying process.

The buying process zigs and zags and is anything but linear. There are times of intense study, interruptions by life, online distractions, input from friends, face-to-face appointments, the information we find on Facebook, reviews on a supplier’s Google My Business. And, of course, all the content we absorb from companies’ websites and lead magnets/content upgrades.

Your buyer’s journey can be described something like this, but remember, it’s rarely in a straight line. Here we've identified which stages are marketing, which are sales, and which are both:

  • Awareness (Marketing): You have captured their attention, either offline or online.
  • Investigate (Marketing): They are looking at your website and have found something that interests
    them.
  • Understand (Marketing): They are evaluating how you are different from everyone else and trying to determine if you can deliver what they want. 
  • Pursue (Sales and Marketing): They are confident enough in what they have seen that they initiate a conversation.
  • Buy (Sales): Your marketing and sales have worked, and they have placed their trust in you to deliver.
  • Repeat (sometimes Sales, sometimes Marketing, and sometimes both, depending on the business model): You delivered the first time, and they have come back to buy again. 
  • 5 Star Review: Not only did they appreciate how you delivered, but they took their time to express their gratitude

We’d all love it if buyers took a nice linear journey when they purchase. They may detour at Understand and come back a month or six months later because no other business helped them understand.

Bottom Line? Your marketing strategy and the message need to connect at all stages.