What is the secret of good marketing? Is it enough to have a good product, or is the art of selling what you produce in the packaging? According to Walter Dailey, lead consultant and executive producer of Dailey Sound Vector, the answer lies in branding. "Branding is really about becoming the gold standard for whatever you do," he told me during a recent interview on my radio show, the Goldstein on Gelt show.
To find out the reasons why branding and getting to know your customer really matter, read a transcript of this interview below, or you can watch a video of it on youtube.
Here is the transcript:
Walter Dailey: We are exposed to at least 5,000 ads a day and that's a conservative number. This means that as a consumer, I'm seeing literally thousands and thousands of ads a day. Branding is important because it allows for a business to essentially have a unique personality that will actually stand out from all of the clutter. It allows any business, whether small or large, to have a separate and distinct identity, DNA or personality, and that essentially allows for them to be seen by the consumers. In a nutshell, this is the overall reason why branding is very important despite the fact that you may happen to run a small business.
Branding is really about becoming the gold standard for whatever you do. You want to make it so that when I decide that I need financial advice or I need to buy a car or clothing, the name of your business is synonymous with that particular item. Google is a good example of a phenomenal branding. They have literally become the actual thing itself. As an example, a lot of folks will say 'Google' this website. That's technically not the right term for this, but the brand has become so strong that they are synonymous with what they do.
In other words, if you are an investment advisor or whatever, you want to make your brand so strong that as soon as I think, 'I need to manage my finances,' and things like that, automatically the name 'Doug' will come to my mind. If I have to go look for folks and ask around, there's going to be a lot of competition out there and potentially you're going to lose that opportunity to work with that particular client. If your name is first to the mind or what we called 'top-of-mind awareness,' you stand a better chance of retaining more clients.
Douglas Goldstein: How can a small firm compete against the big firms who really have internet marketing power?
Walter Dailey: First of all, I see the internet as being like a tidal wave, and a lot of small businesses are intimidated by dealing with such a monstrous thing. However, I think it's important to actually ride the current of this wave. Use the internet to your advantage. Yes, you're competing with larger operations but I think if you're savvy enough, you are able to actually harness that energy for your own purposes.
As an example, over 80% of folks that will actually come to a business will first look the business up online. If you run a business there locally, be sure that you have an online presence. That's number one because even if for instance folks tend to walk into your operation or maybe call you on the phone, know that the majority of them will look you up online first. Number one, you have to be online first just to be competitive. Next, you can also leverage the power of the internet with some of the newer outlet, meaning social media and viral videos, and use it to educate your clients or your customers. Actually, you can use positive customer reviews to bolster your credibility. Again, make sure that you're leveraging the power of the internet versus trying to fight against it essentially.
Douglas Goldstein: Do you think people still listen to the radio or are they just moving to the internet?
Walter Dailey: The short answer is yes, folks are still listening to the radio. Technology has actually changed the delivery of the radio, meaning internet radio, satellite radio, podcast and so forth. However, you must understand that the idea of listening to radio is fundamentally the same. Customers come to the radio for a convenient source of entertainment and information. They listen to the radio while they drive, work, exercise, you name it. So business owners should never ignore the viability of radio as a way of reaching your audience.
Douglas Goldstein: What other things should business owners be doing to improve their marketing?
Walter Dailey: One of the best things that I believe a business can do is simply apply common sense. When you as a business owner advertise and market your business, you see the world through the eyes of your consumer. In other words, when you create your advertising messages, don't go off and talk about how great you are, and how you're number one. Everyone is saying they're number one and the best thing in the world. You have to go and figure out a way to say, "Mr. and Mrs. Consumer, I know what's important to you. Here are the ideas, concepts, and offers that are essentially important to you." Draw down them to what make sense for your consumer. Don't see the world through your vantage point.
Be consistent in your advertising. Don't try it for a week or two. Have a budget for over the next six months, maybe for the next 12 months, and be consistent with your marketing. Marketing is like a snowball effect. The more you keep it out there, the larger it will get over time. Your marketing may not be the best thing a week from now, let's say you start today, but if you hang with it and stay with it over the next months, two or three months, your marketing will actually grow in momentum and you'll start to create that brand that we alluded to at the very beginning.
Douglas Goldstein: For a company that wants to get started with marketing, would it be better to start in print, radio, TV or internet? Where would be a good starting point?
Walter Dailey: When you decide to market, the very first thing that will give you a direction in terms of which avenue you should use is your target audience, or your core customer. Where are they? If you're going after a demographic, for instance, that is not necessarily internet savvy, why go to the internet? However, if your marketing is focused at folks that are very tech savvy, then of course the internet may be the way to go versus a newspaper.
The point is that you have to do some digging around your own business. Who is your core client? Figure out where they are, what they are listening to, what are they looking at, and where they frequent, and this should be the starting place. For me to arbitrarily say just go with television and radio, you have to know where your customers are and that will really be the driving force for even how you put your ads together and your offers and things of that nature.
Douglas Goldstein: How do you help people to segment?
Walter Dailey: The best thing you can do is really analyze your customers. A lot of businesses will say, "Listen, if you have money, you're my customer," but if you analyze your business over the last two quarters or the last year, you're probably going to figure out a trend. These folks may be coming from a certain neighborhood, they may be female, and they may be educated in a certain way to come to your door and place money in your hand. These facts will actually determine where your target is. You may think it's everyone that has money to spend, but in actuality, the facts may bear out that it is people who are maybe from a certain neighborhood, have a certain income level or educational background, or are of a certain gender.
What I'm stressing is this: Business owners should go back and find out who your core customer is, and once you determine what that core customer looks like, market yourself accordingly. Don't go off and spin a lot of money in places where you're not actually seeing returns. You're going to know that by going and doing some simple fact finding from the folks that have come to your business over the past few months or so.
Douglas Goldstein: Do you think that small and medium-sized companies in fact should hire any marketing consultants and if so, how should they really choose someone?
Walter Dailey: I am an advocate of hiring a marketing consultant. I would hope for folks to hire me of course. The thing that matters the most when hiring a firm is to look at their ability to deal with the actual research and logical parts of advertising. I look at marketing know-how as a measuring stick. Do you understand the concepts of communicating and the media that is available, and some of the research that's available to make a decision? On the other hand, I think it's important to have someone that's simply creative and I believe that with a marketing firm that can bring together both or a marketing consultant that can bring together both those elements you have a winner.
Going back to the question of if a small firm should hire a marketing consultant, the answer is yes. You as a small business owner, are most likely very proficient at running your business, but you may not be as proficient as communicating what you do. The point is that you're hiring someone that will allow you to communicate better. They will not necessarily be the origin of the information, but be the conduit, if you will. Make sure you bring on someone that is able to be a great mouthpiece for you.
The second part about this is that once you hire this person, pick their brain, find out what they know, and really get as much information as you possibly can. The folks that you may hire to do your website or do some of your graphic design, ask them questions, and run scenarios by them. This is what they do, and you'll find yourself actually becoming a lot more savvy with regards to your marketing as you start to work very closely and really take in the opinions, the views and the knowledge of those that are experts in this particular area.
Douglas Goldstein: Could you tell people how can they follow your work and learn more about what you're doing?
Walter Dailey: Folks out there can go to www.dsvmedia.com.