So, you have created a new product or service. You figure it’s time to tell the world how great your creation is. Not so, says marketing consultant Michael Barry. It’s time to get out of your head and instead to think about your potential customers. Do you know what they really want, and do you know how to choose and integrate your options for reaching them?
To help address these questions and others, Barry, founder and president of Princeton Creative Marketing (PCM), is offering free one-on-one meetings at the College of New Jersey on Wednesday, July 9. For an appointment, call America’s Small Business Development Center, (ASBDC) 609-771-2947. Learn more at http://sbdc.pages.tcnj.edu. The event is being presented in a series titled “Meet the Experts.”
Barry offers a holistic marketing approach that combines both traditional marketing with digital and online platforms. Barry works with his clients to find the balance that works best for them and their customers. For one person, the focus might be on the company website, Twitter updates, and print advertising with a few other platforms. For another person, it might be the Pinterest website, direct mail, and a few other platforms. For another person, the mix could be different again.
Just as holistic medicine is concerned with the whole person, holistic marketing is concerned with the whole business. Barry cites four main components in his article titled “Why Holistic Marketing”:
Integrated Marketing: Includes all the tools that make sense for your brand and your market. They can include PR, social media, expert positioning, traditional advertising, events and more.
Customer Relationship Management: More than just a technology solution, it is a philosophy of long term customer satisfaction, engagement and brand advocacy.
Internal Marketing: Aligns and motivates all team members to provide a great customer experience and helps the team form and communicate a cohesive brand narrative.
Socially Responsible Marketing: Helps the company present its brand as a part of the larger society and thus become engaged members of its community.
If you approach your marketing with an eye on each of these components, you will be able to start developing a good framework for success, Barry says. Marketing tools have changed over the last few years, but good marketing principles still apply.
When asked about the most important message for a new business owner to grasp, Barry advises that you try to frame your business from your customer’s perspective and in his language. You need to translate your product’s features into benefits for the customer.
Customers will buy your product or service based on what they perceive it can do for them, not on your product’s features or how great you think it is. Your customer wants to know, “What’s in it for me? How can this product make it a better day for me?” Barry advises: “Always look at everything from the customer’s perspective and distill it into smaller messages.”
To help you accomplish this, Barry recommends that you develop a value proposition (refined from Cindy Barnes, Helen Blake and David Pinder: “Creating & Delivering Your Value Proposition”) based on six building blocks that define your target market and analyze the customer’s perception of your product compared to competing brands and alternatives.
Too often, a person goes into a business because he’s good a something, and figures that if you make something or provide a service, people will want it, Barry says. But that’s not the case. “People need to be communicated to and they need to become aware of your business in the first place. Then they need to have to have reasons for wanting your service,” Barry says.
Barry defines different types of benefits: Core, the main functional benefits; Expected, the customers’ expectations; and Augmented, anything that is beyond what the customer expects.
Barry’s interest in marketing evolved from his love of music growing up in Bayside, Queens. On his 10th birthday, he received a guitar from his father, a salesman for the aerospace industry, and his mother, an office manager. From that day, he was hooked, he says.
After high school, he played as a professional musician and eventually landed a position with Laughing Buddha Records handling production and marketing. He soon learned that musicians who were trying to make money from their music were focused on the creative side of the process but ignoring the business side. After his experience with the record company, he returned to school and earned an MBA from Post University in Waterbury, Connecticut, and then worked as a marketing consultant in Queens and Connecticut.
He and his wife moved to Princeton a few years ago where he founded Princeton Creative Marketing (www.princetoncreative.com). Today Barry works with small business owners, non-profits, and the arts communities. Some of PCM’s clients include ASBDC, Speedpro Imaging, the Global Language Project, ETS, Yale-China Association, and H&R Block.
In 2013 Barry released his book, “The New Rules of Music Marketing: A Guide to Marketing Concepts for Success in Today’s Independent Music Business,” available on Amazon.com and iTunes.com. Although geared for musicians, the marketing principles he teaches apply to anyone wanting to sell a product or service, he says:
You might think that what you do is great, and it may well be, but you’re never going to sell it unless the customer thinks it’s great too. When you understand what your customer wants, and how your offering can meet his needs, tell the world with the media tools that best suit your business and your customers.
You don’t need to adopt every online and traditional marketing tool out there. But you should be aware that they exist and understand what they can do. To wit, Barry echoes a phrase on his PCM website attributed to Albert Einstein: “Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler.”