UK: Make Your Business Marketing Oriented

Last Updated: 30 November 2012

Although smaller companies don't have the marketing budgets of major corporations, their marketing efforts can be just as effective if they use the techniques and principles described in this article.


Have one! It cannot be said any more simply or more directly. Too many businesses never establish a marketing budget. They fly by the seat of their pants without ever knowing how much they are spending, what their return is, and what they are getting for the money.

Business hours

Many companies never work beyond the traditional nine to five. You should consider making your business convenient and accessible to customers. Remember that one premise in marketing is to be different; you can be different with your open-for-business hours. Quite often, people will do business with someone just because they are open earlier or later.

Customer service

Companies large and small have always said they offer the best customer service. But when it comes to the final push, they show that once they have the sale they forget the follow-up and wonder why the client then moves on to another supplier.

Customer service is not lip service. It is a value add-on to the sale, and is a vital factor in keeping the customer happy and in making the customer a repeat client and, eventually, an advocate for the business. Some 95% of business is lost because the company has lost its way with poor customer service.

You must strive to satisfy customers all the time. This means learning about and understanding their needs, wants and expectations, and then doing whatever it takes to meet those needs and wants and exceed those expectations.

You should always go the extra mile for your customers, especially if you are trying to rectify a complaint they have made. Remember that customers are the lifeblood of your business and the reason you are in business. You must do everything in your power to satisfy them.

Calling your customers to remind them of an appointment or to follow up after they have called you with an inquiry or complaint goes a long way towards establishing customer loyalty. If you do not do this, your competitors will.

Follow-up calls

Basically, you are calling a customer to remind them of an appointment or a special invitation to a sale or new release. You want to make certain they come into your business. The follow-up call also makes them feel very special because it provides them with a feeling of value-added customer service.


Guarantees are a great way to differentiate your business from its competitors. Whatever type of guarantee you offer, be it lifetime, money back, or exchange during a certain time period, just make certain that you honour that guarantee. While guarantees can be very attractive to customers, they can also turn customers away if the promise isn't kept.

Your type and length of guarantee tells customers the confidence you have in your business. There will be times when you have to honour many guarantees simultaneously, but the goodwill this generates will be more than worth the investment.


These can come under the heading of customer service, and many businesses have instituted free telephone helplines for their customers. This is very effective and not that expensive, especially if you work on a regional or national basis. You can even establish a local helpline.

Train your staff to answer the questions that customers may have about your business in a courteous and friendly manner. Teach your customers that they can call the helpline any time for assistance. It is even better to offer this assistance for free. You will have more people using the line, but they will also start to refer more people to your business because of this service. The helpline will more than pay for itself.

In-service training

Employee training is one of the most overlooked and underutilised marketing techniques. The training programmes are relatively inexpensive when the returns are taken into account.

Training employees to do their jobs better, or cross-training them to help out in other areas, makes employees feel that they are more valuable to the company. They will probably produce more and market your company to more customers. Remember that your two best targets for your business are satisfied customers and happy employees.

Press (media) kit

This is essential for any business. It does not have to be very expensive, but it must be professional looking.

Your press kit contains information about your company, its key employees, the products or services it offers, and other information that is pertinent or interesting to the media, such as reprints of articles you have written or that have been written about you. The press kit can also contain testimonial letters from satisfied customers and a picture of the person, product or service you are trying to promote.

The press kit is used whenever you need to send out more information than is covered in a press release, or when the media requests more information from you. It is an extension of your corporate image. That is why you must make certain the kit looks very professional. If you cannot develop one yourself, seek the assistance of a marketing or public relations professional.

Below is a list of the top topics that might interest editors when sending a press release. As you get to know your media people personally and find out exactly what interests them, adapt or add to this list:

  • Tie-ins with the news of the day.
  • Staging an event.
  • Providing the community with useful information.
  • Forming a committee to solve a problem.
  • Giving away an award or scholarship.
  • Making a prediction about something.
  • Celebrating an opening or an anniversary.
  • Doing something incredible or very special.
  • Giving away food.
  • Any type of success story, especially one to do with overcoming hardship.

Competitive pricing

The target of competitive pricing is not to be the low-cost leader, but to provide perceived value at a competitive price. Often, a business selects a price for its product or service without considering the marketplace or its market value.

Price your products or services to be competitive and to provide a value to customers. Then give added service at no charge. Your customers will perceive you not only as good value, but also as someone they want to do business with.

Sometimes, you just have to be competitively priced and make up the difference in volume. If you are the only business in the marketplace, then you can probably charge reasonably high prices and customers will pay them.


People are looking for value for their money, and they measure value in the quality of their purchase. You must promise quality, deliver quality, and then deliver more of it. Delivering a quality product or service along with your differential will be an immense advantage to improving your bottom line.

Shop your own business

This is one very successful method of finding out what your company is achieving in the eyes of the customer or prospect – for example:

  • Are your people doing the right thing?
  • Is your customer service all that you think it is?
  • Is the customer being treated with civility?

How do you do this? Have a friend or family member, not known to your staff, call in to your business and act as a prospective customer and then report back to you with their findings. Once you have their report, you will be able to act on any negatives or give praise to the staff because of the successes shown.

Unique sales proposition (USP)

The USP differentiates your message from that of your competitors. Your USP must be made in conjunction with your unique marketing position (UMP), which positions you in the minds of your consumers. The USP and the UMP combined often determine how successful your business will be.

To determine your USP, ask yourself what it is you are really selling, and see if that is what customers are really buying. If there is a match, write it down. If there is a discrepancy, look at your product or service from the customer's viewpoint. Then, write your USP from that perspective.

Value-added service

Providing value-added service means you will give customers more for their money. You may extend a warranty at no extra charge, make a delivery outside a standard delivery area, or go out of your way to give customers something extra. You are adding value (and service) to the purchase they make.

Value-added service all but guarantees that customers will purchase from you again and refer their family and friends to you. It costs you nothing and gains you a great deal.

Plan, evaluate, and change if necessary

Plan your marketing in the least expensive, most effective way you can. It is marketing that drives a business, nothing else.

Be patient with your marketing programme. Give it time to work. Evaluate it carefully and honestly, and make changes where necessary. Although these techniques are simple and inexpensive, they will work and your business will improve.

The five Ps for success

The five Ps for success are:

  1. Passion
  2. Patience
  3. Persistence
  4. Perception
  5. Purpose.

1. Passion

There is nothing in the world like doing something you want to do, as opposed to something you have to do. Whether you are working a regular job or have your own business, you have to make sure that, whatever it is you are doing, you are passionate about it.

When you're passionate about something, the way you talk about it just sounds different. You appear more confident and knowledgeable. People can sense your passion and you are simply more believable. When you are truly passionate about something you can deliver it and sell it.

Having passion for something simply cannot be made up. There is no formula: either you are into it or you're not. At the end of the day, you have to ask yourself how badly you really want it.

2. Patience

For most of us, exercising patience is the hardest thing to do. Wanting things "yesterday" is just not realistic. No matter what it is in life you are trying to achieve, you have to have patience. At some point you have probably asked yourself: "Will it ever happen?" Many people fight a constant internal battle, trying to figure out: "Is this going be the year?"

Many people feel they are ready when truthfully they are not. This is where patience comes in. There comes a point when you have to realise that if something is for you, it's for you. Nothing and no one can take it away. Sometimes in life we have to simply be patient and see things through, no matter what obstacles lie ahead.

3. Persistence

The big question is: How badly do you want it? The biggest mistake that many people make is to give up too soon. They are not persistent in their journey for success. Simply having persistence can get you a long way in life.

When asked about how they obtained their success, many successful entrepreneurs answer: "I simply refused to give up!" They were so persistent in what they wanted; they would not let anything stand in their way.

Being persistent can mean the difference between success and failure. No matter what it is you are in pursuit of, you have to remember to stay persistent. When you're looking for success, persistence is everything.

4. Perception

Applied the right way, perception can be very instrumental in your success. How people perceive you, your business or whatever you're trying to achieve can make all the difference in the world.

A person's appearance reflects more than who the person really is. Think about when you first put on a new suit or a new dress. You just feel different. It works both ways: the way you perceive yourself in it, as well as the way others perceive you. The power of perception changes our entire outlook. Perception can catapult you and your business to another level.

5. Purpose

Purpose is defined as something one intends to get or do. Do you know what your purpose is? For many people, the reason they are not successful is that they haven't found their purpose.

Sometimes you have to ask yourself: "What is my true purpose for doing what I'm doing?" Once you begin to understand the relevance of purpose, whatever it is you are trying to achieve becomes simple.

You must be guided by purpose. There are many people who have the desire to be successful but have no purpose to be successful. In order to be truly successful, you need to make sure that, whatever it is you are trying to achieve in life, you have really thought about your purpose first.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

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