Working with the State of Florida Series – Part 2

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Marketing your business to the State of Florida  

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In my last post, I discussed the different ways that Florida agencies purchase their goods and services. You can read more here

Just to sum it up:

  • Agencies have three methods to make purchases
    • State term contracts
    • Formal solicitations
    • Informal solicitations

Marketing your business

As a small business owner, you need to determine where you fit in these different purchasing methods. From there you need to put together a marketing plan to pursue these opportunities. This week, I want to focus on what are some of the traits of successful marketing campaigns. We’ll discuss some of the main elements of these marketing and communication plans.

You will also need to develop a way to measure your results of your new marketing plans.

We’ll also talk about some of the new trends in marketing. As social media gains popularity, it is a new factor in your overall marketing strategy.

Developing a marketing plan

First things first. How do you go about developing a marketing plan? This part is not specific to state agencies, you can use this technique throughout your organization.

  • Look inward – Brainstorm your strengths and weaknesses
    • This is the time to look honestly at your business and focus on what you do well
      • Put everything on paper or a whiteboard, don’t edit anything
      • in this phase, ANYTHING is possible
      • Review with your team or a mentor – the strengths will rise to the top and the unimportant items will end up at the bottom or even fall off
  • Look outward
    • Examine your opportunities and threats  – these are things that you cannot control but you can predict and mitigate them
      • Technological advances can be your best friend or your worst enemy if you don’t pay attention to these advances
      • Develop a model for your ideal customer group based on your findings
  • Begin to focus on your strategy
    • Narrow your focus
      • To align with your business’s identity
      • To be attractive to your target audience
    • Determine where your strategic focus, target market, and priorities meet

What you have done so far is essentially a SWOT Analysis and determined your target market. Where these elements meet is where you should focus.

Your next steps are:

  • Set Metrics
    • You have to set measurable  results for your plan to be successful
      • If something is working, track it
      • If something isn’t working, change it

Have you ever opened a phone book and looked the ads and noticed that on some pages all the ads look very similar, just the name is changed? Those companies put an ad in there because that’s what they’ve always done. That isn’t the best use of your resources. But how will you know where your leads are coming from if you don’t track them?

  • Review and revise your plan… often
    • Don’t get to comfortable with your plan
      • If you are tracking it, you will be adjusting the plan as you go along

What elements make up a Successful Marketing plan?

Almost all marketing campaigns contain one or more of the following elements:

  • Word Hook – “Can you hear me now?”
  • Character Hook – Mayhem is one of my favorites right now
  • Repeatable Theme – The Serta Sheep come to mind
  • Consistent Brand Layout – The Target Bullseye is a great example of this

Adding a dash of social media

The last thing for this week is I want you to think about what your customers are buying? Are they buying just a product, a company, or is it you? A major trend is that customers want a person to associate with their purchases. Keep that in mind when meeting, marketing, and networking. Your customers are buying because of you as much as they are buying your product.

This is where social media has become such a powerhouse in delivering results in marketing. You can give your company a “face”, the real person behind your logo. Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest are the top three social media platforms. They allow you to react in real-time to your customers and their issues.

Recently, some of the best customer service I’ve received has been from Dollar Shave Club’s twitter customer service. I tweeted my issue (my account was doing weird things) and within a few hours my issue was resolved. This is the power of having a social media presence.

Have you put together a marketing plan for your business?

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