Golden Rule Vs. Platinum marketing rule
The The golden rule countries ” Don’t make others as you would. “ While this practice civilizes us and helps us to get along socially, it works in marketing and building service businesses. Here’s an analogy; if you wanted to give someone a gift and you followed that rule, you would give them something you would like to receive, and that only works if they are just like you! However well-intentioned and unintentional, the message you send to your target audience is:
I care more about what’s important to me than what’s important to you.
Ooo! Most help professionals don’t intend to send this message at all!
The The platinum rule country “Tell others how they want to do it.” To do this, you need to connect with others and learn what they really want, not what you want to give them. It works great for sex; You are more likely to enjoy your partner doing what is good for them and not what feels good to you. Your sales will be much higher by providing programs and services that address what your customers want, not what you think they need. Your message to your target audience is:
I honestly care about what’s important to you.
This is the first secret of strong, overwhelming and effective marketing that delivers results
Most practitioners understand this, but it seems difficult to implement. I’ve seen many do market research (because they know they need to design their services for their niche) and then completely ignore their data and marketing flicks. It pains me to see such passionate, talented, well-meaning professionals struggling for a living because they find it so difficult to connect with the people they want to serve.
Market research: the key to guaranteed success
I cannot overestimate the value of market research. In fact, along with a few other key factors, credible market research is what differentiates successful trainees from unsuccessful trainees (or, if you prefer, business professionals and non-business practitioners).
Market research begins with learning the essential facts about your niche. Who are they? Where are they? What do they want? What works for them? What helps them? How are they used (if any) by other services? Ultimately, you want market research to help you create the profile of your ideal client. And ideally I don’t mean the prettier one or the one that will send you the most recommendations. Sure it is ideal, but not in the sense that it is used here. Instead, you want to make it clear who you are serving it to. You want to understand what motivates them and what they strive for, what they aspire to, what they believe to be success (because it may not be the same as you think it is, or even what you think it should be.) And so on.
Quality market research is conducted through 1: 1 conversations with people that fit your niche or focus group. And let me put it bluntly: polls are useless! Especially surveys or online surveys sent to a large group. The information you receive will not help you. Your goal is to learn about your niche from the inside out and get to know them so well that it becomes clear how they market and what services to provide. An email survey and an online survey did not achieve this. Got it ?!
Ideally, you will be constantly researching the market for existing programs, new programs, program ideas, and so on. Just as large corporations use market research to market themselves effectively and serve their customers, this is key to your success.
Here are five steps to conducting market research:
Step One: Explore your niches for their demographics, other professionals / organizations that serve them, other help approaches, websites, social networking groups, books, workshops, and so on. Call or meet with similar and complementary professionals and organizations to learn more about how they help people in your niche. Do your homework and become an expert in the data available to your target customers.
Step Two: Compile some ideas for programs, branding, services and so on. Create different program names to find out which one you prefer. It’s a great exercise to brainstorm this question: “To write a book or teach a workshop for my niche, what would I call it?”
Step Three: Identify 3-5 people that fit your niche. Ideally, these are the people you know. If not, then ask the network for recommendations. Contact them for informational talks.
Step Four: Conduct your informative interviews and ask for feedback on your second step ideas. Ask them what they read, where they hang out, what groups and organizations they join, what publications they subscribe to, and so on. Ask them about their experiences, needs, goals, and challenges. Ask them about what they did, where they went, who they worked with to get support for a need or goal that you will solve in your business. Listen very carefully to the language they use to describe their needs and goals. Ask about their three problems and their top three goals. Ask them to describe their ideal service or support program to meet their needs or goals.
Step Five: Compile your data and ideas and use them to design services, branding and programs for your niche. Follow your market research participants and get their feedback on your ideas, plus ask them for a recommendation. Remember: An important principle is that “people support what they help create,” and when you follow those who have helped you along the way, you will be pleasantly surprised by their excitement and support. In fact, a common and enjoyable by-product is that some of them can apply to your program!
Reminder – DO NOT USE SURVEYS! Read again above for an explanation if necessary.
Reminder – DO NOT SUBMIT MARKET RESEARCH and do what sounds good to you (this is all too common)
A word of warning
I have seen many savvy professionals acknowledge the wisdom of conducting marketing research to build their business and then ignore their data and fail or struggle as a result. Why? I suppose it’s effective, appropriate, and psychologically satisfying – a deadly trio when it goes wrong – to build your business on what “sounds good” to you or “looks right” to you. The golden rule is embedded in us.
No matter how good your results are or how many times in the past you have predicted what the marketplace will do, my advice is to first do market research and then design your services, programs and marketing on the hard data you generate. If this describes what you have already “hit”, then it brings you more power. But more often than not, market research will reframe your hypotheses; if not completely remove them (a humiliating but astonishingly informative experience).
Another way to remember all of the above – a more fun, more positive way – is simply this: market for your target audience, not for yourself. And make no mistake: you are not your target market. This is one of the biggest flaws in all marketing (by no means limited to therapists or coaches). Businesses of all sizes often forget that they are not their target market. Or to put it another way, they assume that it is their target market. So they just say to themselves, “Hey, this makes sense, so it must make sense to the people I’m trying to communicate with.”
Of course, all of the above depends on understanding the need to identify your niche as a target audience for your services. You cannot market effectively and help anyone and everyone; you need to target marketing to your specific, desired audience. See below for more information on choosing your niche.
So practice the Platinum Rule in your business, conduct market research and design your services, programs and marketing for your desired audience, and you can almost be guaranteed to be very successful.
by David Steele