Marketing and Business Management Tips for Driving School Owners

The  difference between successful managers / business owners who drive growing, successful businesses and those who can’t seem to get into basic growth mode and always tinker on the cliff of failure usually come down to a few critical factors. In my opinion these include:

  1. Having a clear marketing strategy that drives revenue and growth over the short, medium and long term.
  2. Cost Effective Marketing Tecniques.
  3. Effective Cash Flow Management.
  4. Financial responsibility, especially in the early days of the business. This entails investing money into the business, instead of spending it reckleslly
  5. Management Maturity and having the ability to focus on the bigger picture, not getting lost in the details. This empowers strong decision making ability.
  6. They persevere during difficult times while others quit.

In this post, we are going to focus on the first item on the list, putting together a succesfull marketing strategy.

Marketing Strategy

What is a Marketing Strategy:

"A Marketing strategy is the fundamental goal of increasing sales and achieving a sustainable competitive advantage. Marketing strategy includes all basic, short-term, and long-term activities in the field of marketing that deal with the analysis of the strategic initial situation of a company and the formulation, evaluation and selection of market-oriented strategies and therefore contribute to the goals of the company and its marketing objectives."

Many small business managers are so bogged down with basic marketing techniques such as brochures, websites, SEO,  sending email and newsletter campaigns etc that they are not taking the time to work on the thinkgs that’ll improve the performance of their techniques, specifically they lack a marketing strategy. The lack of a well structured and planned marketing strategy is a common flaw of many small and medium businesses.

What is the Definition of Strategy: "a plan of action designed to achieve a long-term or overall aim."

Strategy is simply the decisions you need to make so your techniques and efforts are more effective. Marketing strategy is the cornerstone of creating awareness for your brand, generating interest in your products and services, generating leads, closing sales and maintaining relationships with customers. All of these things need to be done for any business to have a really successfull sales cycle.

The development of a marketing strategy depends on the size of the entity, the nature of the products and services, laws and regulations and a number of different factors, for now we are going to focus on 6 key aspects of Marketing Strategy.

·         Know the difference between marketing and advertising!

·         Who is your target customer?

·         What is your business category?

·         What are your clear benefits?

·         Who are you competing with?

·         Are you different from the competition?

The difference between marketing and advertising!

Advertising is just one component, or subset, of marketing. Public relations, media planning, product pricing and distribution, sales strategy, customer support, market research and community involvement are all parts of comprehensive marketing efforts. Knowing and understanding that your advertising efforts are just one basic element of marketing as a whole will enable you to change your mind-set, and at the same time your actions and related expectations towards the advertising techniques you employ in your business.

Who is Your Target Customer?

The first decision in any marketing strategy is to define your target customer. “Who do you serve?” always needs to be answered clearly before you can execute any tactic effectively. This means you have to say “no” to other potential customers who might buy from you but who are clearly bad fits for your narrow focus. This takes time to develop the discipline, but you can’t do effective marketing without it.

Focusing on a well-defined target may make you uncomfortable at first, but stay the course and follow through.

If you are spending time and money on marketing but your efforts are not driving enough sales, the problem is almost always that you haven’t narrowed your target market definition enough to be effective. The narrower you define your market so you can focus on those that you can best serve and those that can best service you, the more effective your entire business will be.

What is Your Business Category?

Your category is simply the short description of what business you are in. What few words would someone say to describe your business?

Most business owners can’t resist over-complicating their company descriptions. This leaves people unsure of what you actually do, which weakens your marketing effectiveness. Here’s a simple rule: If someone can’t clearly remember your category description a month after you meet them, they were never clear about what you do in the first place.

Clearly defining your category helps amplify your marketing effort. Think of what it would take to be the best – the leader – in your category. You’re not the leader? Then narrow your category definition (or your target market focus) until you are the leader.

What is Your Unique Benefit?

Your unique benefit should highlight the one (or two) main things your product or service actually delivers (benefits) that your target customer really wants, not a long list of all the things your product does (features).

Who is Your Competition?

When someone is looking to buy a solution to a problem, they will quickly make sense of the alternatives to compare against – your competition. However, most entrepreneurs haven’t specifically defined who their real competition is and don’t focus their messages to create clear differentiation for their buyers. This frustrates the buying decision process and makes your marketing efforts weaker.

You need to be clear in your own mind about what your biggest competition is. If you are a lawyer, is your competition really the other lawyers in town? Other Lawyers or legal consultants?  DIY legal software?  National law chains and firms? Each competitor type would create different comparisons, so you need to narrow it down to one or two main competitor types. Competition could even be those other products and services that are competing for dollar spend.

Why Are You Different and Better for Your Target Customer?

Once you have defined your competition, make a list of all the things you do differently and better. Then rank each of them by how important these factors are to your target customer. Pick the top one or two and put them on your homepage and include them in your elevator pitch.

Don’t overcomplicate this. People just want to know one or two things to move their decision along. Is it cheaper? Do you have faster delivery?  Best personalized service? Are you the only lawyer who exclusively serves sports coaches in Dallas?

What Does Your Marketing Strategy Statement Look Like?

When you put the five key decisions of marketing strategy in a sentence form, it looks like this fill-in-the-blank statement:

Your company name is the leading category for target customers that provides unique benefit. Unlike competitors, your company does unique differentiator.

Try it for yourself: Fill in the blanks to create the marketing strategy statement for your own business. Get some perspective from employees, friends and best customers. List all the possibilities and then make some decisions. Say it out loud a few times. You should feel clarity and power coming through. It will also show you a few things you could stop doing in your business that would create more focus.

Can you see why it makes no sense to Tweet, to send a broadcast email or build a new website if you are not clear about your marketing strategy that has laser-like focus? Doing these tactics without a road map – your marketing strategy – will not deliver the right customers and will give you fewer sales than if you had invested the time to implement a focused marketing strategy.

Here’s the real secret that successful companies practice with extreme discipline: Creating a clear marketing strategy is not what companies do after they get big, it’s what small companies do to grow and get bigger in the first place.

About DrivingLABS

DrivingLABS Driving School Management offers completely Web-based data management. Driving school owners, instructors, customer support staff, students, and parents can all access the system using the internet 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. We keep our software and each school's database on servers located behind a secure firewall in a data center.

Other interesting Links:

A Simple Plan for Measuring the Marketing Effectiveness of Content : http://contentmarketinginstitute.com/2014/07/simple-plan-measuring-marketing-effectiveness-of-content/

Measuring Marketing Campaigns: http://www.entrepreneurial-insights.com/how-to-measure-effectiveness-of-marketing-campaigns/

Mesrung Marketing Effectiveness:

Sources: This article is taken from content compiled from various sources on the Web. References are made where possible.

Wikipedia, www.matchinglabs.com, www.infusionsoft.com, www.entrepreneurial-insights.com; contentmarketinginstitute.com