I've watched the original Apprentice with Donald Trump's business overachievers since last season and I just caught my first episode of The Apprentice, Martha Stewart last night.
And I must say I've noticed a common theme brewing. The tasks are usually lost, and an apprentice candidate fired, due to a lack of marketing and sales.
These teams of bright, creative and talented people develop new products, put on events and face other very challenging assignments every week. They don't always work well together as a team (that's another story and another article altogether!), but they are generally very proficient at successfully completing their tasks.
And they usually impress their high-powered, potential bosses, too. That is until they get to the results of the weekly contests.
Even with all their smarts, talent and great new products and ideas, in the end it is revealed they are often missing THE most important ingredient in any successful business venture: an effective marketing plan.
More often than not, the team that loses is the team that didn't market well; the team that didn't sell as much product. Because in the end that's what it's all about. It doesn't matter how great the product or event is. If no one buys or shows up, it's a bust.
And Donald Trump and Martha Stewart, two of the most successful businesspeople in the U. S. , know this. And they make decisions every week on national TV about who to fire because of it.
So why is it that all these highly educated, talented people can't market well enough to get the job done and get themselves a job - which is ultimately what they're all striving for?
My guess is because they were never taught how. And therein lies the reason many bright, talented and creative small business owners and entrepreneurs, with great products and services, also fail in business. In fact, according to Entrepreneur Magazine, 80% of all new businesses fail within the first five years. Ouch!
So what's the solution? Does someone need a degree in marketing to succeed in business?
Well, no. But some basic marketing know-how and the ability to put together a marketing plan is a must if a business is to succeed.
So what are the marketing basics a new business owner or entrepreneur needs to know?
Here are 5 marketing basics that are the cornerstone of any effective marketing plan:
1) Know and understand who you are marketing to, usually referred to as your target market. If you want your marketing message to be effective, it has to speak to YOUR audience. They have to connect with it. It has to be important and meaningful to them.
2) Know why this specific group of people would want to purchase your product or service - the old marketing acronym: WIIFM or “What's In It For Me?" Focus your marketing message on these key reasons or benefits.
3) What's your competition look like? You're not operating your business in a vacuum. Your potential customers have many choices. You need to be aware of and understand what those choices are.
5) And last, but probably most important, you need to understand how your product or service stands out from the competition. How is it better, or different? Why should someone buy your product or service instead of any of their other choices. Give them a compelling reason that ties in with what's important to them, and you've got a much better chance of winning the marketing game.
And in the case of The Apprentice candidates, winning the job.
(C) 2005 Debbie LaChusa
Debbie LaChusa created The 10stepmarketing System to make marketing your own business as simple as answering 10 questions. Learn more about this unique, step-by-step system and get a free 10-week Marketing E-Course when you subscribe to the free, weekly 10stepmarketing Ezine at http://www.10stepmarketing.com