Lesson 7: Marketing

What You’ll Learn: There’s no reason to go into business if no one knows how to find you. Marketing is a key component of your strategy for success. In this segment, we’ll lift the shroud of mystery surrounding marketing and show you proven tools and techniques for getting the word out to your target customers, even if you’re doing it on a shoestring.

Marketing (continued)


  1. Become a customer. Visit your competitor and experience their brand first hand. See how they market the company, study their website and ads. What is their pricing strategy? Where are they positioned in the marketplace?
  2. Do a brand survey. Think of all the brands with which you come into contact. Which ones stick out in your mind? Why? What do they promise and what do they deliver? What emotions do they invoke? Where are they positioned on the spectrum (luxury, price-conscious, quality service, best selection, etc.)?
  3. Visit a lot of websites. Visit websites that are both within your industry and those that are not. See what you like and what you don’t like about each one and make a note of these. Pay particular attention to their online shopping experience and customer service tools. Write your observations down so you can share them with your designer.
  4. Create and master your elevator pitch. Spend some time crafting your elevator pitch. Share the draft with friends, colleagues and even complete strangers to get a sense of how well it captures your business and how what each person remembers about it so you can identify core truths that can be used to massage it further.
  5. Write your story. Every story has a protagonist, and antagonist and an arc. The protagonist can be your company, your product or service, or it can be your customer. The antagonist is typically the pain point, the problem. The arc describes how your protagonist meets the problem head-on and vanquishes it, like the proverbial knight in shining armor riding in on his steed. Write it up like the examples we provided. It doesn’t have to be Tolstoy or even James Patterson.
  6. Name it. If you haven’t thought of a working title for your company, product or service, brainstorm for a bit. As you come up with ideas, be sure to see if they are already registered in the state or federally. Federal trademarks trump state ones, so it’s always a good idea to start there. It’s not that two names can’t exist in the marketplace (think Pandora, the makeup retailer and Pandora, the music streaming service), but you do want to choose something that is hopefully descriptive, doesn’t cause confusion, is easy to remember and won’t trigger a lawsuit.
  7. Cleary identify the following elements of your business.
  • Product – Include the features and attributes
  • Place – Where will customers find your product?
  • Price – What price points do you intend to set?

Now, using demographic and psychographic variables, identify two target markets for your business and/or products. Demographic variables can include age, gender, income, occupation, geography, marital status and education. Psychographic variables can include values, beliefs, hobbies, etc.

Here is an example:

Target Market 1:

  • Women
  • Ages 18-24
  • Living in the Yakima Valley
  • High school graduate
  • Income range: $24-36K/year
  • Not married
  • No children
  • Value personal growth
  • Enjoy yoga and meditation

Once you have two target markets identified, consider the final “P” of the Marketing Mix and decide how you will “Promote” to each target market. What will you say about your product/business to generate interest and create action (sales)? Which media and communication tools will you use to reach them?