With a population of over 100,000 people, Missoula County is home to approximately 10% of the state’s inhabitants (not including cows). This may seem like a great population base to conduct business in, but when you are competing with 14,122 other firms (wow that’s a lot!), it’s difficult to stand out in an economy that is so cluttered. (census.gov)
Don’t get me wrong, Missoula is a great place for a business to thrive, 65% of which are owned and operated by a single employee. (census.gov) The vast amount of sole proprietorships speaks a lot about this area of western Montana. The people here are passionate about their lifestyles and have turned this passion into an opportunity for other Missoula County residents to thrive within.
So when competing with over 14,000 other firms, how can your business’s message get through all of the clutter? Your business may not be directly competing with each of those businesses, but with all the media and advertising out there, every business is your competition when it comes to brand recognition and catching a consumer’s eye.
The following tips can be useful not just to Missoula businesses, but other businesses in cities where there are a vast amount of firms to compete with. Here is how your business can break through the clutter: (ok, now you’re talking)
First, it is essential that you keep your brand image consistent across all media and advertising platforms. Whether it’s your website, print advertisements, billboards or other signage, you want people to be able to recognize your business’s logo and message over your competition’s. This may seem like a no brainer, but especially when re-branding, businesses can find the logo on their website to be different from the logo on their brochures or advertisements. Keeping your brand image consistent will create better brand recognition for your customers.
Second, break free from the clutter by reducing the clutter. This doesn’t mean that you have to buy every ad space within city limits, but nothing is more frustrating than trying to read every word on a billboard as you are driving. Not only is this distracting to drivers, but it makes it difficult for potential customers to understand your message. Keep advertisements, whether it’s on a billboard, newspaper, online, or television, simple and easy to remember. A simple and recognizable logo with an easy call to action will drive people to your business more often than you think (no pun intended). Include your company name, slogan, location, and website, things that are easier to recall than a hard-to-read paragraph and a 10 digit phone number.
Third, know your target market and how to reach them. Don’t advertise on radio and television stations that your target market isn’t likely to tune into. Put the time and effort into finding out what your customers and potential customers like, and then find out the best way to maximize your brand’s exposure to this market. For example, if your business involves restoring antique cars to their original condition, purchasing a booth at a car show where you can give potential customers promotional products (such as a key chain or air freshener) would be a great way to reach your target market.(http://www.imprintmylogo.com/automotive.html)
Lastly, engage your customers. Don’t bombard them with your business’s products and services. It’s easy to find what you are looking for on the Internet, but what is more important today is customer service. Provide customers with more than just a product or service; develop a relationship with them that creates benefits beyond the features you are selling. This benefit could be your differential advantage that sets you apart from your direct competition. Whether its 1-day shipping or free lifetime repairs on your product, benefits like these are what customers are looking for the most.
Key takeaways: (you mean I didn’t have to read all of that other stuff?)
1. Keep your brand image consistent.
2. Keep your advertisements simple and recognizable.
3. Know your target market and how to reach them.
4. Engage your customers through great customer service.
It’s as simple as that. However, you’re not done yet. Be sure to spend some time researching your target market so that you can find out the best ways to reach them. Make sure all of your advertisements, signs, website pages, etc. display the same message and logo. Put more time into serving your current customers; they are easier to maintain than new customers and will be more apt to come back to your business.
I hope that these tips are helpful to you and your business. The information I provided isn’t any big secret, so be sure to share it with others who are looking to maximize their marketing potential!
K Design Marketing, Missoula, MT
Questions or Comments?
Contact me at: Kate@kdesignmarketing.com