I like the way things fit together, especially when they fit together well.
I suppose I always have. That may be why I gravitate toward all things mechanical. There is an elegant beauty in the functionality presented by mechanical systems not everyone is fortunate enough to see. But they’re there if you look hard enough.
One of the great frustrations of my present life is that I am no longer immersed in the world that was once mine. No more difficult and challenging drivability or mechanical problems to satisfy my curiosity. However, that doesn’t mean I am no longer fascinated by the way things fit together.
It just means the things that fascinate me are different. A host of other diverse and complicated relationships to feed my need to know and understand.
Some of these systems — Perhaps, the majority — have to do with paradigms. The assumptions we embrace. Assumptions we must make in order to make sense of the world around us and our place in it. And, that’s OK. Trying to navigate through the labyrinth of human experience can be just as challenging as any difficult mechanical or drivability problem. Perhaps, even more.
That’s because most—if not all—systems are designed to operate with consistent and dependable regularity. While virtually all human behavior is dynamic. In a constant state of flux and all too often, unpredictable. That doesn’t mean you can ignore the puzzle pieces. It just means you have to look harder to see how they fit together if you are to make any sense out of what’s going on in the world around you.
I wrote a book whose message is incredibly important to me and has proven invaluable to countless readers. Recognizing the impact Misfire: What to Do When Things Aren’t Running on All Cylinders can have has made expanding awareness and exposure critical. At least, to me.
This is a goal—a critical objective—no different than your need to increase customer share and market penetration for your independent automotive repair business. One that can only be accomplished through marketing. And, successful marketing depends on understanding your target market’s wants, needs, and expectations.
Accomplishing that requires the establishment of a framework of assumptions — paradigms — to facilitate your understanding of those wants, needs, and expectations. To help you appreciate how all these critical components of a successful marketing plan fit together.
It also requires the realization that the wants, needs, and expectations of your customers and potential clients may be far different than your own. And, that understanding those differences successfully requires observation, analysis, and evaluation.
Fit and Finish
How does it all fit together? Perhaps, more to the point, how can it all fit together?
The greater universe of individuals I would like to share Misfire’s message with are all small business owners and entrepreneurs. One segment of that target audience is you or folks just like you: independent automotive repair shop owners. That’s why one of the two principal characters in Misfire is a shop owner. This is my segment. The segment I am most comfortable and familiar with. These are wants, needs, and expectations I am certain I have addressed adequately. Completely…
Independent contractors and building trade professionals are another group of small business owners and entrepreneurs I am working hard to penetrate. However, it is a group I am far less familiar with. That lack of familiarity resulted in serious research. Outreach that included travel, days invested in boot camps and workshops, relationship-building, and invitations for a select group of contractors to participate as readers as Misfire’s story was developed.
Their participation was essential. Imperative, in fact, if they were going to see their wants, needs, and expectations, accurately reflected in Misfire. If they were to find the message and lessons revealed in Misfire relevant.
Introducing anything new into a crowded marketplace is a challenge: a marketing challenge. You have to get the right message to the right people at the right moment in time. A message that will resonate for them. One they are comfortable with. A message designed to get the right people sitting in the right seats on the right bus headed in the right direction.
Define — Determine — Engage — Satisfy
To do that, you must define your ideal client. Then, figure out where they are and what they want. Next, you must get their permission to engage in a dialogue. Then, provide them with the information you know they need. And, you must provide that information in a way in which they are most comfortable.
Once upon a time, that was print and paper. Then, there was a subsequent shift to digital. And, most recently, another—perhaps, greater shift—to audio.
Understanding how all of this fit together within the context of a marketing plan resulted in three versions of Misfire: paperback, digital (Kindle or eBook), and audio.
How different is this from the challenges you face, especially now? Especially, in this crisis-driven marketplace.
The questions, challenges, obstacles, and opportunities are the same. Aren’t they?
Managing expectations properly: honestly, openly, and accurately, is perhaps the single most critical function in successfully marketing any product or service.
Get it wrong… Over-promise and under-deliver, and you’re toast! Under-promise and over-deliver and you’ve taken the first step needed to build a lifetime relationship with what we all hope will be a loyal and lifetime customer.
The only way I know to do that is by understanding the wants and needs of your target market — your ideal client — better and more completely than they do themselves. Certainly, better than any of your competitors!
None of us needs an individual or service-driven business to do anything for us we are already capable of doing for ourselves. Not unless the desire to have that service performed translates into a want. However, there are wants and needs that transcend our own capabilities — our own capacity — that are waiting to be discovered, revealed, and ultimately satisfied.
Take time. Make the effort.
The pieces are all there. The puzzle just waiting to be completed. All you need to do is figure out how they fit together.