ICS Magazine

Your 9-Step Marketing Plan - Step 2

November 25, 2008
Think about it: What exactly do you offer your clients?


Last month I began sharing the nine steps in your marketing plan (be sure to check it out at www.icsmag.com). The first step was to set sales goals. The second step is to outline a “Description of Your Service.”

At first blush, this may seem absurd – I mean, after all, don’t we clean carpet?

Not exactly. Instead, you are really providing a service. What is it about your service that is unique or different than that of other carpet cleaners?

One way to determine this is to identify things that others do (or don’t do) that you can compare with your operation. Remember, the consumer has choices when selecting a cleaning firm; you want to be able to share how you are unique and different, why they should use you and why they should pay you a higher price.

For example, if your competitors show up late, drunk and without any kind of identifiable uniform, and you arrive on time, sober and in clean, appropriate company attire, list that. Maybe they don’t do background checks, and they don’t offer a guarantee. Do some research; you might be surprised at what you find. List as many things as possible. Then begin to ask if anyone offers those things in your area.

Next, identify things that no one offers and list those. Once you have identified a number of things that set you apart, you then want to come up with what is called a USP (Unique Selling Proposition). This is your most promotable advantage.

My goal has always to been to take it to the ultimate level: the “Experience” level. I use coffee as the example for this. Coffee begins as a commodity. When it’s packaged, it becomes a good. When you go to Denny’s for a cup of coffee, you are getting a service. And then there’s Starbucks! The total experience.

Our goal is to provide the most outstanding service experience ever, so I have developed what I call the UEP (Unique Experience Proposition). Without getting too deep into the “Experiential Marketing” message, the point is, you want to think about how to describe your product or service in your plan.

What is it? What does it do? How does it make people feel? Why would they buy it? What problems does it solve?

Congratulations! You’ve made it through Step 2 of “Your 9-Step Marketing Plan: A Description of Your Service.” Next month we’ll look at Step 3. Remember, my passion is your success.