NEW YORK, NY – On May 1, 2010 in the New York News Today website, there is a good article by Small Business Marketing Coach, J D Moore entitled, 5 Things Howard Stern Can Teach You About Small Business Marketing.

Good call by Mr. Moore. Who would expect such business acumen from a radio “shock jock” and who would even bother to pay attention? It just “shows to go ya” that people will surprise you so it pays to pay attention.

Howard Stern’s advice is right on the money. He clearly demonstrates that he has a good sense of business and the branding that is necessary for success. I’m not a fan of Howard Stern. I don’t particularly like his brand of entertainment. But I have to hand it to him because he’s good at what he does. Here is a summary of the points in the article:

1. Tightly Targeted Market
Know your audience and consistently give them what they want. This is what Howard Stern does. He knows his audience. He is unapologetic. He doesn’t water down what he does or try to make it more palatable for a bigger audience. Keep a tight focus on what you have to offer. This makes it more likely that your brand will be known and recognized.

By targeting his market very tightly he has built an audience of millions of very dedicated fans.

He knows that some people won’t like him, and he’s fine with that. Small business marketing should be tightly focused. It is true that many people will be disqualified from becoming your customers, but if there are enough of them, then you’ll stand a better chance of finding them and keeping them.

2. Consistent Brand
Make sure your message is always the same. Don’t waffle about. Keep it consistent. Brand recognition depends on a consistent message or consistent quality.

When you tune in to Howard Stern you’ll always know what you’re going to get. People who like him will always come back for more because his message is always the same. They know what to expect from Howard Stern and they can rely on it. He always delivers.

Customers are usually loyal because they go to a lot of trouble to find what they want and they like to keep it that way. Don’t take advantage of customer loyalty or you’ll lose them. It takes a lot of effort and expense to get new customers and a lot less to keep them as long as you keep delivering what they want. One bad buying experience is enough for you to lose them. Customers become accustomed to consistent quality and they expect it.

3. Authentic Branding
Be sincere. Be honest. Don’t try to pull the wool over the customer’s eyes. Customers are not stupid. They know when they’re being lied to.

With Howard Stern you get the sense that he is 100% honest and that he is putting his real self forward. When he takes the microphone, his story appears to be authentic. He is not afraid to present himself in an unflattering light.

Today there is a movement in marketing to present a truly authentic message. People have learned not to trust advertising, so today’s consumers are a lot more savvy than those of the past. BS just doen’t sell, so marketers need to find more honest and sincere ways to connect to their audience.

Self-deprecating marketing is not always recommended, but it has worked in the past. Avis built their marketing reputation around the slogan, “We try harder” because they we’re number 2 behind Hertz Rent-A-Car.

4. Multiple Channel Presence
We have a future article planned around this one point. Find and use multiple channels of distribution for your product or service.

Howard Stern is known primarily for his radio show, but he had a successful running TV show and has also made successful forays into books, movies, and the Internet.

Good marketing should reach it’s target via multiple channels. Every small business should have a website, an email list and do direct mail. You should create customer referral programs and get customers to become your salespeople. If you have a brick-and-mortar location, you should have a nice, attractive space, have good signage and advertise locally. You can also sponsor events and speak in front of groups. As a small business owner, you need to constantly remind people who you are and what you have to offer.

5. Embrace Technology
This is one point where a small business could easily fall behind – especially for those who are not tech savvy or slow to adapt to new technology.

Howard Stern recently moved from free commercial radio to paid Sirius satellite radio. He also does On-Demand cable broadcasting. These moves demonstrate that he’s on the cutting edge of technology. Radio will be changed forever because the audience he will bring with him will bring economic pressures to bear upon it.

Technology can give a small business the leverage it can use to compete with larger companies who have more resources. Technology resources are cheap but far-reaching. A small business owner can use web sites, podcasts, blogs, email lists, message boards and forums and social networking to reach millions of people. The communications tools available to small business are mind boggling.

If you are not comfortable with technology, then you should step outside your comfort zone and get some education. Attend classes and seminars and read publications to stay up to date. Make some new friends … get with it.

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