World class companies gain customers by planting a franchise idea in their prospects minds. They do this by getting on the shopping list, And by directing half of  their media budget towards targeting the right kind of customer.

When Knott’s Berry Farm wanted to advertise in southern California they purchased ad space on 3000 billboards. Here’s what these billboards said.

3 things to do in Southern California.

(1) Go to the Beach.
(2) Go to Disneyland.
(3) Go to Knott’s Berry Farm.

These billboards cost tens of thousands of dollars. Why do you think they placed themselves in third place on their own billboards?

They knew that when people came to southern California, going to Knott’s Berry farm would not be the first thing on their agenda. As long as they were on the shopping list they were positioning themselves for success.

As a business owner the first thing you have to do is to get on the shopping list. You can’t get a result if you are invisible.

One of the largest sofa bed retailers in the US wanted to do things differently. Others advertised on price and he wanted to stop waging price wars and stand alone. It occurred to him one day that people only bought sofa beds when they needed them. When relatives would come for a visit and stay over, or when friends would spend the summer with you.

He began to advertise differently. His sofabeds weren’t discounted and his ads were the largest. He knew that he could get on the shopping list by appearing bigger than everyone else and people would remember his ads.

When it came time for them to buy a sofabed they would probably come to him and he would get the price he wanted. Therefore it was pointless to discount and try to encourage people to buy a sofabed when they weren’t ready to buy one.

The Henley Dawson Cadillac dealership in Downtown Chicago was sold for $100 million when Henley died. It was the largest price ever paid for a single dealership with a single outlet. It was the largest dealership in Chicago and Henley had thousands of loyal customers who repeatedly bought new cars from him.

Here’s how Henley Dawson advertised his business.

Because you’re important to us. Respectfully yours Henley Dawson Cadillac, Downtown Chicago.

This slogan appeared on all his ads, all his business cards and all his letterheads. It was the guiding principle of his business. Henley knew that without loyal customers he would never have achieved what he did.

All of these businesses were strategic with their marketing. Most businesses are tactical.

The difference is simple.

STRATEGY – Is the vision, the big picture, the ultimate goal we set for our businesses, coupled together with a set of guiding principles.

GUIDING PRINCIPLES – Are the things you will and won’t do to achieve the vision. Some people will do almost anything to succeed, even compromise their own standards. But this kind of success is fleeting and it almost never lasts.

TACTICS – Are the various methods we employ to achieve the goal or strategy we set.

If our goal or strategy is to get a consistent flow of quality website visitors in a particular market or niche, then the tactics must include the research that will help us find the kind of places or networks we need to advertise to achieve that goal.

Are you Strategic or Tactical in your thinking?