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After 30 years in the industry, Australian marketing expert John Dwyer has seen businesses try everything.

Dwyer has worked with thousands of businesses of all sizes, boasting KFC and Westfield among his clients. However, whether they’re big or small, he believes most of them are making the same mistakes with their marketing.

According to Dwyer, the biggest mistake businesses are making is trying to compete on price rather than marketing their unique ‘wow’ factor.

“You don’t want people buying on price, because if they’re doing that with you this week they’re going to the guy who’s cheaper next week,” he said.

“Two dollar stores are built to compete on price, but most of us butchers, bakers, and candlestick makers can’t continue to have 50 per cent discounts. It might be an interesting thing to do once to draw a lot of people in, but you can’t do it every week,” Dwyer said.

For small businesses, the problem lies in their lack of marketing expertise.

“When I’m doing seminars, I’ll stand on the stage and ask, who believes that sales and marketing skills are the most important thing in business? Of course everyone will put their hand up. They all have solicitors or accountants, because they’re not experts in those areas, but when I ask how many people have someone advising them on marketing, nobody puts their hand up,” Dwyer said.

“It’s interesting that they’ve admitted themselves that sales and marketing skills are the most important thing they need in their business, but they don’t have someone helping them out with it,” he added.

While investment in marketing advice is key, setting up a good website is an important step that SMB owners can take on their own.

“If you don’t have a website now, people don’t even see you as being a decent business. The first thing we all do now is go to someone’s website and see what they’ve done in the past,” Dwyer said.

“If you don’t have a website then you’re categorised in many people’s minds as being a very, very small business and not trustworthy. No matter what business you are, you need a website, because you need a 24/7 salesperson acting on your behalf.”

Dwyer has five key steps to marketing success:


Determine who your target audience is. Determine how old they are, their occupation, their lifestyle, their marital status, educational status, and geographic location.

Create a wow factor to take their eye off the price

That’s what McDonald’s have done for 30 years with their Happy Meal toy. The toy takes the parent’s eye off the price because the kids keep saying they want a Happy Meal. The ‘wow’ might not always be a free something, it might be a reward scheme.

Use the problem-solution formula

Give your prospects a problem, then provide a solution.

Have a very good website

A lot of SMBs have woeful websites that aren’t offering customers anything. They don’t have video testimonials or welcome videos, or any problem-solution headlines.

Repetitive trade

Businesses need to have a repetitive trade formula so that people are returning to their business. You don’t want one sale, you want a customer, and a person doesn’t become a customer unless they buy twice, three times, or four times.

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Gina Baldassarre

Gina Baldassarre

Gina is a journalist at Dynamic Business. She enjoys learning to ice skate and collecting sappy inspirational quotes.

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