I watched another video over the weekend, this time with Byron Sharp, professor of Marketing Science at the University of South Australia where he speaks of the importance of “mental and physical availability” in achieving brand growth.

According to prof Sharp, being available should be the main goal for a brand. He goes on to talk about the two types of availability: mental, which means people know about you, and physical, meaning you are easy to find and buy from.

I hear of many businesses that struggle. Often marketing gets the blame; that it simply isn’t working. But here’s the question: what should marketing do? Prof Sharp gives the clearest answer: marketing should take care of the “mental availability” part, namely to make sure people know about you. Straightforward stuff.

Do your potential customers, at the very least, know about you? That’s first base. After that one can focus on higher order challenges, such as how well this “awareness” converts to “enquiries” and eventually, sales.

Probably the most basic marketing strategy I can think of looks like this:

  • Who do we want to sell to?
  • Where do we find them?
  • How do we make them aware of us?

If you can answer these questions, you are already streets ahead of the competition. That’s right, they’ve probably not even considered this.

Ideally, one should add a fourth question to the above: how will we measure success? Essentially, how will you know that your marketing is indeed creating awareness? One way is a simple phone call to 10 prospective customers every 6 months – just ask them: have you heard of us? If the numbers start to climb, your marketing is having an impact.

Some say that it is who you know that determines success. Perhaps another question your business should be asking is: “who knows you?” Are you mentally available?