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3 Thoughts on Business Development From Marion Crawford, Founder and CEO of Crawford Strategy, a Marketing and Branding Agency

Question One: Please introduce yourself, including what you do.

My name is Marion Crawford. I am the founder and CEO of Crawford Strategy, a full-service marketing and branding agency based in Greenville, SC. We are a team of 30 spirited thinkers and doers on a mission to help brands become unforgettable. We determine what makes them stellar and share their unique brand story with the right audiences. We have clients in a variety of industries, but have a particular depth of expertise in healthcare, financial services, higher education and travel and tourism. Our clients include Prisma Health, United Community Bank, University of South Carolina Upstate and North Myrtle Beach. I have had the pleasure of speaking at Becker’s Hospital Review conferences as well as Becker Strategy Group’s inaugural conference. For more information about how we elevate brands, please visit crawfordstrategy.com.

Question Two: What are your top 3 tips for successful business development?

1. An integrated marketing and communications strategy is key to a strong business development effort. If you know what makes your company unique and can show how your company is helping other businesses or people, you should share that information with the world. Be sure to leverage the many media platforms available to you to reach your potential customers.
a) Owned media: this includes your website, blog, signage, newsletters, etc. Make sure your owned media is compelling, engaging, and relevant to your clients’ needs.
b) Shared media: this includes your various social channels. Shared media is a powerful tool for building your brand reputation. Develop a plan for each of your social platforms that speaks to and engages the audience on that particular channel.
c) Earned media: historically, this has been traditional public relations media outlets like print, TV, and radio, but can also include online and email publications. Regularly share your company accomplishments or unique stories, especially those that would be meaningful to your prospective customers.
d) Paid media: advertising remains a great way to craft and share your message with prospective customers. Today, clients have the opportunity to connect with their desired audience through an array of digital channels, including paid social advertising, streaming video ads and search engine marketing (SEM). It takes the right combination of digital strategy and creative content to reach a target audience where they already spend time online. In today’s digital age, this holistic approach is critical to a client’s success.

2. Your prospective customer should play the starring role in your business development efforts. You can shout from the rooftops about what you do, but if you don’t consider what your prospective customer wants or needs, then you are missing a big opportunity. It should always be about the customers and their goals first. Then, it is about you and your ability to help them meet those identified goals.

3. Share your expertise to hook new customers. Make information available to your prospective customers that would help them achieve their goals. You can offer newsletters that are filled with helpful information, publish e-books and white papers on your website for download, or can speak at conferences and share tips. When you have already helped a prospect with a need, this may be the thing that brings them back to you as a customer in the future.

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