Working as a marketing strategist for over 20 years has given me some valuable insight into the key ingredients of marketing success. Social media together with major technology changes has certainly broadened the scope and range of marketing strategies. However common sense tried and tested rules still apply. Here are my top 10 Must Dos.
Must Do 1.
Marketing Strategy – first step is to write a robust marketing strategy in line with your business objectives. It is critical that your marketing strategy is part of your business plan and supports the delivery of your goals. To be deliverable a good strategy should highlight what resources you will need to get you there. In addition, to ensure that it is manageable, the strategy needs to clarify the priorities for success in the short medium and long term. Get professional help with creating a marketing strategy if you need to.
Must Do 2.
Measure– ensure your marketing strategy is measurable and has a timeline with milestones so that you can chart success and maximise your return on investment. Build analytics metrics into your strategy so that you can continually track the success of your marketing activity to ensure that it is delivering the outcomes you want. This approach will help you to evaluate and revise your plans where necessary to boost results and minimise waste on activities that do not deliver.
Must Do 3.
Beware of just buying niche services – don’t just buy what the marketer is selling. Be wary of buying ad hoc specialist marketing services without ensuring that you have a proper understanding of your specific business needs. If you do not have a written marketing strategy don’t be tempted by special offers for random marketing activity. Instead be insistent that the marketer does a full marketing review to ensure they do a proper 360° of your business needs. If they don’t write marketing strategies, then look for someone who does. You should be able to get this done for a fixed fee. You can always come back to a niche marketing supplier once your clear about the best marketing strategy for your business.
Must Do 4.
It’s About Them Not You – remember that although marketing is a part of your business plan, to be effective it should be about pleasing and engaging your customers and not so much about you and your preferences. Obviously it is important for you to be comfortable with creative content. However please bear in mind that you might not have similar tastes as your target audience. If in doubt test ideas and split test marketing campaigns until you are sure that they you get the desired response from potential customers.
Must Do 5.
Niche – consider serving a niche market. The old cliché is often true – sometimes it is better to be a big fish in a smaller pond than to try to compete with big fish in a bigger pond. Serving a niche can help you to be more streamlined and targeted with your marketing and help you to efficiently and effectively tailor your messages at a smaller group rather than trying to reach the whole market. Why not incorporate niche marketing into your scale up plans so that you plan to succeed in one market and then roll out your success strategy to more niche areas or a wider market?
Must Do 6
Use Resources Efficiently – an important aim of your marketing strategy should be to deliver maximum results as cost effectively as possible. If your budget or resources are limited, adopt a phased approach to build your marketing capacity. This is where a good marketing strategy will be useful to help you to prioritise the marketing activity and resources you need at each stage to give you the short medium and long term results you want.
Must Do 7
Know Your Customer Base – do thorough research to find out about their needs and preferences. Research should also scope out, not just their demographics but also their preferred media and channels of communication. It also almost goes without saying that you should research the competition and get to know about their success or otherwise in the market place and what strategies they use.
Must Do 8
Reasonable Budget – set aside a reasonable budget for marketing. Generally, it is fair to say that you get what you pay for. However, with the right strategy, successful marketing results can be achieved cost effectively. Be clear with your marketing professionals about budget levels and agree clear target outcomes against timelines or other milestones. Use your budget efficiently to get the greatest results by using strategies with the potential to lever larger results. Try peer to peer, word of mouth viral marketing campaigns which can be set up for a relatively modest initial investment.
Must Do 9
Build relationships – one-way marketing communications are increasingly being superseded by two-way relationship between customers and their brands. Social media has been the game changer here. Consider building a community or at the very least ensure your marketing strategy is designed to engage your customers and encourage brand advocates to lead peer to peer recommendations.
Must Do 10
Be authentic – consider critical factors such as the role of reputation and ensure that you do not turn customers off by breaking promises or spamming them with aggressive self-serving sales messages. Also consider integrating customer service into your marketing objectives to keep these strategies aligned. After all it’s as important what customers say about you as what you say about yourself in the social media world. Consequently, your reputation is key and needs to be synonymous with your brand being seen as trustworthy, transparent and respectful towards customers.
If you would like help with your marketing strategy click here to get in touch – Diana Chrouch – Chrouch Consulting – Marketing Strategy Services