This is a question I get asked A LOT.
And I understand why people ask me or have a cynical attitude to marketing. It’s usually because they’ve recently purchased an industry advert, run a Facebook campaign or sent an eNewsletter and got zero results from it.
So naturally, they think that marketing doesn’t work.
But here’s the thing…
While you can do marketing without any planning, effort or research – like most things in life – you get out of it what you put in.
You wouldn’t expect to see immediate results from one gym session so why would you from one ad hoc marketing action?
So what’s the secret?
Have a plan and be consistent. (I can hear the groans already – but it’s true!)
If you’ve read our 6 step marketing framework you’ll know that there’s a lot of hard work and consistent focus required to create, implement and maintain a strong and results driven marketing function.
But it’s not all bad news.
With time and effort doing the ground work, I believe any business (no matter the size or product) can be ‘a business that markets’.
What do I mean by that?
I mean that everything you do resonates with your ideal customer.
From the messaging you put out there and the email campaigns you produce to your website and elevator pitch at networking events.
Every single marketing touch point’s your potential customer’s experience with your brand is well thought out, consistent and targeted.
Sound impossible? It’s not.
The foundation to any profitable marketing activity is information, strategy, and implementation. The most fabulous design in the world will not compensate for not having a market profile knowledge and marketing activity that targets ‘everyone’ rather than your ideal customer.
Each and every business is different, however, the basics are the same;
1. Know your business and your market
This means a SWOT analysis, customer/prospect research and a value proposition statement that’s not generic.
2. Have a clearly defined brand story
This is a one-page document containing your brand values, value proposition, and key communication messages.
Even if you’re a solo operator, investing some time in creating marketing guidelines is not time wasted. It forces you to sit down and think about how you market your business and how you want your marketing suppliers to develop your marketing material.
Outline your target market, customer segments, and marketing objectives. Lock in what messages are going to be communicated to each segment and how your brand will be positioned.
5. Tactics (the bit most people jump to straight away)
Create a marketing calendar detailing specific channels and activity. Show what campaigns you’ll run and how much time, materials, people and cash you’ll need to invest.
Look at the results in light of the objectives you set. What’s working, what’s not, what will you change? Marketing is a continuous cycle of adjustment and refinement, and it’s important to build time into your schedule for this last step.
So that’s my answer. If you really want your marketing to work, you’ve got to work at it, constantly and consistently while following a strong strategic plan.
But it’s well worth the effort.