5 marketing strategy tips to get you back on track
Without a marketing strategy, one obstacle that could knock your business into trouble, would be the plethora of choices available. There are bucket loads of channels, networks, digital platforms, and tools. You could even argue that there are almost too many opportunities to place your message in front of your customers.
The trouble is we might get caught up in the race to be first with everything or become paralysed by the sheer volume of choice. Of course neither option is ideal, is it?
I mean, if we look at ‘being first with’ – quite often in our haste, we cut corners or don’t slow down enough to determine what’s working.
On the other hand, if we become paralysed by choice – we don’t get moving at all.
One size does not fit all in modern marketing.
At times, marketing strategists encourage us to just go ahead and ‘do it’ and if it doesn’t work, then break it and start again. We’re not a big fan of this method as we believe that with a little bit of smarter thinking and a plan, you can stay out of trouble.
Being resourceful in your planning is the secret ingredient.
An important element of a resourceful plan is to have an understanding of who your target customer is. Rather than using the usual social demographics to do so, we believe buyer personas are a better solution.
Personas are semi-fictional representations of your ideal customer. Here’s a good definition of personas from Tony Zambito,
“Buyer personas are researched-based archetypal (modelled) representations of who buyers are, what they are trying to accomplish, what goals drive their behaviour, how they think, how they buy, and why they make buying decisions.”
When developing a marketing strategy, therefore, because one size does not fit all it is important to obtain actionable insights from your buyers. Then you can engage them in a smarter way.
For example, there is absolutely no point in providing the same online content to your various customers on Twitter, Snapchat and LinkedIn. More than likely, there will be different types of users on each of these channels.
If we take the time to plan resourcefully around our content and our channels, we can engage with our customers/prospects in a way that suits them.
How to avoid making marketing mistakes.
If you’re an SME or a relatively young start-up like us, I’m sure you are very conscious of how you spend your marketing euros. The very first thing, we believe, that you must get right is to identify your unique selling point (USP).
You simply must stand out from your competitors. Do this by picking out one single thing that makes your business different and build your marketing around that.
Bearing in mind our comments on buyer personas above, another area to be conscious of is engaging with the wrong audience. It is imperative that you don’t waste your efforts on people who aren’t in the market for your offering. If you know who and where your real audiences are – you can reach them.
Once you have your USP and you’ve identified your audience, the next thing to get right is your pricing. You probably have a notion as to how much your offering is worth, but take the time to think about what people will pay.
Research what your competitors are charging and be agile when charging different customers. Overpricing leads to a wasteful marketing effort.
Now that we have our pricing looked after we need to ensure that we engage with our customers how, when and where they want us to. We alluded to channels and people being aligned above, and would reiterate that unless the mediums you choose, deliver on your business objectives – don’t waste your time.
Finally, if you just don’t enjoy marketing at all and don’t have the in-house resources – outsource it. If you don’t and hate blogging or engaging online, there is a chance that this will come across in your communication.
In addition to creating a negative image, you might prioritise other activities that you do enjoy to the detriment of the marketing of your business. Your marketing outsourced could be a less costly way of growing your business in the long run.
Tips and Timesavers.
The title of this post promises to explain how a marketing strategy can keep your business out of trouble. So let’s take a look at some of the more common problems with strategies and their solutions.
- Problem: No clear marketing strategy.
- Solution: try creating buyer personas, then align specific channels and a content plan.
- Problem: Using tactics only means positive results are difficult to repeat.
- Solution: plan for revenue, budget, time, campaign, data and content. Tactics will fall out of these.
- Problem: A competitor has the same strategy = competing on price alone.
- Solution: tell your story, promote your personality and deliver great customer service.
- Problem: Your strategy does not match people’s needs.
- Solution: intensify your customer focus by integrating all engagement towards building relationships.
- Problem: Marketing strategy is not aligned with your business objectives.
- Solution: no excuses here, marketing must show how it helps to achieve business objectives.
Despite some of the solutions mentioned here, you really should have a marketing strategy in place. It doesn’t matter how basic it is. A strategy is the rationale for your marketing initiatives and binds them together towards delivering business results.
Recently, I came across this post by Kevan Lee, (Content Crafter with Buffer). It outlines how to go about spending $100 on social media, which I found interesting. It also led me to thinking – how can we get more from a marketing budget? Our general approach would be to 1) align a strategy around a target audience, 2) track the ROI of marketing spend monthly, 3) ensure the budget is for cross-channel activity (use inbound marketing) and 4) stay agile by adapting and updating.
So go on – create your strategy, using inbound marketing to maximise your impact and assess it on an ongoing basis.
“We hope you have enjoyed our marketing tips and timesavers blog” – Aidan & Jim.
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