How to achieve more success with your marketing
“Even the best companies in the world get it wrong, the trick is to have more successes than failures.” We think that’s a great quote and something you can take comfort and courage from when you’re thinking about what you’re doing with your marketing.
If you’re a small or medium business, the chances are that your marketing plans and activity rarely make it to the top of your list of priorities; there’s always something else that demands attention, competing for your time and input and, unless you have a dedicated marketing manager or department, it’s likely that planning your marketing will always remain gathering dust at the bottom of the pile.
But you can take it from us that your marketing isn’t a luxury or an optional business extra, it’s critical to the longevity and continued growth of your business. And don’t be mislead by buoyant sales in the here and now – if you allow your marketing to take a back seat, your sales will take a nosedive at some point just around the corner.
Let’s briefly turn the clock back to 1975 when Betamax video was launched on an untapped market and became a huge success; marketing’s job was done. But then VHS arrived on the scene and the rest is history. The moral of this cautionary tale is never take success for granted as there’s always a young pretender coming up behind you.
So if your time and budget are limited, what areas should you be concentrating on to get the most value from your marketing activity?
Block out a regular chunk of time to focus on your marketing – budgeting, planning, activity, testing and reviewing.
Big brands are spending lots of time and money trying to appear more approachable; Innocent use their social media channels to brilliant effect so this style of interaction and ‘banter’ is worth considering if it could work for your brand and audience. Think, how can your business appear more accessible to your key markets?
Consider different forms of marketing such as webinars, live chats, social media, mobile, outdoor or even guerilla marketing to stir up awareness, curiosity and engagement. Who remembers the epic Coke vs Pepsi battle in the early 1980s? Pepsi rolled out the “Pepsi Challenge” where people ‘blind taste tested’ Pepsi and Coke – and to everyone’s surprise, not least of all Pepsi’s – a significant majority of testers actually preferred Pepsi to the leading brand. Once they were sure the results really were in their favour, Pepsi rolled out the results in a TV campaign.
Now while this may not have knocked Coke off the top slot, it certainly dented their confidence and should have turned at least a good share of previously-loyal Coke supporters to the rival brand, and it was, if nothing else, a massive conversation point. If that kind of marketing happened today, the chatter on social media and level of engagement would be absolutely huge so it really could pay dividends to think differently and creatively.
Make sure you know what you’re trying to achieve before you get going ie. What does success actually look like? Is it more sales, media coverage, new followers, more hits on your website? Once you know where you’re going it will be much easier to figure out when you’ve arrived (and this will be the measure of your success and ROI).
One of the biggest mistakes you can make is to start a newsletter, social media activity or advertising – and then stop. It’s all about repetition and building momentum with your marketing. There’s no point posting to Twitter every day for a week, then nothing for months. You need to keep the faith and keep it going with regular communication to build awareness and brand loyalty.
Also, keep your marketing messages consistent across every channel and touchpoint – so you can tell your story in a myriad of different ways, but the core message should always be the same.
Learn from your mistakes
As Richard Branson says “One thing is certain in business. You and everyone around you will make mistakes. When you are pushing the boundaries, this is inevitable – and it’s important to realise this. Even when things are running well, there is always the prospect of a new reality round the corner.”
This is where measuring and testing comes in. When you’re trying something new with your marketing, test the results before launching in a big way. This will enable you to tweak your approach or message to appeal to more of your audience and ensure you’re not about to alienate your loyal customers.
It will also help you judge which routes are worth your time and effort for future campaigns.
It’s not all about you
It’s so easy to fall into the trap of telling your customers about a new product, a new promotion, great features etc. but you need to come at it from the customer’s point of view. What’s in it for them? What do they want to know? How will it improve their lives, their health, their image. If they buy your goods or services, how will it make them feel? Sell the benefits. That’s the essence of good marketing so is probably the most important thing to keep front of mind.
If this sounds like a lot more than you can manage in-house in terms of resources or relevant skills, think about outsourcing to an agency that will work with you to put together a plan, bounce around some creative ideas and get your marketing activity underway while you concentrate on running the rest of your business.
Here at Avid Creative, we work with a number of clients to help them plan ongoing activity to keep them in front of their clients, building momentum and keeping to a budget. If you’re thinking it’s time to deliver some marketing success for your business and would like to discuss how we can help you, drop us an email or give us a call on 01420 568127 – we’d love to be part of your success story!