If you were to ask someone what their marketing efforts were, they might point you to their integrated marketing communications document and their social media strategy. That’s a great start. But what sets apart the exceptional businesses from the average ones, are the small details that create a cohesive and memorable experience for the end user. Think of that handwritten “thank you” card that was inserted into the package you got in the mail. Or the way the Starbucks barista writes your name on the cup. It’s the thoughtful touches, alongside broader marketing efforts, that elevate a brand.
We live in a time where consumers are savvy and drawn to transparency. No detail is too small to be overlooked.
As experts in Integrated Marketing, we deep dive into our clients’ businesses regularly, because to us, successful and strategic marketing carefully aligns the core pillars of your business with your key messages. We’re simultaneously considering every potential advertising vehicle to use, while making sure your messaging and brand is targeted and consistent across every channel.
So, now that you understand the importance of an all-encompassing brand experience, how do we go about making that happen for your business? We set goals that are relevant to the growth and success of your business.
Before we work on a quote, marketing strategy or deploy any tactics, we spend time with our clients to identify their business goals. If we don’t know what the goals are, we can’t very well figure out how we’re successfully going to achieve them through marketing efforts.
Goals can seem intimidating, but they don’t have to be complicated. We recommend setting realistic, timely and attainable goals that can be easily measured and tracked. Your goals should be directly associated with the areas of your business you hope to grow and improve. Do you want more clients? Do you want a certain number of sales per quarter? Do you want be become an industry leader? Having a clear understanding of what you want will allow your marketing efforts to align with your goals and you’ll have much better success as a result.
You would never dream of starting a new business without a solid business plan, yet we see so many businesses rush into marketing without a strong marketing strategy or plan. According to a study by Smart Insights, 46% of brands still don’t have a defined digital marketing strategy, and 16% have a strategy but haven’t put it into effect.
In order to save you time, money and headache later down the road, here’s what you need to do to strategize your marketing efforts for success.
While keeping the goals you set in mind, identify your ideal customer. This will help you to know who you’re talking to, what their needs are, and how you can connect with them in a genuine way. We often create marketing personas that consider our client’s ideal customer’s’ goals, desires and fears. We also take this opportunity to identify any influencers the marketing strategy should target, influencers who are already speaking to those ideal clients.
Similar to how you would create a budget in your personal life, your business also needs one. We require our clients to provide us with a specific budget (sometimes we help them decide what’s appropriate), so we know how to best distribute the funds across multiple channels of communication. In many cases, the strategy includes a healthy balance of both digital and traditional media outlets, always keeping in mind where the target audience consumes information.
You’ll want to see results from your marketing, but throwing more money at it isn’t always the best strategy, so we look at what each marketing tactic is helping to achieve, and then look at a reasonable spend for that tactic. That being said, there is usually a minimum spend to make any real progress, and we are always honest with our clients about what is actually going to get them results. If the budget just won’t stretch, it is sometimes better to keep that money in the business and shore up other processes and services instead.
A carefully designed marketing strategy will always include a content calendar. Creating content can be overwhelming, especially when you’re pressed for time or there are other priorities, so having a content calendar at your fingertips will alleviate the stress and uncertainty. It will also ensure that your brand’s key messages and tone remain cohesive.
A content calendar highlights what you will be sharing with your audience (whether that be on social media, your newsletter, your blog, etc.) and it always includes the platform, the content itself and any graphics or imagery to go along with it. For example, if you were to share content on Instagram, the calendar would include the day you would be sharing said content, the image, the caption, the hashtags and any potential people you might want to tag.
Marketing is an ever growing and shifting industry, so in order to remain relevant, you have to get into the habit of constantly reviewing your efforts and making sure they align with your overarching goals. Pay attention to what’s working and what’s not, what kind of content resonates and what falls short. Don’t be afraid to adapt and make tweaks as you go. And if you are working with a marketing team, make sure they are relaying this information to you in a timely manner. Monthly reports should be the minimum communication, but you should also expect immediate feedback if a campaign isn’t performing properly, and even if it is, as this could be a great opportunity to invest more.
We know your business is important to you, but sometimes when you’re in the thick of it, it’s hard to step back and make sure that your marketing efforts fully align with your goals. We hope this guide serves as a helpful tool into navigating your marketing efforts and bringing clarity to your business goals. If you have additional questions, or would like to book a strategy session with our awesome team, give us a call or send us an email.