We recently attended a networking session on Marketing Strategy with delegates from a range of different industries, from apple packing machinery to plush office fit-out, clothing to coffee. Sharing ideas, we talked about the challenges we face, and the different marketing methods there are, which to utilise and how.
What came through was that everybody in management wants to know what marketing methods are best, and secondly, is marketing strategy separate or the same thing as having a Business Strategy? We quickly concluded on this second idea, during the session, because we felt that when there is a clear business strategy, then the marketing (strategy) falls into place… and really calling it a Marketing Strategy is way more complicated than is necessary! Read on for my takeaways…
So marketing is part of the business strategy… but everyone wants to know: What are the best marketing methods to pick up? With a myriad of ideas out there, which could be the big new thing for your brand. So many avenues, restraints with time and budget, you just can’t do everything, so choosing which ideas you use is vital.
There’s a need to evaluate the success rate of a marketing method, and which type of brands has it worked for so far? How can you take ideas used in other similar industries (but avoiding ‘me too’ – copying your competitors) and turn your industry on it’s head with a new idea, driving an awesome return in Sales.
Being able to measure the outcome of marketing – everyone knows that this is where digital shines – check someone is getting reports and knows what your key numbers are. Watching them month on month can be really helpful and supports evidence of an increase in Sales coming from digital.
For non-digital methods – it can be treated as a campaign, and measured against the number of leads you started off with. It might be that you have to measure by gut feel (and this isn’t guessing) – analysing and evaluating and asking honestly: Did this work, or did it NOT work? Who felt good about the marketing? Did it bring in more Sales? What response did you get from customers? Keep using the methods that are working. Find creative ways to finish with methods that aren’t working. Embracing change quicker and quicker.
Face to face is coming out tops again – Visiting customers is powerful – it proves you care (and exist!). There is so much noise out there now and so many people can be contacted in so many ways, that it seems face-to-face is coming out tops again. This is not just cold-calling – you have to know they have a need – you’re not wasting anyone’s time – it needs to be very focused.
Cold calls are no longer so cold… The phonecalls we make are purposeful, following up leads that have made contact with us, or where a colleague has referred someone. Social can soften up leads and generate a long-term interest as clients engage with your brand.
Email marketing is working for everyone… so long as it’s timely & relevant, it’s effective.
And lots more was discussed but no room here… Content marketing, make it interesting and something that is going to be shared. Digital marketing starts with a great website, the hub for all your marketing. Having a targeted individual strategy for different customers … or a set of customers. Having a referral scheme in place, videos of customer testimonials, an app…
Focusing on the marketing ideas that are working (because you know they are) is key to the Marketing Strategy (or Business strategy!) and measuring the results is calculating how far you’ve run and what distance there is still to cover.