Strategic marketing planning takes time.
And, if like me, you’re running a business, time is probably in short supply...
It’s easy to think that it’s better to just get on and do some marketing, even if it’s not as effective as it could be, and work on improving it incrementally using an agile or ‘test and learn’ methodology. Taking time out of your business to plan can feel excruciatingly wasteful. After all, once you’ve spent all that time planning, you’ve then got a long list of marketing activities to do and even less time to do them than you had before.
So can’t all this planning be skipped? Can’t I just work out my marketing strategy as I go along?
Well… let’s explore that with an analogy.
Without buy-in from everyone involved in executing your marketing plan, you'll never be fully successful in implementing it. And I don’t just mean your marketing team here either.
Marketing should never operate in a silo. Their activities impact sales, customer service, product development, product/service delivery and operations and more. Your marketing strategy needs to fit within the context of your business growth strategy and work in collaboration with each departmental strategy.
But how do you get buy-in from all these different people? Especially when you have people who are not at all familiar with how marketing actually works.
Here are my top 5 tips…
Can you have a strategic not-for-profit?
I’ve recently been working with a couple of not-for-profit’s that have been looking to increase the uptake of their services. Since the business isn’t actually “selling” anything, we’ve been looking at how the buyer journey can be applied to help them achieve their marketing objectives.
So, can the buyer journey model be applied when your customers aren’t technically buying from you?
Does anyone else have that drawer in their kitchen which is crammed with menus from all your favourite takeaways?
Have you ever thought about how you could use this marketing technique in your business for all those customers who have ‘filed you for later’?
Now, I'm not suggesting you go and print thousands of leaflets about your products or services and post them through every door in the country. First, that would be extremely expensive and, second, it just wouldn't work for most businesses.
What I'm talking about here is something which you can give to those potential clients who aren't really “hungry” for what you offer now, but might be in the future.
Your headlines are the first part of your marketing that your customers will read so they need to make them want to read on. How? By waking up their chimp and prompting them to take action.
But what do I mean by ‘waking up their chimp’?
In The Chimp Paradox, Professor Steve Peters talks about what he calls the ‘chimp brain’. This is the primitive part of the brain which is solely geared towards keeping us alive. It’s constantly on the lookout for danger, and, as soon as it wakes up and realises that there's danger present, it takes action to protect us.
As a business owner, do you find yourself walking a tightrope between offering what you think your customers can afford and what you know your product or service is worth to them?
If any of the following are true about your business, it might be time to considering raising your prices:
In all of the above cases, your customers are telling you that your products or services are really good value for money. So what's stopping you from raising your prices?
If your product or service is a fairly considered purchase then don’t expect to put one piece of marketing in front of your customers (such as an advert, email, brochure or exhibition stand) and immediately close the sale. This is the dating equivalent of proposing marriage on a first date – oh dear no.
Many people mistakenly think that the purpose of marketing is to speed people up in their buying decision. But it isn’t.
The role of marketing is to make it really easy for people to buy from you when they are ready to. If they don't feel rushed into it, customers will be much happier with their buying decision and will be more likely to stay loyal. And we all know that loyal customers are the most profitable kind.
If your customers are going to need to think carefully before they buy from you then you need to let them. Your marketing needs to facilitate that slow, careful consideration to help them buy comfortably in their own time.
To do this, you need to think through the whole buying process from your customer’s point of view.
Content marketing is all about selling your value NOT your products or services. It’s about creating and sharing relevant content that supports your ideal customers through their decision-making process.
In B2B businesses, this can sometimes be tricky as you may have quite a long buyer journey. A B2B buyer journey often involves more than one person in the decision-making process and the implications for your buyer if they make the wrong decision could be big. Depending on the purchase, a B2B buyer may be concerned the wrong choice could affect their relationship with their boss, their promotion prospects or even put their job at risk.
If you’re finding your B2B marketing isn’t as effective as it could be, check you aren’t making any of these 4 mistakes…
Do you want to learn the 6 step process I use to create a robust marketing strategy with my clients? If you implement all the steps outlined in this blog then you won’t need to spend a penny on a marketing coach or consultant. Simple.
But why on earth would I do this? Am I trying to put myself out of business? Far from it!
I’m prepared to bet that the kind of ambitious business owner I’d like to work with will take one look at this and say, “That’s an awful lot of work Ros, I don’t have the time and besides, I need an outside perspective to do this effectively. Why don’t we talk?”
But let’s start with the basics. What is a marketing strategy and why do I need one?
How often do you check the reviews before you buy something? Reviews are so common now that we expect to be able to read other’s opinions on a product before we buy.
So how can we get those great testimonials and reviews?
Any marketer will tell you how important a good testimonial can be for your business. To feel confident enough to buy, we need to trust that our investment is going to deliver whatever value it promises. Ideally, we’d get a recommendation from a trusted friend but, if that’s not possible, a review from someone else who has bought is the next best option.
The purpose of marketing is to make it easy for people to buy from you and become raving fans. So you also want to make it easy for them to refer or review you. How can you do that in your business?
Here are some ideas…
Get strategic advice, tips and ideas straight into your inbox every fortnight.