In previous blogs I've talked about the real purpose of marketing and about how to create a specification for your marketing. The next step to engineering your marketing is to brainstorm ideas and prioritise.
In an engineering design process, this is usually the most creative part. It's fun to brainstorm new features that you could add into your product, system or service. And it's always a useful exercise to do because you might come up with ideas that are quick and easy to implement while adding value to your offering. Even so, there will always be features that would cost more to realise than they'd recover in increased revenue.
If it'll be prohibitively expensive to include every desired feature in your product, you need to prioritise.
Which features are essential because the product won't function without them? Which are highly desirable? And which can be added into future versions or premium editions of the product?
In marketing this is often where business owners find themselves overwhelmed.
Every business owner I've ever worked with can write a list as long as my arm of the marketing activities they could do if time and budget were unlimited. But how do you know which activities will pay off? How do you know in what order to do them all to get the best ROI?
An unprioritised wish-list is overwhelming and stressful.
In my last blog ("What's the point of marketing?") I discussed how the first step in engineering a new product is to establish its purpose. In marketing it's the same, you need to establish the purpose of your marketing and how it needs to support your customers at every stage of their buying decision.
Once you've done that, you need to define your specification.
An engineering specification or functional design specification will typically include everything you want the product to do, how it should work, how it should be manufactured, timescales, cost restrictions and any other pertinent requirements.
In my last blog, I used the example of designing a keyboard. In this scenario, I'd need my specification to describe...
It's always tempting to sidestep this phase or start with a rough outline of what you want to achieve, However, the consequences of this approach can be costly.
For some reason, marketing and sales teams often seem to be at war with each other. I've seen debates on social media about whether a business can survive without one of the two. I've also seen blame directed at the opposite department if revenue is slow.
To me, these kinds of arguments highlight misconceptions around the roles and responsibilities of marketing and sales. To be clear, they are both absolutely essential to a business. A business may not need a lot of one or the other, but to suggest that one is not needed at all misunderstands the roles of marketing and sales.
If you're confused by the functions of marketing and sales in your business, this collection of blogs will hopefully provide some clarity.
Every new product, software, system or process must have a purpose. It must solve a problem or else it has no value and no one will buy it. By deeply understanding the problem your product solves for your customers, you can stay focused on what features will deliver the most value.
For example, if I was designing a new computer keyboard, I would need to consider...
Likewise, you must always stay focused on your marketing's purpose.
100 years ago John Wanamaker famously said "Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted, the trouble is I don't know which half".
Marketing gets a bad name when people assume that John Wanamaker's experience is par for the course. But it doesn't have to be that way.
I have pulled together some of my favourite blogs on how to make sure your marketing spend pays off...
I always say that creating a marketing wish-list is easy – it's prioritising it that's the hard part. That's why I use the Watertight Marketing methodology with many of my clients. It's a logical and structured approach to prioritising your marketing activities to get the best return on your investment.
Using this approach, you "traffic-light" the "leaks" in your marketing processes and address the red leaks first, in the right order.
But it's not a once-and-you're-done activity.
I recommend clients review their leaks every six months or so, to stay focused on their priorities and on track to achieve their long-term goals.
As you might imagine, after working on addressing a red leak in your business, hopefully it will turn orange and then eventually green. However, that doesn't always happen. Why? Because you are working towards a constantly moving goal-post.
With the whole year stretching out in front of us, it's easy to think that - this year - we'll have more time to do the things we want to do.
If your New Year's resolution is marketing, here are some excellent blogs to help you make the most of the time you spend marketing.
Most people who aren't marketers think of marketing as "getting your name out there". That if you want more customers, then you just need to tell more people about your product or service.
This assumes two things:
1. That as soon as people hear about you, they'll just "get it" and immediately understand the benefits of your product.
2. That the decision to buy is an easy one that doesn't involve too much thought.
If you sell an impulse-buy, like cupcakes, chocolate bars or jewellery, those assumptions are probably correct. So a marketing strategy that focuses on promotion (or "getting your name out there") is probably correct.
However, for most businesses I work with, at least one of these assumptions is wrong.
Over the last decade, social media has transformed the way businesses market themselves online. Social media can be a powerful element of an organisation's marketing. But it can also prove to be a huge drain on resources if it isn't done right.
I've collected up a few of my favourite blogs on the topic to help you successfully navigate the world of social media marketing.
How long does it take to buy from you?
This sounds like an easy question. But, it actually has 3 different answers depending on what you want to do with the information.
You might be talking about elapsed time, accrued time or your welcome window. Here's the meaning of each time-period and when you should use it in your marketing strategy.
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