Last week I was talking to a fellow marketing consultant about the best way to present a marketing plan.
It’s a balance between including all the information and avoiding detail overload. There was also the question of how best to order the information.
The answer is that different people need to organise their information in different ways.
When people are making a difficult buying decision, they’ll naturally have questions and objections. This often means your sales team (or you, if you’re a small business) end up spending time answering the same questions over and over again.
If that’s happening in your business then you need a buyers guide.
A buyer’s guide is a piece of content that educates your buyer, answers their likely questions and overcomes some or all of their objections. A good buyers guide will be balanced and impartial. The aim is not to sell but to…
Your buyer's guide might take the form of a well laid out pdf, a printed booklet, a video (or series), a blog, an infographic, or any other media format. I find it's often easier to start with a written document while you play around with the structure and content, and then turn it into other formats afterwards. Whatever format you start with, consider recycling it by turning it into another media type to make it more accessible for different types of people.
Here's how to create one for your business...
Case studies are an essential part of any marketer’s toolkit. They provide evidence to back up the claims you make about your product or service. Since we can all be a bit sceptical at times, we need to give our buyers proof that we are as good as we say. A portfolio of case studies offers that much-needed reassurance.
If case studies are on your marketing to-do list, this template explains the elements I include to ensure the result is a compelling and persuasive piece of content.
What is the difference between cost-based pricing and value-based pricing?
Cost-based pricing is a model where you work out how much a product or service costs to deliver and set your price accordingly. As long as you factor in all your overheads and sales & marketing costs, you will be able to work out your profit margin.
Value-based pricing is a very different model, and people often struggle to get their heads round it, so I use this story to explain what it means...
The aim of marketing is to support customers through their buying journey. Therefore every single piece of marketing should have a call to action that leads your customers on to the next step. If you're not clear on why, read my previous blog, "Have you planned your customer's next step?"
Crafting an effective call to action is easier said than done. Here are the three things to keep in mind:
In any good manufacturing or software business, there will be rigorous quality assurance processes to make sure every product is up to standard. The quickest way to lose a customer is to fail to deliver on your promises. But if you measured every single thing, you'd never get your product out of the door. You couldn't test every keyboard that comes off the manufacturing line.
Instead you need to take meaningful measurements at regular intervals. You need to decide:
Just like you would check the quality of a product's components and subassemblies as well as the product as a whole, so too should you measure different elements of your marketing.
But marketing measurement doesn't have to be complex, especially if you know your way around an Excel spreadsheet.
Here's how to do it.
In engineering, you'd probably prototype and test a product before investing in expensive tooling.
Likewise, in marketing you want to avoid wasting large sums of money on activities that don't pay off. When trying any new marketing activity, it's always best to start small and scale up.
In the book 'Lean Startup', Eric Ries talks about building a minimum viable product (MVP). Think of your marketing in the same way - start with a minimum viable marketing operation (which is your prototype) and then expand on it. If you need a piece of marketing to fill a gap, then start with something that works and fulfils your basic requirements and build on it later.
Your prototype marketing activity should be used to test three different things.
Marketing often gets a bad name because marketers fail to demonstrate ROI. There are two parts to this issue: one is in the planning and the other is in the post-campaign measurement.
In this blog I'd like to share how I work out whether a campaign is going to deliver ROI. If I can't demonstrate that it has a high chance of success - before we start planning the actual activity - then it's scrapped. Even if it sounded like an amazing idea when it was first floated.
This process applies for almost all marketing activities and campaigns, whether it is advertising, email, direct mail, an exhibition or event, PR, or social media. Here's what you do...
Early on in any engineering design process, there's always a period of fact-finding.
Apply the same process to your marketing.
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.
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