Marketing is one of the fastest-changing industries on the planet right now. While marketers are frantically trying to adapt to keep up with the endless opportunities that it creates for clients, equally as many businesses are trying to understand what they can, and should, be doing to keep up when in-house resource or marketing budgets are restricted.
So, before rattling out social posts, recording podcasts, designing ads or updating your website, here are seven things about marketing your business which you should know:
- Marketing is Easy.
- Marketing is Hard.
- Marketing Matters.
- Marketing only matters with a plan.
- Customers want to hear from you.
- Customers don’t want to be interrupted by you.
- Small, Authentic and Relevant Trumps Big and Generic Every Time.
At first glance, this list may seem a little contradictory at times. How can something be both easy and hard? Well, lets run through them one by one.
- Marketing is Easy.
Modern marketing has never been so accessible, particularly digital marketing. This level of accessibility means that many of us are marketing ourselves, our companies or our products almost daily, without really thinking about it. Anyone with a social media channel can grow a following and quite possibly retain them – but to what end?
Combine that with an online smorgasbord of courses, tutorials, forums etc and you can probably piece together enough to post regularly and receive a level of engagement. In short, the actual implementation is not rocket science.
- Marketing is Hard.
However, despite the high level of accessibility for the deliverable aspects of marketing, Marketing is underpinned by strategy, financial and data analysis, technology, psychology, sociology, creativity and cultural intelligence. While anyone can ultimately market their business with limited knowledge, the application of deep knowledge and experience of these skill sets unlocks new opportunities to inform, influence and motivate your clients and buyers while building trusted relationships which delight and instil brand loyalty. While there are many marketing tasks that business owners could and arguably should undertake in-house, the complexity of the sector demonstrates a need for experts and niche specialists to help cut through the noise of competitors fighting for the very same clients or buyers attention. While there are just as many courses available for each of these niche areas, it is experience and a deep understanding of how these niches interact and intersect which is key to delivering compelling campaigns, content and messaging.
- Marketing Matters.
In an online world, the dividing line between Sales and Marketing is thin. For online success, many marketers favour content marketing supported by SEO, SEM and Online Advertising using a variety of metrics to assess their productivity and value. At a high-level for most companies, Total Sales provides the primary indication of marketing success. Identifying, implementing and leveraging your online offer is key to ensuring your brand profile remains high to those audiences that matter. A well-thought-out strategy implemented with testing and revision can keep your brand at the forefront of client minds, at the moments that matter, informing their purchasing decisions and shaping their opinions.
Marketing done well can tell your sales teams who they should target, why, in what way and when someone is primed to buy, cutting out a lot of the donkey work and interruptive sales methods of old. Imagine your business was a bird. Sales and marketing are each of its wings. Imagine the importance of balance required to soar upwards and the calamity that can unfold when they are out of sync with each other. When sales and marketing work together, brands can fly, but when they are silo’d there is a strong probability that the business will struggle to make its mark. If sales are your target metric, then sales-enabled marketing should be a pillar in your strategy.
- Marketing Only Matters With A Plan
Ill thought-out marketing wastes time, costs money and can quickly lose engagement and even clients. Audience attention is precious. You should respect that and keep it in mind. If you want them to invest in your brand, you need to give them a reason. Understanding their need, knowing their pain points and either providing solutions or the possibility of one should always be at the centre of your communications, whether online, by email, in print or broadcast. Social media is the greatest challenge, as it requires a high degree of self-control to post informative, engaging and consistently relevant information every time. The temptation to see Social media as a testing ground for random, unconnected posts with no actionable purpose, is a common one, but also a dangerous one. It is a waste of your client/buyer attention; they don’t want to be your guinea pigs. They want specific, relevant info that helps them solve problems. Secondly, dependent on your business, you might be judged on your consistency and ability to stay on message. Trust is built on consistency and relevance. No-one follows an Accountant on LinkedIn to hear what he had for dinner or to read his blog on birdwatching at the weekend. Unless, its part of a ‘getting to know you’ campaign, complete with relevant links and calls to action running simultaneously with a product or brand campaign for instance. In short, occasional indulgences with purpose can only be useful as part of a strategic plan.
- Customers Want To Hear From You.
It’s simple. Customers with a need for your product want to hear from you. They want to know about the product for sure, but they want to know about the company, and it’s people too. There are all kinds of factors that buyers consider before signing up to a product or service. Still, the primary ones in my experience are price, need and ethical/moral satisfaction. Satisfaction is a big one. If the experience they get from engaging with your brand makes them feel good, then you massively increase your chances of converting them and their network. Why? Two reasons, satisfied people are likely to be happy to engage with you in the future and in most instances, will recommend your product or service to others. Conversely, an unsatisfied customer is likely to block your emails, unsubscribe from your newsletters and express their dissatisfaction loudly. Finding the right formula for engaging with the right people, at the right time, every-time is a vital part of marketing strategy development.
- Customers Do Not Want To Be Interrupted By You.
We’ve all experienced it – Annoying popups, never-ending spam emails, incessant chatbots that won’t take the hint, followed by thrice-daily phone calls and follow up emails from everyone who works for the company you made a casual enquiry about yesterday. They haven’t answered your original query and yet, they are already getting on your nerves. So you block/unsubscribe without waiting for the information you requested and move on to the next one while enduring the 10 ‘Are you sure?’ emails pinging through your next three meetings. Grrrr.
Situations like these are often examples of weak planning or potentially poor marketing automation, with no consideration for the potential client/buyer’s wants and needs. When did badgering anyone ever move anything forward positively?
Knowing what they want from you, you can now respond with a quick ‘thanks for visiting’ along with a link to a blog or video explaining how our company can help allows them to choose if they want to see more and potentially answer some of the questions they may have. After responding to their initial query, you can decide on a reasonable timeframe within which to contact them again and make the content relevant to their need. This way, your contact – which they requested – is solving their problem, not draining their time or diverting their attention elsewhere.
7) Small, Authentic and Relevant Trumps Big and Generic Every Time.
The guru Seth Godin said “Don’t find customers for your products. Find products for your customers”. Somewhat counter-intuitively, modern marketing is not about gaining the largest audience; it’s about targeting the smallest viable audience. That means that by focusing your time, spend and resources targeting those qualified leads who want or need your product and understanding their needs to ensure your product meets them, your conversion rate will increase along with your ROI. Once your target market is engaged, they become your cheerleaders to the wider world.
In summary, a change of mindset by business owners could go a long way to relieving some of the stress you feel about marketing your business. Understanding what you can and should to do in-house, when the support of a consultant can help to shape your in-house strategy and when a specialist or even an agency may open new doors and allow you to compete on an equal playing field – and win.
Wherever you are on your businesses marketing journey, Element 62 can help from strategic planning right through to refinement and evaluation. We also advise on marketing automation, development, training and recruitment of your in-house team. After all, who knows your business better than you? Building a skilled and knowledgeable team is a natural step for a growth-focused business and getting it right saves time, money and resource. But its also not a necessity. Schedule a free 60-minute discovery call to see how we can help you and your team to grow and thrive through these fast-moving and uncertain times.