Are You Spending Money Without A Plan?
In a previous blog I wrote about 3 marketing mistakes that businesses commonly make and the first blunder I discussed was “putting tactic before strategy.” This happens often when a business owner sets his or her sights on a particular marketing tactic and spending money on that tactic without first considering the business needs and goals of the overall marketing strategy.
For example: a business owner hires a social media manager because she thinks her company needs to be active on social media, since their customers and competitors are.
What’s the problem here? There’s nothing wrong with implementing a social media initiative, but the issue here is the business owner decided on a marketing tactic before outlining the marketing strategy. Here’s what she should have done.
1. Establish goals.
Before making a marketing plan, it’s important to understand your business goals. Why do you want to invest in marketing in the first place? Your goal(s) will dictate your strategy, so it’s important to get a laser focus on your goals for the next six months or year. Here are some examples:
- Increase new customers
- Bring more traffic to your website
- Increase revenue from current client base (sell more product per customer or increase repeat purchases)
- Grow customer referrals
Tip: The most effective goals have specific metrics attached so you can measure your success.
2. Analyze your competitive advantage.
What sets you apart from your competitors? Why should customers buy your product or service over an alternative? So many companies tout their years in business or their exceptional customer service. There’s nothing wrong with those, except that everyone says the same thing. Check your top competitors’ websites. If they say something similar to yours, you need to do a better job differentiating your company.
If you need a little direction coming up with your competitive advantage, here are a few questions to ask yourself:
- What do your clients care about? What are their challenges?
- How does your product or service help those challenges? List as many as possible.
- Now: do all your competitors also solve the same challenge as you do in #2? Do you all do it the same way, or do you do something different?
- Identify the strongest benefit(s) of your product or service that you have, but competitors don’t—or that you do much better than competitors. Remember, these have to be things your customers really care about.
These are your competitive advantages.
3. Evaluate your current marketing initiatives.
Now that you have established your short-term business goals and clarified your competitive advantage, take a look at current marketing. What, if anything, are you currently doing on the marketing front? Ask yourself:
- Do your marketing initiatives mesh with your goals?
- Do your current marketing materials effectively promote your competitive advantage(s)? This is key. So often I see businesses with beautiful websites and sales materials that do not clearly express why their product or service is superior to a competitor's product/service.
Now, fill in the gaps! Your marketing strategy may show a need to revamp your website, launch a new advertising campaign, or contact an Accelity Marketing expert to decide the best way to meet your goals.