Thursday, March 23, 2017

BY ANDI GRAY

ask andi Dilemma: There is so much information out there when it comes to marketing. It makes it hard to get attention and look believable. As we test new things, we don’t know if each new marketing idea will work or not. How do we keep from making ourselves crazy?

Thoughts of the Day: Hang in there by looking at marketing as a game. Build muscle and results through practice. Play by the rules and for long-term results. Just get started. Make sure you have the right team for the game you want to play.

Think of marketing as a late-night game of darts among friends. You start off with fresh eyes, strong throws, and score early wins. As the game drags on, points don’t come as easily, anxiety hits, and you start to try different throws—some work, some don’t. By the end of the night you’re tired, throwing wildly, missing the bull’s-eye more than hitting it; you just want the game to be over.

Start with what you know works in marketing. But don’t stop there. Work systematically as you seek to expand your reach. Add people to refresh the team. Document what’s working, but understand that marketing is not a one-trick pony. Marketing truly is a game of strategy.

Marketing calls for precise planning. And practice makes perfect. Line up exact targets. Watch the scoreboard, aka analytics, and key performance indicators. Experiment by throwing a few random darts to keep it interesting and to see what your audience likes.

“Score” points when your target audience recognizes you; “win” a game when buyers take action. “Earn” points through consistent look-and-feel that’s presented in multiple ways, such as print ads, website, billboards, uniforms, social media, radio and TV ads, leadership articles, etc. Aspire to play often and be everywhere your customer is.

Analyze what gets noticed. Keep in mind the adage that you need to “touch” customers a minimum of 8 to 10 times to get recognized. Think of campaigns as the journeys your audience take to accumulate 8 to 10-plus touches.

Boosting a post on Facebook might get you reach and probably some likes, but social media is just one piece of the game. It’s powerful, but still just a part of the whole. Don’t get lost or stuck there.

Run multiple campaigns simultaneously. Launching a new type of service? Let potential customers know about it. Simultaneously work to increase overall brand awareness with existing and new customers. Remind former customers that you’re still out there, drawing them back to make another purchase and to refer you to their friends.

For a general marketing campaign, here are some suggestions to get started:

Send a five-question survey to existing customers—ask specifically why they love your brand

Decide on “offers” and test their appeal

Target your market through specific demographics (for example: suburban home owners with household incomes of $100k-plus, men or women ages 35 to 50, businesses with more than 50 blue-collar employees)

Combine tactics and platforms: print advertising, boosted posts on Facebook, scheduled tweets, Instagram posts, mailers, phone calls

Map out and schedule what goes out when, so your efforts complement one another

Assign someone to oversee each campaign, including design, implementation, data gathering, analysis, and tweaking

There are ways to build marketing campaigns to fit every size budget. If your budget is especially small, combine forces with another business that has a similar audience. Incorporate community volunteering to boost visibility. Build a network of people who are all promoting each other.

Boost team strength by continually adding people with an array of personalities and approaches. Creativity, analytic skills, and project management abilities are all necessary. Boost results by adding both employees and vendors to your team, and delegating work to those most capable of successfully carrying it out when you get burned out. [CD0117] Looking for a good book? The One Page Marketing Funnel: How to Quickly Generate 10X More Leads with Zero Tech Overwhelm by Aaron N. Fletcher


Andi Gray is the Founder of the business consulting firm Strategy Leaders. She can be reached at andi@strategyleaders.com.