Your boss says he wants entirely new marketing material for 2015. Sweat starts beading-up on your forehead, your eyes twitch and heart pounds a few beats faster. “This is a huge project” you say to yourself. You know the process of deciding what to do is going to be a major issue because there are already lots of marketing initiatives running now – all of which are important and can’t stop. Instantly your brain is thinking a million miles an hour, trying to figure out how to maneuver through this challenging request.
Here are a few questions all of us marketers have to face and we need to be prepared on how to act swiftly.
- Where do I start?
- What is the process of deciding what should be done first?
- How do I convince the bosses that my plan is the one that will work?
If you have read this far, you’re probably in the same boat as millions of other marketers now that 2015 is here and your marketing needs to change. There isn’t any one answer that will solve your dilemma. However, there are a few ways to navigate the situation so that your plan will be well equipped to pass the litmus test.
- Assess your current strategy – Back up your existing strategy with any KPI results if you have them. This will help to validate what you are doing even if you are required to make a sweeping change. This data will also help you select new items for the marketing mix because it will show results from previous marketing efforts.
- Are your personas correct? Did they change for 2015? Sometimes these can change, especially if you are launching new products and services. My suggestion is to review them and make any necessary changes. These changes will most likely impact how you move forward.
- Customer Feedback Channels: Do you have any customer feedback channels you can review for valuable information? (online surveys, focus groups). If not, you may want to look at your social media posts & comments and schedule some discussions with your front line sales team members to get their feedback.
- Assess all the critical customer touch points: This is really important. Determine what these touch points are and what action you want the customer to take from each touch point. Then determine what media channel can serve as the vehicle to deliver the brand message and CTA at that point. This works regardless of where the touch point is.
- Determine a customer path that leads to conversion: Once you have worked through personas and touch points, the next step is to think about where you want the customer to go from each point. Do you want them to visit the website and watch a video? Call a salesperson? Visit your store? Buy immediately online? You must think through the “if/then” scenarios first, then, you can determine what vehicle to use.
- Do you have any gaps? Your existing marketing strategy probably has gaps in reach, frequency and/or how the brand story is being told and missing the mark. Take a look at both the digital and traditional channels you are using and look for inconsistencies and breakdowns –then fix them.
- Are you capturing data that is important? Most likely you are not always capturing the customer data that is important. OR, maybe you are trying to capture too much data and it is hindering the customer from moving through the sales funnel. Hmm… both of these need to be thought of before a marketing plan is created. Think about what the absolute information is that you want and can’t live without. Don’t make the customer experience miserable while you are trying to capture the information, that’s where most companies fail.
- What items in your marketing cost the most? Are really worth it? Typically the most expensive marketing initiatives get the axe first. Take a look at what these are and bring your auditor’s pencil with you. If you are nervous that they are not working, find out why and then see if they can be altered easily. If not, then maybe it’s time to move on to something else.
- Do you have sufficient marketing on the products and services that yield the highest return? This is not always easy to find out. However, you should know what products yield the highest returns. Is your marketing contributing to the bottom line to make sure enough revenue is generated? Or are you relaxing on those products because you know they are always high-performers and you don’t have to worry about them?
- Digital Players: Chances are there could be more companies in 2015 that offer the same services you are currently using. Are any of them offering the same services for less money? Maybe those companies also offer other services that are brand new to the market and can be integrated into your new marketing plan? Either way, take a look at what’s out there and see what’s potentially good for you to integrate into your strategy. You just might be surprised at what you find.
- Has your marketing staff changed since last year? Do you have the ability to produce the marketing work you need to with the same talent? As marketing evolves so must the talent that produces it. The staff that worked well last year may not be equipped to perform what needs to be done this year. You can probably do a brief department assessment and think about where the holes potentially are. This may be a good reason why you need your staff to be trained in certain areas.
- Research: What does the market research tell you about high-performing channels? As you know, there is lots of information on the Internet, especially when it comes to digital. Make sure you are well armed with current data that supports the hot digital channels. These hot channels may be what you are using now, but you may also discover some new reasons why you should make a change.
- Has your budget stayed the same? Increased? Or Decreased? This one is last because regardless of what you uncover in numbers one through twelve above, it’s always helpful to know the budget parameters. By knowing what these numbers are you can spend your time working on potential initiatives that fit within these parameters and aren’t going to exceed your budget.
YourBrandExposed is designed to look at digital with an eye into the future using a creative, innovative marketing perspective. We’re a consultative and tactical resource for companies looking to leverage the power of digital, web, social and content marketing strategies.
Huffington Post: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/scott-macfarland/
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