You may have heard of the 4 P’s of marketing: price, product, place, promotion. It’s a broad view to the marketing puzzle of taking a product or service from concept to consumer. Sometimes, businesses gain ground without thinking through these 4 Ps. Rapid growth is bound to plateau at some point and that when it is the perfect time to take a step back.
So, what’s next? Now, you just need to solidify how you can take your company to the next level. The next step may need to be more targeted and work quickly to reach the rapid growth you were projecting.
Nowadays marketing options are everywhere. You could pick multiple paths or you could home in on one big trend. The key is to find balance on the scale: Not spending too much time on one effort and not stretching resources too thin across multiple efforts.
Marketing efforts work best when they work together, with similar power across a range of efforts – much like a crew of rowers all working at the same time to move. When one oar is doing all the work, you’re not going anywhere. The same thing happens in marketing and PR. It needs to be strategic and comprehensive to “move the boat.”
Carrying on the alliteration fun of the 4 p’s, here are 4 ways to start thinking like a marketer in your next strategic campaign. Use this process to focus your efforts for maximum results!
If you could picture your perfect marketing strategy plan what would it be? List all items or initiatives that you would like to see happen. This is the time to be a little unrealistic. Think of all the efforts that would make a difference in reaching your end goals. Include stretch goals, SMART goals, and even some ideas you know you don’t have the resources to complete.
Think of a variety of goals and efforts. For example maybe you want to increase your social media engagement or maybe you just want to better target a specific demographic.
Get your ideas out and on paper to discus with your team or your agency. The benefit to adding all of your goals in the discussion phase is that there might be options that are more plausible than you thought. This can also help generate new ideas from your team.
Don’t limit yourself in the initial brainstorm, or you might find yourself feeling some regret down the road. Prevent this by letting the creative juices flow early on in the process!
Now it’s time to get realistic. Until artificial intelligence (AI) and biorobotics are developed enough for us to be highly-productive cyborgs, we are going to have to live with the fact that we are human. There are only so many things that we can do at one time, and only so many things we can do well. Not to mention the budget we have to execute them.
There are also limitations as to how many or what type of marketing and PR efforts will benefit your company. You don’t want to waste your time creating a great marketing effort that falls on deaf ears. Like an Instagram campaign for Medicare, when only 15% of Instagram users are above the age of 50.
Do your research, ask others for their opinions, and see what efforts will make the most impact on your target market. You want to think of immediate lead generation, long-term lead generation and customer loyalty.
3. Plan Ahead
Now that you have a prioritized list of what you want to accomplish, its time to decide when things need to be completed. A thrown-together effort isn’t going to have much of an effect. In fact, if it’s sloppy it may have an adverse effect on your potential customers.
My favorite example of this happening, all too often, is the holidays. It seems every year I hear people say, “Oh the holidays just snuck up on me!” While I understand this, and may have said it myself, it’s just not true. We know the exact date years in advance. You may not be able to finish your personal holiday shopping before Thanksgiving every year, but it is important to stay ahead of schedule for your business.
It’s tempting to throw together a cool initiative after seeing another company perfectly execute one, but will it be valuable to your target market? If you think of a great idea for a Thanksgiving email at 9:00 pm on Thanksgiving eve and you can’t complete it, don’t scrap it! You can use it next year.
Train yourself to think like a retailer. Have you ever been annoyed at the sight of Christmas decorations for sale in August? Use that as your reminder to start thinking about holiday marketing efforts. Or other annual events related to your business.
Your efforts should pull your audience in. Every effort, regardless of how much power you have behind your strategy, should be focused on the end goal. When you go to execute your plan all efforts should be relevant to your customers and their pain point that you solve.
Your social media strategy should be targeted at your ideal customer, digital marketing efforts should all center on your customer and your article placements should be in publications your targets are reading. It’s easy to get caught up in something that looks cool or to fit in somewhere you have a connection. However, if it has nothing to do with your brand, what’s the point?
You know your customers’ pain points, but do your marketing efforts show your customers you want to alleviate them? For example: fitness gyms have an extreme increase of patrons and new memberships in the months of Jan- March, as many make their New Year’s resolution to get healthy. Let’s say your business is a solution for an automated member check in system that makes going to the gym easier for patrons and puts less strain on staff during rushes. You want to start marketing to gyms as they are preparing for this rush, not in the middle of the painful rush.
There are so many ways to incorporate your brand into something funky that isn’t a direct sell. But it should all point to you and your brand’s values in some way.
Set your business up for long term success by dreaming big, selecting what you can do, acting on it in a timely manner and using every effort to engage with your customer.