As digital technology accelerates the rate of change within the marketing environment businesses have more options than ever before to get their marketing messages out to a wider audience. Conversely, it has also opened up your markets to more competition. Being aware of these changes highlights the need to spend more time and resource on planning for success (Mrs May take note).

The proliferation of these new channels to market has resulted in a more fragmented audience meaning that it is even more important to align your aims and objectives with the needs and wants of that audience to ensure consistency and prevent wastage.

So before you jump straight into the distribution and promotional marketing activities it’s worthwhile taking time to consider many of the less exciting but crucial aspects of marketing in order to minimize the risk of failure.

By that we mean there is no point in focusing on the marketing delivery if you don’t understand where you currently are or where it is you want to get to.

Here are 10 factors to consider to keep your marketing activities on track and delivering the results you need.

10 points to consider to keep your marketing activities on-track and delivering the results your business wants. Click To Tweet

1. Create a written marketing plan
Having a written marketing plan that everyone in the company understands and buys into, probably puts your business in the minority and that’s an advantage worth having over the competition. Your plan should be seen as a living document, it’s there for guidance and to keep the business moving in the right direction. Yes, it will change over time as events on the ground dictate, that’s the norm but understanding where you need to get to will act as an aid in decision-making helping you to make the right choices.

Creating a written marketing plan will give you an advantage over those competitors who don't. Click To Tweet

2. Understand your audience
Taking the shotgun approach will cost you time and money. Even if your product or service will appeal to a mass market it’s still possible to segment (or narrow down) your target market to help you tailor your marketing messages to the people who will be interested in your offer. Make sure you’re REALLY aware of the problems your audience is facing and the channels they prefer to use to find the answers to their questions. Knowing this will help shape the conversations and keep you on track. It’s only through getting to know your audience that you’ll be able to educate, entertain and inspire them enough to persuade them to choose your solutions.

3. Be aware of your competition but don’t blindly follow them
It’s important that you make your business decisions based on your own aims and objectives but it pays to keep an eye on what your competitors are up to. If they come up with a good idea, take it and improve it. Find out where they’re strong and why and learn from that. Try to exploit their weaknesses to your own advantage.

To know your Enemy, you must become your Enemy.”  Sun Tzu

4. Analyse your own strengths and weaknesses
Over the last few years, there have been some fundamental changes in the options available within the marketing mix (the tools at the disposal of marketers). The key drivers of these changes include:

  • The evolution of the internet and how this has become a more interactive medium;
  • The introduction of new technology e.g. smartphones and tablets, providing anytime, anywhere 
access
  • The rise of social media providing the opportunity to make information public in almost real time; and
  • The changes made by Google to their search algorithm.

These changes have enabled companies to exploit technology to move their business forward rapidly, to cut out the traditional middleman e.g. editors and magazines, and target their customer base directly. 
The evolution from traditional marketing towards an online digital world is happening now and businesses that understand this and implement changes to their marketing programmes to take account of it will open up new channels of communications with their target audience, providing additional opportunities to engage.
So, it’s a good idea to check out the skill set within your business to identify the skills gaps you have and identify how you’ll plug them.

5. Know what business you’re really in
Let’s take as an example the imaginary company, Acme Widgets. They manufacture drill bits so they’re in the “drill bits” business, right! Well maybe.

Perhaps they do see themselves as a company that manufactures drill bits and if that’s the case their business plan might be to put more effort and resource into improving the quality of their drill bits.

But perhaps they’re actually in the business of making holes and drill bits is only one (small) segment of the potential market. If that’s the case their R&D focus might be on finding new, easier and cheaper ways to make holes.

How these questions are answered will have a massive impact on the value proposition, messaging and strategic direction of the business.

What business are you REALLY in? Understanding this will determine your messaging, value proposition and strategic direction. Silly Question? Think Kodak, Blockbusters, Debenhams etc. Click To Tweet

6. Create your value proposition
Before anyone clicks on anything they’ll consider “what’s in it for me”. By understanding your audience you’ll be able to cater for their needs and wants and create a great offer that you know they’ll find valuable. Your value proposition is why people buy from you and not from your competitors. Make sure you know what it is (and it’s Never Ever about price).

7. Position your business towards your audience
As an individual or a business, identifying and understanding your niche is only the first step in your journey towards success in the marketplace. It’s equally important for your audience to understand how you can help them. This is easier to explain when you are face-to-face with a prospective customer and can discuss how you can help them but with so many more buyers using the internet to find solutions to their problems, your website and online content needs to reflect those face-to-face discussions.

8. Take a look outside your market sector
The B2B and B2C market sectors are not the separate entities they once were so don’t be afraid to pull ideas across from one section to the other, if appropriate for your audience. B2C websites can offer up some interesting ideas to help B2B businesses promote their solutions.

9. Decide the outcome you want in advance
SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Timed/Targeted) objectives will drive your marketing outcomes. Generally, objectives focus on either revenue or profitability e.g. you want to increase revenue from Product X by 20% per month. Product X retails for £1,000 and you currently sell 100 per month (£100k). From your analytics package, you know that your conversion rates are 20%, therefore to get £100k per month you need to create 500 leads per month. Therefore to increase your revenue to £120k per month you need to generate 600 leads per month. This information will drive your marketing activities.

If you haven't set your marketing objectives, do it today. Make sure they're SMART. Click To Tweet

Make sure you understand what your analytics is telling you.

10. Don’t procrastinate
With technology driving attention spans down below that of a goldfish, there’s no time to waste. Putting good ideas on the back burner means they’ll probably never be completed.

As General George S Patton said

“A good plan violently executed now is better than a perfect plan executed next week”

Conclusion

If you jump straight into the promotional aspects of marketing without taking a holistic view of what you want to achieve in the long run your business will suffer. All marketing activities should be aligned and implemented in line with the aims and objectives contained within the written marketing plan which is used as a guide to decision-making. This is the basis of planning for success.

Marketing is so much more than just creative design.

If your marketing isn’t bringing in the results you want then you need to get in touch. I work with business owners, directors and heads of department who need help to develop their marketing strategy and implement their marketing plans.

Call today on 01803 413481, email [email protected]