Do you struggle to see the value of marketing?
Maybe you feel that it’s just a bunch of advertising, old school brochures, and ridiculously large media buys. Or maybe your questioning how many people it actually brings in the door. So you choose to do marketing the way you’ve always done it (…or avoided doing it) and you don’t venture out any further than that, because you just can’t wrap your brain around why it’s worth the extra dough.
That is one way to look at marketing. But we have good news. It doesn’t have to be that way.
The other way is to view marketing is to see it as a critical business strategy. It’s more than pretty graphics in a print ad or catchy copy in a social media post. It’s knowing your audience, and how you create and communicate your value. It’s how you differentiate yourself, position yourself, and share that with others. It’s identifying your customer’s problems, and how your organization can solve them. When you look at marketing from this perspective, marketing is strategy.
At UNANIMOUS, we want all of our partners to see how marketing can be your greatest strategy. We take an intentional approach to marketing that delivers results, which includes a strategic mindset and process from the start of every project. In this post, we’ll outline a few of steps we use to help our partners build a winning marketing strategy:
Research first. Research, both internal and external, are crucial aspects of incorporating strategy into your marketing. Before any branding, re-branding, marketing strategy, advertising campaign, or website design project, research should be conducted first. Establish clear objectives based on what you want to accomplish at the end, such as where and how your audience obtains information, their existing perceptions of you, and what their needs, goals, and motivators are. This information helps you be intentional with your messaging, what channels you use, and how you engage with your audience. Research can come in the form of surveys, focus groups, interviews, competitive research, and internal analysis. The appropriate mix of internal and external investigation will help you gather meaningful insights to develop marketing tactics that make sense for your organization and push you in the direction you want to go.
Know and differentiate yourself. A crucial part of strategy is knowing your business and what makes you different. What are your competitive advantages that no one else has? Are they sustainable? How easy are they to imitate? What are you going to do when your competitor copies your latest and greatest moves? Strategy is a wild game of planning, anticipating, and continually adapting. Once you know what makes you unique from others in your industry, it’s time figure out how to communicate it in a way that resonates and draws people in. (Hint: keep reading to find out how!)
Know your customer. Using information gathered in the research phase, it’s time to take a hard look at your customer. What is it that they need from you? What problems or pain points are they experiencing that your organization can help solve? That information will then drive all of your communication. Whenever you start a new project or campaign, think about who you are talking to and make sure your messaging matches up. This approach makes your communication more authentic, strategic, and intentional.
Focus on your customer. We love customers so much we are writing about them twice. They are hands down, the most critical part of your business, so your marketing and messaging strategy should focus directly on them. Your communication should concentrate on how your product or service will benefit them, not how great and awesome your products are (even though they are in fact amazing). We all have those friends that like to talk about themselves and themselves only, and we don’t want your organization to be one of them. The goal is to write more “you” than “we,” so you can focus on your customers wants, needs, problems, and of course, how you can solve them. This is a small but intentional strategy that will transform the way you communicate with your audience.
Turn your data into information. There are a million ways to capture data in marketing. You can track data from your website, emails, social media, advertisements, and so much more. Utilize Google Analytics to understand your website traffic: where are your visitors coming from, what their interests are, how long were they on your site, and what pages were they looking at (yes, you can uncover all of this information through the Googles). Don’t look at the numbers, but take the time to understand what they mean and how to use them. And if you don’t know what they mean, ask an expert. (We know a few!) Your email opens and can be tracked through email marketing software, allowing you to identify what makes a compelling headline versus a lifeless one. Your social media accounts have insights that enable you to track your engagement, page likes, views, and it even can tell when your followers are online to find optimal times for posting. All of this data is out there waiting for you to turn into meaningful information and insights, so you can act on it and use it to your advantage.
Refine and analyze. The last strategy how-to we’ll leave you with is that your marketing should always be evolving. It’s an iterative process that might take a couple tries to get it right. And then once you find something that works… see how you can make it work better. When it comes to marketing, set-it-and-forget-it doesn’t work. There are so many ways to measure the effectiveness of your campaigns and how to generate the most results. When done right, marketing can be your best business strategy. It just takes an intentional approach to get there.