One of the common discussions I have with prospective clients, friends or colleagues within my network is the success of their marketing, particularly what works and what doesn’t. Sometimes there’s frustration as they’re not seeing the results and consequently can’t see the value in what they’re doing. For many it’s an important and considerable cost whether in budget or time so it’s vital that their marketing works and they can see they’re making impact, if not progress.
When discussing marketing I try and avoid as much jargon as possible – mainly because I can feel myself glaze over but more importantly by keeping it simple, it’s understood. Instead I like to use terms of reference which anyone can apply to help them understand marketing’s efficacy but also necessity. I’m going to call them ‘a-ha’ posts and the first one is….integrated marketing.
First of all successful marketing is all about the long game. It’s important to promote your business and service in the right way, with the right messaging so that your customers can find you, engage with you and buy from you. However, patience is key. Just because you’ve run a Facebook ad campaign or hired a PR for a couple of months, doesn’t mean you’re suddenly going to have the world knocking on your door. Even Apple’s new product launches take place months in advance with the rumour mill, buzz and hype before the actual ‘reveal’.
Secondly it’s a tried and tested game. I compare integrated marketing – factoring all the aspects of your marketing activity – as a combination lock. The game is to find the right combination to unlock the winning marketing formula for your business. There’s not just the divisions of PR, social media, digital, advertising and inbound marketing activity (such as list building and newsletters) to think about but at what level each has to work – both independently but also in alignment with the other channels.
It would be so easy if there was one winning combination which fits all. However, every business, its objectives, its benefits to its customers and therefore its audience will differ from company to company. Unfortunately unlocking that winning combination simply takes time and perseverance. Money and resource needs to be invested yes, but auditing quickly so you can tweak your activity accordingly as you go along will help you manage those costs.
The good news is that clarity in who you’re marketing to will help you unlock this puzzle faster. Once you determine who your customer is, where they are and more importantly where their attention can be found (i.e. what channels matter to them) and how you communicate how your product/service can help them, you can quickly determine the relevant channels and the level of activity that is beneficial for them.
Marketing isn’t easy – if it were everyone’s business would be a roaring success, but through better understanding you can develop the right approach to help you unlock your winning marketing strategy.