Marketing is one of the most critical functions of any business. It’s essential however, to understand that marketing is NOT the same as advertising!
Marketing is the whole process of determining Product, Placement, Promotion and Pricing.
Advertising may be an essential component of the bigger marketing picture, but it’s still only a single cog within the Promotion wheel of the big marketing machine.
This assumption led a client of mine to make the mistake of relying solely on advertising to drive his sales pipeline. During an especially stressful downturn in his business, my client fell for a salesman’s pitch and bought into billboard advertising.
This was of course supposed to be the silver-bullet that would get leads streaming through the door. He invested a sizeable chunk of an already stretched budget and the results were wholly unspectacular.
Not only did my client feel foolish for falling for the pitch, but now he’d virtually blown his marketing budget.
We started working together and crafted a carefully considered plan that combined a package of integrated marketing activities aimed at building long term relationships.
Each activity had it’s specific purpose and fitted together with the other activities to achieve the overall objective. Within a year, my client had regained full control of his marketing and business operations, with an intimate understanding of his customers. He was able to provide them with the best possible service, resulting in high customer satisfaction ratings. His brand was reputable and trustworthy, and he was consistently generating leads and sales.
Know Yourself. Understand your Market
Before diving into marketing tactics, it’s essential to deeply understand your business and your target market. This includes understanding your own brand aspirations, the problems you aim to solve for your customers, and where and how you need to meet your market to deliver the best value.
Knowing your customers well enough that you are confident in approaching them as you would a good friend, is crucial.
Date Your Client
Effective marketing is about building trust and long-term relationships between your brand and your clients. These deep relationships a re what will ultimately set your brand apart and produce an easier and more successful sales cycle.
How? By moving your clients through their Know-Like-Trust journey. From knowing about your brand, to liking what it offers, to ultimately trusting you with their business.
Just like with romantic relationships, you can’t skip the first two steps and dive straight into the trust phase like an awkward 13 year old teenager! You have to nurture the relationship.. find common ground.. show them why they’d be silly not to go out with you.. If you’ve done this right, asking the question becomes almost irrelevant! Hello first date! 😉
A deeper connection however, is cemented by their experience with your brand during & after that first date..
- Did you ask about their interests? (Customer survey)
- Did you book that hot new sushi restaurant because they mentioned they’d love to try it? (Social listening)
- Did you call afterwards to say you had a great time? (Follow up)
- If it’s a good fit, did you suggest a second date? (Call to Action)
Aligning the Marketing Cogs
Crafting a carefully considered and intentional marketing plan/strategy that combines the best marketing activities to build your long-term business is key. Each activity should have it’s specific purpose and still fit together with the other activities like the cogs in a machine.
Right Place, Right Effort
Advertising icon David Ogilvy said, “As far as I know, I’m the only creative genius who started his career in research.”
Customer insight research is invaluable and saves you from expensive mistakes. Asking the right questions will tell you exactly what engages, excites, and moves your clients most. These are all crucial considerations when crafting messages to connect meaningfully but it can also quickly identify opportunities to outperform your competitors by serving clients in areas where they are dropping the ball.
By understanding your business, your market, and your customers, (and of course delivering quality services or solutions) you’ll create the best type of customers – LOYAL ONES!
Reference: Wunderman Thompson Report