It’s no secret we’re living in times of economic uncertainty. It’s all the more reason (as if there wasn’t reason enough already) to make sure you’re getting the most out of your current marketing investments.
Even though we both focus on different areas of marketing, as the owners of two boutique marketing agencies, we’ve noticed some consistencies among the issues our respective customers face. Time, money, and energy is being spent (and wasted) on things that deliver sub-optimal results. We see customers who want to do things quickly – whether it’s build a website or create a nurture campaign on some new innovative platform – without first establishing a strong foundation that should inform all of these efforts and more. As the saying goes, they want to “put the cart before the horse.” In the process, they are creating inefficiencies that will surely fail to move the needle.
Just as you wouldn’t write a book without first creating an outline, or start a journey somewhere new without a map, in order to ensure your marketing efforts are as effective and efficient as possible, a strong marketing foundation is essential. Who are you? Who are you selling to? Who are you selling against? What do you have to say? And what are your ultimate goals?
There a 5 key elements that marketers should put in place to establish a strong marketing foundation:
- Persona Profiles: A persona is a fictional character created to represent a user type that might use your website, brand, or product. The best way to establish who your customer personas are is to start with interviewing your current customers using targeted questions to gather all of the information you can. What pain points do your customers have? What problem is your product or service solving for? Where do they get most of their information? The list goes on. From here, you’ll create persona profiles. These will inform all of your marketing work by helping you understand who you’re talking to and how you approach them, whether it’s through your website, an email, or an ad campaign.
- Competitive Analysis: Unless you’re creating a truly groundbreaking product or service, you have competitors out there. And even if you don’t, you will soon enough. It’s a crowded marketplace. Make sure you know who’s out there doing or selling something similar to you. Start with a competitive analysis that breaks down your competitors’ strengths and weaknesses. What are they doing right? Where could they improve? This will give you a strategic advantage and allow you to be prepared and identify opportunities and threats they may pose.
- Messaging: Your messaging framework should encapsulate the reason you’re in business to begin with. It’s your who, what, how, and why. This can include your mission statement, your values as a company, a positioning statement that sets you apart from your competitors, and your product or services’ unique promise to your customers. This messaging framework will guide and inform every piece of marketing content you put out there, from sales training materials to ad campaigns, website content, and beyond.
- Brand Design: While your logo is important, it doesn’t stop there. From colors and fonts to iconography and photography, these staples are what comprises your brand design. They’re what makes you identifiable and memorable to customers, while differentiating you from competitors. When these elements come together on a consistent basis across all pieces of marketing, they create brand awareness over time.
- Key Performance Indicators (KPIs): What are you aiming for with your marketing efforts? What are your goals? Is it cost-per-customer acquisition? Campaign ROI, email consumption, and optimization? Click-thru rates? Your KPIs will help you focus your efforts, while everything listed above will make sure they resonate with the right people.
To be successful in marketing or sales, through a website or a campaign launch, you need a solid marketing foundation in place that informs everything you put out there and communicate.
While this list may seem overwhelming, or not applicable to you, building this foundation and doing this work up front will enable you to approach your marketing from a thoughtful and strategic vantage point that will lead to the results you want to see from your investments. It will help you drive the move value of all your marketing initiatives. Ready to get your marketing foundation in place? Contact us to learn more about how we can help you get started.