There Is No Marketing Cookie Cutter

One of the biggest lessons that I’ve learned after more than 10 years in sales and marketing is that there is no cookie cutter for rolling out a successful marketing campaign.

Just because you’ve seen it work for someone else, it doesn’t mean it will work for you and as useful as the “10 proven marketing strategies for this year” style blogs are, you’re never going to find the winning formula/ golden ticket amongst them.

Trust me when I tell you that this lesson has been a hard one to learn and that I’ve had my fair share of failed campaigns along the way. What often seems like the most mind-blowing exciting idea in theory, can in practice become a myriad of disappointment.

Luckily due to what I do, I’ve been in a position to see a lot of other people’s losses and wins, and after a lot of reading – when I say a lot, I mean a LOT –  testing, reflecting and many mistakes later, you find a better way of working.

Over time, you start to pick up on patterns and I’ve learned that in any marketing campaign there are three core factors to consider if you want to get the best result.

These are WHO, WHERE and WHAT.

In my experience, getting all three of these factors aligned will solve almost any sales and marketing problem that you may be facing.

Let’s look at each one…

 

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WHO – Are you targeting?

Before you jump into any ads, write any content or record any videos. If you haven’t given your customer personas some time and research, you will miss opportunities. I know that I bang this drum a lot but it’s only because I’ve seen the difference it can make to the end result.

Your customers are real people, people with complex, complicated and emotional driven lives. It’s so easy to forget this and to only look at your customers through the prism of YOUR own business wants and needs.

The customer doesn’t care if you ‘want’ them to buy something from you or if you need more sales to help your business grow.

They care about themselves which is why it’s so important to develop your personas because at the very least, this will keep reminding you to think of things from their perspective, not yours.

Once you know who they are and what they want, you can start looking into the.

WHERE – can you find them?

I’d argue that this is the topic I’ve had more conversations about throughout my career than any other because this is usually the entry point for most businesses. They think that if can just get in front of their potential customers, they will get sales.

For real businesses, with a finite marketing budget, this almost never works. You have to work smart, do your homework and play to your strengths.

There are so many channels available to reach your customers and they all need a slightly different approach to get results.  

For example, Facebook and Instagram are really pushing video content at the moment, so much so that they are a rewarding advertising with cheaper visibility.

LinkedIn still gets great responses with long form copy and articles. Also, groups are making a big come back at the moment.

Google is a perfect way to find users who are much closer to the buying stage of the journey which you can clearly establish from the keywords they are searching. However, this comes at a cost premium and you can quickly run up a big advertising bill.

The point is, don’t just jump into the first channel that springs to mind, you want to know which channels are best and what the capacity looks like. There’s no point using a channel if there aren’t enough of your customers there to get return.

Look at your options with your personas in mind and then make your decision. If you can’t do this research yourself, get some help.

The final factor is.

WHAT – value are you adding?

I’ve said this before I will definitely say it again, the answer to this question cannot be “your service” because every other business that you’re competing with says exactly that and more often than not, they offer the same thing you do.

It’s so easy to just become white noise at this stage and honestly it takes effort and investment on your part to add more value than your competitors, but it is worth it.

Examples

There are a lot of ways that you can do this, especially if your business is service focused. A few examples are:

  • Create more content that helps your customers with their problems
  • Build an online community for them to join where you can discuss common issues from their sector
  • Develop thought leadership by looking for speaking opportunities at relevant events
  • Build up your digital asset library with brochures, downloads, giveaways, strategy documents
  • Productise your services so that you can get very specific with the solutions that you offer. Not just say we can help with any problem
  • Develop your value ladder and lower the barrier to entry in the early stages with them
  • Work on the experience of your website so that it’s easier to find the info that they’re looking for

These are just a few that we’ve seen work well but there are a lot more. The outcome to this is to work on ways that you can add more value up front than the other businesses they might be considering.

If it feels like hard work, that’s a good thing because it means the customer will feel the effort you’ve put in which is exactly what you’re looking for and I’ve never seen a situation where it doesn’t pay off.

The point to all of this is that your competitors will rarely put this level of effort into planning out the fundamentals and most of them will be targeting the tiny percentage of customers in your industry who are the low hanging fruit.

If you put this effort in, you position your business more thoughtfully and will be targeting the significantly larger pool of customers who just need a little more nurturing.

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