Is your marketing strategy as effective as you’d like it to be? There’s almost always room for improvement, so it pays to re-evaluate your plan regularly. Sometimes small adjustments can be made to improve your ROI and lead quality or it may be time for a total Marketing Makeover.
First, what is a Marketing Makeover? It means taking into account your overall strategy, not just analyzing individual pieces. You want to look at:
- How all aspects of your marketing strategy work together
- What message (or messages) you are sending to your target audience
- What media channels you are using to reach your audience
- The current state of your audience and their needs
The goal is to ensure your marketing is clear, consistent, and appropriate for your target audience. It’s common for businesses to need a few adjustments here and there, but some businesses find that they need to overhaul their entire strategy. Here are three basic scenarios where a complete Marketing Makeover may be appropriate.
- You have an established business, but it isn’t growing.
- Last year’s sales were worse than the year before.
- You have a new business, but you haven?t found your audience yet.
What You Need to Get Started with Your Marketing Makeover
If your business falls into one of these categories, here’s what you’ll need to prepare for your Marketing Makeover.
- A Profile of Current Customers
Many businesses are using guesswork and intuition to target customers, but you may be surprised what you uncover when you get the facts. You don’t need to hire a major company to create a fairly accurate customer profile.
For businesses who work entirely online, just turn to Google Analytics. You’ll find information on everything from basic demographics and location to interests and technology. Another important area to analyze is Acquisition. You’ll learn the top channels that visitors use to get to your site, which can provide valuable insight into who they are and how to reach them.
Businesses with physical locations can start by asking customers for their zip codes when they check out. Some take it a step further by requesting they fill out a brief survey, but even the zip code alone can provide a wealth of information.
You can input the data into Nielson?s zip code lookup tool, and you’ll receive data on those customers? lifestyle segments, including:
- Household income
- Household composition
- Race and ethnicity
Here are two examples of the types of profiles you’ll receive:
This information may confirm assumptions about your audience, but it’s not always a bad thing to find your expectations challenged by the data. You can either adjust your message to ensure you are speaking to your actual audience’s needs, or try to uncover why you aren?t reaching the consumers you intended to.
- Your Brand Image
Your brand image is all the attributes of your brand as perceived by potential and current customers. That may sound like it’s difficult to determine and it’s certainly not a straightforward, one-size-fits-all process but you should start by looking at all the ways you communicate with your customers. A few things to gather:
- Your Company Name
- Key Marketing Images
- Key Marketing Messages
- Your Store Layout (whether online or brick and mortar)
- Your Customer Service Scripts or Training
Again, it’s key to go to all customer touch-points to see what messages are sent about your business: your website, your social media, your newsletter, your print marketing, your charity efforts, your cash registers, your packaging, your physical location everywhere.
You may find that your brand image is fairly easy to determine, since you are sharing a consistent message through all images and text. Or you may find that you are sending completely different messages across different channels and in different mediums. That’s a sign of a problem, since consistency is key for brand recognition and building customer loyalty.
- Your Marketing Vendors
Who are you working with to get your marketing message across? Even as a DIY-er, it’s likely you have some professionals helping you, which can include:
- Graphic designers
- Web designers
- SEO experts
- Social media managers
- Direct marketers
- PR firms
- Mass email software
- Print advertising companies
- PPC ad companies
- Video production companies
- Radio marketing firms
This list is by no means exhaustive, but it gives you a place to start from. It can also be helpful to get advice from key vendors on their recommendations for changes to your marketing, but take it with a grain of salt. Each vendor has an incentive to recommend expanding your use of their services as an effective strategy. As a result, you may find that vendors provide conflicting advice.
With so many moving parts in a marketing strategy, it’s also crucial that you have a single person in charge of ensuring they are all sharing the same message and working towards the same goal. Who is that person? Some companies find it valuable to hire a consultant who can handle this and also offer an outside opinion that helps you wade through the advice of all your other vendors.
Some consultants can also give you access to advanced tools that are simply too expensive for you to invest in for a single project, such as research tools for keywords, competitive analysis, on-page analysis and local search optimization.
- Your Marketing Costs and ROIOkay, now that you know who you are working with, you want to understand what you are paying them. Get an estimate for your monthly cost to each vendor, as well as listing what services they provide. Then do your best to determine your ROI. For some types of marketing, such as PPC ads, this is fairly easy to gather, but for others, it may require asking your customers how they found you.
It’s also important to note that a single customer’s journey can be a complicated one. For example, someone may discover your services in a print ad, visit your website to read your blog, and then ultimately make a purchase from a newsletter you send. Should you credit the print ad or the newsletter for the ultimate sale? How did the blog influence the customer? Don’t be too quick to rule out a particular marketing effort because it isn’t as easy to measure its ROI.
Now It’s Time to Analyze and Develop a Strategy
It becomes much easier to pinpoint problems and recognize successes once you’ve gathered all the research together. Now your goal is to correct those problems and expand on those successes. This means determining who your customers are and what they want, delivering on those needs, and ensuring each piece of your marketing strategy works towards that same goal.
About the Author
Shepard Morrow is the head of Location Traffic, a business consulting and internet marketing company in New Jersey. Download his free white paper, The 5 Online Marketing Must-Do?s for Brick-and-Mortar Retailers. Learn more on LocationTraffic.com, or call 609-737-8667.