The end goal of any marketing efforts is to drive sales growth. Developing a strategy to accomplish this can feel daunting and unlike efforts in other parts of the business.
But remember, if marketing were easy, every company would be growing, right?
Whether you’re a small business operator or a Marketing Director for a larger organization, marketing is routinely cited as an area where it’s hard to get a grasp on exactly what you should be doing and to track what’s working. When I was responsible for writing the annual marketing plan for the Cheetos brand, we faced this same struggle. The reason why marketing presents a unique challenge is because most purchase decisions are driven heavily by emotion. There is no simple system to track how a marketing message elicits a response, and when you have multiple marketing activities running, it’s even harder to measure the exact impact of each tactic. Marketing research studies can be informative, but also expensive. And rarely is a consumer able to articulate their own emotional triggers on their journey to purchase. So, if the journey to purchase is driven by emotion, and it’s very difficult to know where and how you’re eliciting an emotional response, how should you formulate a strategic marketing plan?
Here are three simple guidelines to follow to start the journey to maximize your marketing impact.
First, you have to accept that marketing is a journey, not a destination. There are two implications of this:
- We must accept that marketing will always be a work in progress that will never be mastered. The key is to accept that you will always be learning and be ready to embrace this never-ending journey to learn and improve.
- Any singular marketing activity is simply one step in your customers journey. They say a customer needs to see you an average of 7 times before they take action. The biggest mistake we see in marketing is attributing all the credit of a “conversion” or “sale” to the last step of that journey. For more information on how to guide potential customers through this journey, please watch our free Digital Marketing 101 webinar.
Second, it’s important to set up metrics for your customer journey. It all starts with brand awareness. How many potential customers know you exist, and understand how you are uniquely positioned to help them. The path to purchase starts with awareness. So, put metrics in place. You can run a relatively low-cost Google Survey to see how many of your potential customers know you. You can track how different advertising channels uniquely reach new people that may not have heard of you before. And you can look at the cost for each new person you reach. From there, you can set up secondary metrics like measuring time spent on website, new visitors to your site, and what content people are engaging with. The more that you see an ad channel is directly or indirectly impacting quality website traffic, you have a clear indication that people are taking the time to learn more about you, which is a key step in the journey. There may be other metrics to consider that are unique to your business, like foot traffic, phone calls, and other types of inquiries. These metrics can provide directional guidance on how well your overall strategy is working.
Finally, always be thinking about your customer.
- What do they need?
- What are their unmet needs?
- How are they feeling?
- What are their pain points?
- How do you uniquely help solve these issues in their life?
This journey of inquisition will help ensure you develop compelling messages. The more that your ad message ties to your customer’s needs, the more likely they will notice. The more they notice, the more likely they eventually invest in learning more about you.
No one has ever walked into a car dealership and said, “I’m here because I saw a TV ad yesterday”. But those ads played a critical role in influencing that visit because they were developed with insights on what the target customer wants or aspires for. It can be hard to find the expertise to build world class advertising design, but you have a right to keep pushing until you feel like you’re starting to crack the code. Be ready to test and learn. The Awarity website has undergone massive transformation in the past three years as we’ve learned more about the challenges our customers are facing. And we know that as we continue to learn more about our customers, our website will continue to evolve.
Applying these three guidelines will give you a leg up in your marketing and advertising efforts. You may not see results overnight, but a consistent effort will yield results over time, and perhaps help you identify other areas of opportunity with your products and services. Every new campaign with Awarity includes a customized campaign strategy, and our clients are always welcome to leverage this strategy across their other marketing efforts.