Whatever the size of your entity – whether you’re a one-man-band or a large corporation – if you sell something, marketing that product or service is arguably your most important concern. Getting your brand in front of the right prospective clients at the right time and in a compelling way can make or break your entire operation.
Because of this, marketing strategically and effectively is a top concern for any enterprise. The process of accomplishing this can take some forethought and planning. Let’s explore how effective planning can skyrocket the impact of your marketing efforts.
Planning Reduces Resource Waste
Planning your marketing strategy, rather than trying random tactics and regretting them later, will almost always yield a superior result across a number of fronts. Employing random marketing efforts is a sure-fire way to waste time, effort, and money.
This waste can take multiple forms. Sometimes it looks like throwing the aforementioned resources into marketing attempts that prove ineffective. You might spend weeks crafting an ad that you pay to publish in a magazine, and then never receive a single lead as a result. You may spend money on an online ad campaign that never results in a click or inquiry.
A similar result that is just as detrimental (if not more so) is spending marketing resources that generate the wrong types of clients. If your marketing is not effectively targeted or does not clearly communicate your product-market fit, you may generate leads (and sometimes even initial sales) but the needs of those potential customers are not readily or effectively met by the value your product offers.
This can ultimately cost not only the wasted time and resource spent on the marketing that generated those leads, but the additional time and effort wasted on conversations, sales processing, customer service, and the onboarding and offboarding processes necessary and leave a trail of dissatisfied or underserved customers. The significant costs incurred in this scenario should be more than enough to motivate your enterprise to take a hard look at your marketing strategy and make sure it is not only working but generating the right types of leads for your business.
Planning Crystalizes Your Needs and Priorities
Part of creating an effective marketing strategy is thinking through its fundamental components and how they relate to the particulars of your business.
Crafting a marketing plan should consider the following facets:
Your marketing messages aren’t crafted to disappear into the ether (or at least, we’re trying to avoid that). They are created specifically to speak to someone – your target customer. Confoundingly, too many businesses create promotional materials or use language that doesn’t connect in any meaningful way with their market. Getting inside the mind of your ideal client is an imperative step to designing a marketing strategy that works.
To communicate with your audience effectively, invest time and effort into understanding it. Learn the way your potential customers speak, talk, think and act. Have conversations with them. Put pictures of them on your workspace wall. Go to their kids’ birthday parties. Know their pain points. Know their dreams. The more you know, the better you can connect with them and ultimately communicate your message in a way that matters to them. This is arguably the most important step of designing your marketing campaign. Time spent doing this will pay off in dividends.
Though many types of marketing are free or can at least be started for free, almost any marketing mix will involve monetary costs at some point and some results aren’t really possible without incorporating paid forms of marketing. Without giving precursory thought to what kind of budget you must work with or would like to spend on your marketing efforts, it’s easy to spend either too much or not enough.
Don’t catch yourself or your bottom line off-guard by taking on marketing costs you can’t manage. Alternatively, don’t hamstring your work by skimping on costs if you have the capacity to do a marketing campaign justice.
Marketing messages are written to accomplish something intentional. Whether they communicate who you are as a brand or are meant to cause a specific action or outcome, a marketing message should be clear, understandable, and fit for purpose. It should also be told in a way that’s best received by your target audience. Do they want a compelling story? An emotional appeal? Facts and figures? An interactive experience? Plenty of consideration should go into crafting your message.
In a world of nearly countless ways to communicate a message in some shape or form, it’s important to prioritize the channels that will best serve your business and reach your target market. Marketing channels vary widely in features and use. These range from many different kinds of media to word-of-mouth, in-person lead generation, events and trade shows, influencer and multi-level marketing, and more. What channels are most likely to expose the right audience to your marketing? What does the channel itself communicate about your message, product, and brand? Will you diversify or streamline your marketing efforts? Choosing your channels wisely will benefit you in the long run.
This refers to the scope of your marketing. Depending on your product or service type, this is an important consideration to weigh. Obviously, if you run a cleaning business dependent on serving clients located within a certain locale, it doesn’t make any sense to market those services to customers that are located 100 miles away.
Likewise, if you know that your target audience lives primarily in a certain location or type of area, spending resources on ads or marketing efforts that reach other places is a waste. Determine your ideal reach as part of your marketing planning and stick to it.
As mentioned above, marketing has a purpose. It’s important to make sure you identify the aim of every ad, flier, email, meeting, or webpage you create and release to the world so that you can ensure its message will effectively guide those who see or absorb it to consider doing what it’s prompting them to do. A conversion for a particular marketing piece might look like joining your newsletter, buying a product, or filling out a testimonial. Whatever its purpose, marketing is only effective when it triggers that to happen (at least some of the time).
As an overall campaign, it’s hard to determine whether your marketing efforts have ultimately caused the benefit to your business that they were designed to unless you have already thought through what success would look like. As you design a marketing campaign, give some thought to what a reasonable return would be for the amount of investment it will require.
Does that look like a certain number of qualified leads? A specific conversion percentage from traffic driven to a landing page? An increase in sales by some amount? Defining this makes it possible to assess whether your time, energy, and money are well spent when all is said and done.
Planning Saves Time
Finally, planning your marketing campaign allows you to line up necessities ahead of time so that your plan can progress without interruptions. This might range from raising the funds necessary to scale an initial marketing effort into a robust one; planning ahead for what personnel you might want to hire to manage or scale your marketing efforts; working to develop the right contacts and partnerships for a future stage in your marketing strategy so that you are ready to hit the ground running; developing the right assets for your brand and your team; and more. Without planning thoroughly, it’s possible to inhibit momentum generated by a phase of a marketing campaign by not being ready to progress and take advantage of it fully when it’s time to advance to the next level.
The verdict is in: the more you plan, the better the results will be that you can expect from your marketing efforts. Laying an intentional groundwork using forethought and strategic planning will allow you to build effective marketing campaigns that can scale with your business and are far more likely to achieve the results you’re looking for.
About the Author
Ryan Ayers is a researcher and consultant within multiple industries including information technology, blockchain and business development. Always up for a challenge, Ayers enjoys working with startups as well as Fortune 500 companies. When not at work, Ayers loves reading science fiction novels and watching the LA Clippers.