Do you feel there are some valuable pieces missing or things that should be working better?
Do it often wonder if you are “shooting in the dark” as far as which marketing techniques are right for you?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, it’s probably time to re-evaluate your marketing strategy.
The vast majority of our clients are spending money on marketing efforts, working hard at it and are unhappy with the results. They’ve done most of the things they thought they should and just aren’t seeing results. This is usually a strong indicator that it’s time to go back to basics and create a fresh marketing road map.
Sometimes their original plan was broken to begin with. Other times, it’s simply that times have changed and what was working a couple years ago, isn’t working any more. Most are still chugging along okay, but not at the volume they’d like to be. Something is off.
The term “marketing strategy” can often be interchanged with “marketing mix” and “business strategy.” At the core of any marketing strategy are the four P’s, commonly known as the “marketing mix:”
Product / Service
This is usually fairly self explanatory, right? You know what products or services you are offering. While that may be true, there is a good chance you could do a better job of differentiating yourself.
First, think about your ideal client and about your product or service from their view. How will it benefit them or solve a problem they have? Focus on the clients’ needs and wants; not your product or service.
Second, what is unique about your product or service that makes your business stand out and can meet your clients’ needs? This might be an unusual way your product can be used, or an extended arm of your service that competitors aren’t offering. This is also referred to as a “unique selling proposition.” (Corbett Barr over at Think Traffic explains this and its importance in helpful detail.)
The more you can differentiate yourself from the crowd, the easier your marketing will be all the way around. As Corbett notes, it’s not about being the best, it’s about being the best at something no one else is doing!
Again, this seems pretty obvious, but it’s important to do an occasional check on how your pricing compares with others in your industry to ensure you are still competitive and offering a good value for the cost. Maybe there is a new way you can bundle products or services to create a better perceived value.
Are you still distributing your product the way people want to receive it? Technology is advancing constantly and what may have worked fine just a few years ago, may not be your customers’ ideal distribution now.
People are becoming increasingly used to having access to things “right now” via the web. They are also more interactive and savvy as far as doing things themselves and expecting to be able to access, update and change information as they see fit. Maybe you have products that should be downloadable now, or customers should have online access to their records so they can update at will. It is also becoming quite important to have a mobile-friendly website with more users utilizing smartphones for searches and information.
This is a particularly interesting topic considering social media. A few of the original social media sites like Facebook and Twitter are widely accepted as mainstream now, but there are new sites popping up all the time.
Take Pinterest for example. This is a relatively new site as far as social media networks go. Users create vision boards and add their own and other’s images. They can “like,” “comment,” and “repin” images. Their growth has been phenomenal in a short time and some businesses are reporting exceptional leads from this resource. This particular site happens to be most geared toward B2C, but Slideshare is another great example that can be used quite well in B2B marketing.
Don’t be afraid to really drill down your ideal audience and focus on a niche. Trying to meet the needs of a broad and diverse audience is almost never efficient and productive. It’s much easier to find a smaller niche audience that truly needs what you have to offer. This falls into the 80/20 rule. About 20% of your clients will produce 80% of the income. Focus on the 20% that count!
Of course the key to any marketing mix or strategy is finding that perfect mix of the four areas above. This can take some fine-tuning and patience. One of the biggest challenges we run into with clients is the mindset that it’s the internet so results are instantaneous. If only..
When implementing new tactics, it’s important to give them a little time to kick in and start working before evaluating whether they’ve had the desired result. We normally assume a 30 day initiation phase and then expect to watch and tweak things continually for 3 – 6 months before things usually fall into place. Every business and their goals are different so this will vary obviously, but it’s a good rule of thumb to keep in mind.
Finding the right marketing mix is a large puzzle with many small pieces. It can be a fun quest if you learn and grow along the way. If done well, it should also result in your business being wildly successful!
Have you tried new marketing strategy tactics that had surprising results? What were they and how did your business benefit?