Half the money you spend on marketing is wasted - if only you knew which half. Wise words, often attributed to American 19th-century merchant and politician John Wanamaker.
The statement is as apposite today as it was back then, with one fundamental difference. Today the money could be wasted, but it doesn’t need to be.
Why? Because in today’s digital world the effectiveness of marketing initiatives can be measured, often through near real-time metrics from digital channels. With the right set-up, you should be able to measure the success of your marketing and make course corrections quickly.
Marketing has become a heavily data-driven activity. People will continue to argue that marketing is an art or science depending on their background, but in today’s digital world there is no doubt that the analytical element of marketing is now a dominant force.
Right now there are nearly 1.8 billion live websites, according to internetlivestats.com This generates a huge amount of noise that your business’s marketing message needs to cut through to reach its intended audience.
Even the most beautifully crafted copy (the ‘art’) won’t help your business if it’s not targeted effectively. This means finding the right channels and the right mechanisms to reach your audience and analysing the success of your campaign using online data analytics (the ‘science’).
Marketing is a process and like most processes will benefit from a structured approach which involves following a series of steps and defining a set of measurements to assess effectiveness, including an overall return on investment (ROI).
Here are some areas to consider as you start to build your marketing strategy and plan:
Define your overall objective and supporting goals - eg increase sales by x%, generate y enquiries per day, increase conversion rate by z%.
Identify your target customer profile in as much detail as possible. You may have several profiles, or ‘personas’, that you model to represent your typical customers.
Clarify your value proposition - be sure that your marketing material demonstrates the problem that it solves. Check that your message is consistent throughout your material across all channels.
Decide which channels to prioritise. You are likely to be more successful by focusing on a few channels rather than trying to cover every option. Certain channels tend to align with particular target market demographics and product types.
- Monitor your metrics - use digital analytics and your information to measure progress against your marketing goals. If an initiative is performing below expectations, make changes.
Before spending any money on external marketing it’s worth checking that the fundamental components of your business are in good shape. For example, buying Google Ads to drive traffic to your website won’t be effective if your website does a poor job of explaining your product and makes it hard for potential customers to buy from you.
There are plenty of marketing businesses out there offering their services. Following the steps above should provide you with a basic framework to increase the likelihood of a positive return on your marketing investment.
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