Marketing has become an even more complex field, with new challenges and channels. Thus, it is no surprise that marketing performance has become a controversial subject generating heated debates inside companies and sometimes, even inside departments. I have gathered here a series of rules which can lead to an efficient marketing activity:
- What’s in it for me? (Phrase much more memorable in English than in Romanian)
This simple question asked from the client’s perspective is also called a consumption driver and has the role of validating what we offer to our clients. Though it may sound simple, placing ourselves in our clients’ shoes can sometimes be difficult and the purpose of this question is exactly to make us all objective and understand as accurately as possible the clients’ perspective (this is why in my Marketing Essentials course the trainees are not allowed to use phrases starting with “we” / “I” in workshops when they refer to their business and products).
- Message first, channels second
In a digitalized world which abounds in communication channels, there is a trend to choose first the channels on which we want to communicate, be it Facebook, Google or TV. Before choosing the channel, it is important to clarify what we want to communicate and to whom, continuing actually the logics started in the first item above. Only after that we can analyze which channels match, according to the message, public and budget.
- You reap what you sow
Many times, companies communicate a lot of messages in the same time and then act surprised that they did not reach their clients or that the clients have not heard them. The fact that the messages are being sent does not mean that they also get to the customers, as their attention is limited. The more the messages, the bigger the confusion. A simple and clear message is preferable.
- Long terms are formed of several short terms (or the variant before spaced out)
A discussion I hear a lot lately is that on the short term we want to sell and on the long term we want to position ourselves on the market in a specific way. Thus, on the short term we prepare all kinds or promotions or activations meant to quickly take the money out of the clients’ pockets, but we hope that on the long term we get to be perceived in a special and different way as compared to the others. The bad news is that the long term is formed of several short terms and it is exactly what we give or communicate on the short term that will also get to form the long term perception.
- Plan, plan, plan (in English or Romanian, as you wish)
It sounds like an artificial slogan, but it is not. And even if agility and flexibility have become preferred words in modern business, a shade of planning (even if not much) does help. Even if on the road we revise, adjust, correct. A plan helps aligning the team, focusing and concentrating the resources and takes away the uncertainty of the unknown. It eliminates, for instance, the big question: what should we post on Facebook today?
- The brand does not belong to the marketing department
Yes, I know, there is no surprise, I have said it before. Because the brand is about relation and perception, and this is based on the ecosystem of the entire business, not only on the marketing position as communication position, usually. But also on sales, logistics, operational, customer services and in general, on all those participating one way or another to building the experience between the brand (incorporating here the product, service, etc.) and the consumer. Even if the brand platform is elaborated and structured by the marketing position, the maintenance and construction of the brand is related to the entire company.
- One-man band does not exist really
Everybody is looking for him and even if he existed, nobody would afford him anyway. Marketing today has become so complex, it involved analysis, segmentation, communication, production, creation, etc. One person cannot be in the same time organized and creative, synthetical and analytical. So, we’d better evaluate the specific need of each marketing position and find the right person or people, internally or externally.
- Marketing is an investment, not an expense
I know already that I have stepped on some CFO’s nerves (but this is one of the marketing people’s passions, right, to fight with the accounting? J), but I strongly believe that the performance comes also from this mindset of looking at the marketing expense as an investment in the future, in growth, in developing the brand and the business. As when we invest in buildings, technology and production machinery, meant to bring the business to the next level, it is the same we should do with marketing (and, if possible, with marketing people!) if we want that the business enters on a sustained growth path.
- Do not give up
An old saying in the industry says that if the brand manager is bored, it does not mean that the consumer is bored. People like surprises, but in a recognizable form, which provides them safety and reliability. In other words, be fresh and innovative, but do not change the brand personality every day and do not stop if you see that the results do not occur immediately. Perseverance is maybe the biggest quality of marketing people, and it is not in vain that Seth Godin once said “Be patiently impatient”.
- Do not postpone the follow-up and the evaluation
Most marketing people are so busy with the implementation and execution phase that they do not get to deal with the follow-up on the results anymore. Which means that next time the chances to make the same mistakes and not progress are very high. The true performance comes from permanent measurement and evaluation and in using the conclusions smartly and in real time, if possible. Because speed matters. But it is also about connecting the communication and marketing objectives with the business ones. So that we can demonstrate how the marketing activity, whatever that may be, contributes to a proper business operation.
For more debates and workshops on marketing themes, I am waiting for you at Marketing Essentials intensive training (next session: Friday, October 6th): http://brandessence.ro/cursuri/marketing-essentials/.