Any marketing activity is to help a brand get from A to B.
Whether the journey is straight or convoluted, it needs to be planned in advance. You could stumble through this journey by trying out new things, But it is far better to have a plan in place.
Having a plan in place that is published to all stakeholders ensures that the entire team is looking at the big picture and thinking about the end goals, even when doing routine and mundane tasks. A junior person responsible only for execution may end up with a brilliant idea for something planned 4 months down the line.
Planning a campaign is a fairly simple series of steps.
What is the problem that we are trying to solve? What is the pain our customer is facing? Answers to such questions are not very difficult to find. Holding conversations with potential customers will give you good insights on what are the gaps beyond your existing offerings. It can’t be emphasised enough that this process has to be a continuous one. Your best and brightest talent should be on the job to drive insight gathering.
Another source of insight is the customer helpline. Are people complaining about a certain feature? Are they complaining about product failures? If you think about it? Who is listening to this customer? Often an outsourced employee who doesn’t care two hoots about your customer or your product. A program that rotates your management staff through email an voice staff will get you far more insight than a dedicated research firm.
Audience Identification & Segmentation
As part of the insight gathering process, you should be looking at if the problem affects your entire customer base or only a section of your customers. This segmentation will help you optimise your spending. Instead of spending money to reach all customers, you could save a bundle by reaching only a smaller section of people.
One of the advantages of proper audience identification and segmentation is that you can have a razor-sharp focus on what you want to communicate. This allows your communication to be more targeted and sharper.
Communication, like technology, suffers from feature creep (the temptation to add more and more features). When you try to communicate too many things, the final communication gets muddled. Not to mention, you may end up forgetting why you undertook this exercise.
You spent time gathering insights and segmenting your audience. Does your communication reflect the values and imagery associated with the audience you have identified above? Does it speak the lingo of your target customer?
Now, you have a communication to take to market. You also know who you want to address. You should take a careful look at the various media options that you spend your money on. While modern advertising has enabled a lot of targeting options, traditional media such as television has a huge reach as well. But that comes with a huge loss
Persistence and Consistency
A common mistake by upcoming marketers is that they underestimate the value of persistence and consistency.
Being persistent with an idea that is working is very difficult for a creative person. Such people always look for new ways to do the same thing. But all this costs time and money to create, deploy and experiment with.
Similarly consistency. Creative people and people from outside the department may brand a campaign boring (as in, not having new ideas). As a practitioner, one must avoid the temptation to keep rejigging things that work. And to fend off internal criticism, one must have metrics. Metrics will help you
That said, In the immortal words of Helmuth von Moltke, no plan survives contact with the enemy. All this means in our context is that we should be measuring everything that we do. If we don’t, then the money and effort are wasted.
Goal setting & Measurement
A marketing activity without a goal is like a stroll on the beach, at least the stroll gives you some pleasure. If you are spending time and/or money on marketing activity, you should know what are you trying to achieve in no uncertain terms. The goals should be set out in black and white before you begin the activity.
Measure the right metric
A closely linked but often misunderstood area is metrics. often, we forget to set goals or when set, we measure the wrong things and then declare a marketing campaign a failure..Post that we as marketers are hard-pressed to explain the results.
Often we are caught up in the minutiae of the campaign and think the measurement of the means is the goal. By means, I mean TV rating points or Email click rates or the cpm of a campaign. I am not at all advocating abandoning these metrics, but taking a new look at what the objectives are. Perhaps a higher cost per click is justified, because of where it appears. Perhaps a lower open rate is justified because of the database where you are sending your email to.
This is why you need to come up with and measure metrics that are disconnected from the medium. Can you think of a better way to measure the impact of your activity on your brand. Brand Awareness, Brand lift, Intent to buy are all known metrics to marketeers and have been in use by marketers for decades.
That said, some of these metrics are expensive and time-consuming to do. But it is an important part and needs to be done and budgeted for. No points
- Setup a feedback loop in advance that keeps an ear on what people are saying about your brand and product. This is important to do so that in case you need to rapidly course correct, you have the right feedback channel ready.
- Know and learn competition. When you are making a strategic shift, keep an eye on what your customer is doing? What price is he selling at? How much are they selling and of what? Competitive intelligence will also help you pick up insights into what is your customer base looking for.
- Unless you are a mature product like a box of matches, your product probably needs to innovate continuously. In fact, even the humble match would have seen hundreds of innovations before it has reached this stage of maturity. So if you don’t have an eye out for innovation, you are already falling behind.