By Gina Morin, Design Intervention
You know you need to market your businesses to grow, but creating a clear roadmap to achieve your objective can be challenging. Do you often feel like your head is on a swivel? Is someone always telling you what you "have to do next"? Overwhelmed by digital marketing, social media, and web updates?
Formally going through the three phases of marketing will help you gain clarity and prioritize what's most important for YOUR business. The ultimate purpose of marketing is to build brand recognition, credibility, and awareness while also driving sales and increasing revenue. By breaking down your marketing into small steps, you will give structure to your efforts so that you can remain consistent and stay top of mind with your audience and create your clear path to growth.
This blog post is my spin on a marketing class I recently completed with Chris Bolman, Founder & CEO of Brightest.io. Chris goes into a lot more detail, but this hits all the key points necessary to gain clarity in your marketing roadmap.
The Marketing Process and Why it's Important
Marketing is merely taking the visual elements of your Brand (the logo, the typography, the color palettes, the messaging) and communicating that across the proper Channels (social media, newspaper, billboards, direct mail, etc.). And doing it in a way that will get that message to your Audience (prospects, customers, target market) and allows you to achieve your business Objectives (which could be to increase sales, create awareness, improve brand recognition).
Having the proper marketing in place at the right time of a customer's path to purchase, can be the deciding factor of whether or not they are buying from you or your competitor.
Create Marketing Clarity
1) Planning & Development
Ensure that all of the members of your marketing team (you, your in-house employees, freelancers, vendors, and consultants) are all on the same page when it comes to your brand messaging and marketing plans.
- Settle on the central marketing message(s) you want to communicate.
- Determine what the specific campaign(s) are that are going to revolve around that messaging.
- Decide which channels you are going to use to distribute your message.
- Create a calendar. Note things like the pieces that need to be created in production. Schedule social media posts, media buying, ads. etc.
- Decide which Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) are you going to track to measure the results of your campaigns.
- Be sure to put all this information into a creative brief. This step should not be ignored no matter how small your team is. If you aren't all on the same page, it will cause confusion, waste time and money.
2) Production & Distribution
This phase will include the creation of all the marketing pieces you defined are necessary for your campaign to meet it's objective and the execution of getting those pieces out to the specific channels you defined.
- Use the itemized list from your creative brief and decide who is going to do what when it comes to the creative pieces. Will it be you, your in-house team, a freelance designer?
- Track the work on your calendar to stay informed about each stage of the creative process.
- Once those pieces are created, you must have a formal review and approval process in place. You should be asking if the work reflects your brand and if it solves the marketing problem you defined in the Planning & Development phase.
- After the approval process, it's time to distribute that message to your audience. The mix of distribution channels you choose (social media, print advertising, digital media, etc.) should put your message in front of your target audience in the most cost-effective way that has the most impact and will reach the most significant number of people.
3) Monitoring & Analysis
This final phase involves data gathering & data intelligence. This is the time where you listen to what your audience is saying in response to your marketing campaign and then use that data to determine if your campaign was successful in meeting your marketing objectives.
- When gathering data, think about how your marketing efforts compare to your competitors.
- What KPIs did you determine most important? Don't choose too many metrics. Choose high-level data that speaks to the overall objective. You may want to include data from social media conversations, web traffic, leads, sign-ups, revenue, sales, donations, etc.
- Determine which KPIs you are going to review daily, weekly, monthly, and quarterly.
- Use this data to inform how you move forward with your marketing. Let it be your guide as to what's working, what isn't, what can you change and what can you do more of. This data will help you gain the clarity you are seeking when it comes to taking the next step.
Marketing consistently, and not just when things are slow, is one of the things that creates brand awareness and brings constant growth to your business. Once you have determined what's working or what isn't, the lifecycle starts all over again. Marketing is an ongoing process. Need some motivation? Note this quote from Karen Lamb..."A year from now, you’ll wish you had started today."
Ready to get started? Let's chat!