5 tips for your next marketing strategy

A no BS approach to marketing strategy. 5 simple tips to help bring success to your marketing strategy.

Dec 19, 2017 | 8 minutes read | Author: Joseph Johnston

It’s Christmas, you should be relaxing, drinking wine, farting out loud with that ‘I don’t give a feck attitude’! And rightly so!

But what happens when January comes? Are you prepared for 2018? Or are you clawing on to your Americano with desperation?

Well, you can relax, your 3rd favourite Irish Marketer has got your back. In January you can skip into your office like a marketing martyr who’s recently read 50 shades of Seth Godin.

Marketing plans come in all shapes and sizes. Some marketers consider marketing plans to be long lists of whatever task is ‘hip’ at that moment in time — Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, PPC, everything digital, Facebook, Facebook.

The lists are general meaningless with no substance. We need more than just bones in marketing, we need meat — juicy, data-driven meat. It’s time to bulk up those lists.

What is a marketing plan?

A marketing plan is a blueprint for your marketing intentions within a certain period. It’s the action-packed segment of your marketing strategy - the ‘this is how we’re going to do it’ section. Your marketing plan will provide everyone within your company with a clear overview of what you are doing and when you are doing it.

To use a boring football analogy, a team’s strategy may be to win the league, the plan is how they are going to do it - the little book of tactics, 4-4-2 formation, signing a shiny forward like Bendtner.

But before you jump in, there is one tiny hurdle to consider:

Why are you writing this marketing plan? Is it for a single campaign, or a company marketing strategy. Both are very different as you can guess: a campaign marketing plan only focuses on the campaign, a company marketing plan focuses on everything.

Quick Tip, before we hit the steps. Keep your plan simple. Your marketing plan must be easily communicated and straight to the point. No messing around, you ain't got the time!

5 steps to create a sweet marketing plan!

Step 1 - Justify!

Remember that old saying, ‘You can’t sell snow to the Eskimos’? The same goes for marketing.

Does your product or business offer something unique? If it doesn’t, your first step is to find your USP. If you can’t find it, you need to rethink your product/service/business.

To put it bluntly, no amount of great marketing will help shift a shitty product.

Make sure what you are offering is what people want and unique. Don’t jump into bed with marketing until you have your USP. You’ll only end up disappointed if you don’t - it sucks.

This is the most important step in this entire post - DO NOT UNDERESTIMATE THIS.

Step 2 - Objectives

Once you pick the destination, the journey is much clearer - Pick a SMART objective (Who would know spending £20k on a marketing degree would come in handy one day).

Your objective is the focal point for any marketing plan. It’s your plan’s north star, your light at the end of the tunnel, your McDonalds after your workout (I’m not the gym type).

Before you start thinking about specific tactics or growth hacks (apologies to anyone who is offended by this term), you need to have your objective locked down.

For example, here’s a breakdown of some of DigiJo’s Goals:

2017:

Grow Meetup membership to 100

Create a Facebook presence with over 100 followers

Create a website, attracting over 200 visitors per month

Attract 2 guest speakers to Meetups

2018:

  • Grow membership to 200
  • Average Meetup attendance of 30
  • Grow Facebook followers to 500
  • 2 guest blogs per month on website
  • Attract 6 guest speakers to Meetups

There’s a commonality here, see it? They’re simple and clear!

Clear and well-defined objectives are easily translated to your team members. You want everyone on the same page with your objectives; Sailing towards the sunset in sweet harmony. One strange observation I’ve made over time, is business owners seem to scare away from quantifying their objectives. Don’t scare away! Objectives are not there to catch you out, they are there to keep you driving in the one direction - and who doesn’t love achieving their objectives! If you don’t achieve your objective, ask yourself why and calculate the difference, and input your learning into your next objectives. You’ll get there in the end. Always learning, always growing.

Take a few seconds, close your eyes and ask yourself what’s the most important focus for your company right now?

Answering that question is a super way to figure out your first objective.

Step 3 - Define your customer, become your customer

Imagine a world where every human on earth was your target audience… beautiful, but sadly a wild dream and a far distance from reality. You should know your target market to the point where you could play them in a movie. You can never know your target market too well! If you don’t define your target audience, then you’re swinging in the dark and playing a game that can’t be won. Simple.

At a basic level, you want to know two key components of your target market:

Who are they? What’s their age, sex, interests?

At DigiJo, I understand my target audience to be:

  1. Either a marketer, business owner, charity or marketing enthusiast.

  2. Interested in marketing.

  3. Interested in CIM and local marketing courses.

  4. Aged 20 - 60.

  5. Either male or female.

Where are they?

Once you know your target audience’s interests, you know where to find them:

  • On Meetup.
  • On Facebook.
  • On the CIM Belfast Website, or BMC’s marketing course page.

What is sad is most people try to wing it at this stage. They feel they know their customers pretty well, and they probably do. But as a marketer, we should be in the mould of only taking measured chances, not risks 👻.

I think what’s important at this stage is to picture your perfect customer and find that person and question them. Ask them about their lives, get personal, what do they like, dislike, love and hate. Then roll this research out to all your customers via an email survey, social media questionnaire etc. You will soon understand the complexities of your customers and how they sit within groups rather than under the umbrella of ‘target audience’. Once you see and understand this, you are ready for step two of defining your customer - defining personas. Well done Jeti. Defining personas is for another day though.

Step 4 - T'is Tactically Tactic Tact Time aka SHOW TIME

You now understand why you are doing this, who you are targeting, and the direction you are going in. You are ready to get creative. The time is now. It’s show time!

As marketers, we are our own worst enemies. We love shiny new things. We are the early adapters searching for our next fix. This is great but it’s also our downfall. We will often jump on the bandwagon of a new marketing trend #InstaRush #Who’sYourData. Sadly, we must be analytical and focused. If you are marketing to an older generation, Snapchat is sadly not your medium.

You now have the research and information to make a rational approach to what types of marketing you are going to utilize. If you’re audience is girls in their 20’s with an interest in fashion, and your goal is to get more visitors to your e-commerce website selling hats, then I would suggest you advertise on Instagam 🦄.

Tip Top - We live in a digital world where email inboxes are more stuffed than turkey at Christmas. I receive around 300 - 500 emails per day. It's impossible to get through them all. On the other hand, I receive one letter per week. Remember letters - OLD SCHOOL! Well, that one letter I receive every week, I can guarantee I open it. I enjoy opening them, it allows me to scrape my eyes off the computer screen. Within the last year, I've opened every marketing letter sent to me and it's led to sales for those daring paladins. Sometimes old school works, don't be afraid to try all avenues. Don't always follow the herd, be different and do what gets you results. Once something does get you results then keep... wait that's the next stage.

Step 5: Break your objectives into targets and review them.

An objective may be the north star, but to get to your destination you are going to need a few sign posts on the way. Targets are important, they keep people motivated and on-course.

Performance anxiety… It’s horrible and we all get it in marketing. We refrain from setting targets, and telling people where we sit with those targets. It’s not a great feeling telling someone you are not performing. But guess what, from measuring your marketing tactics above, you can pinpoint why you are not hitting those targets.

Targets should be broken down by time; monthly, weekly, daily. Your reviews should reflect these targets. DigiJo’s targets break down our objectives on a monthly basis. There are 5 months left of 2017; we hoped to have 30 Meetup members by the end of July - awesome! We wanted to have a website up and running by August - awesome. We wanted to have 30 Facebook followers by the end of July - dammit. But that’s ok, I know what I need to do. I need to up my Facebook game and hopefully, this post will help.

Tip Top: Reviewing those targets is imperative to success. Daily 15-minute sprint meetings are a great way to achieve this. Ask each responsible member of your team to sum up where they are within the project in two sentences; one to explain where we are, and another to say what we are going to do. I feel this works really well. Every review is a step closer to achieving your objective - stay positive.