This year brings new opportunities for marketers with the increasing use of social media strategy and a thriving digital community as part of our marketer’s toolbox. Innovation in the way we reach consumers and deliver messages means that companies have more ways to breathe life into their brands. When you create experiences that connect the consumer to the brand, brand advocates rise to champion your brand, creating powerful social proof. Brands have opportunities to launch effective marketing campaigns if strategically planned, so it’s important to follow these marketing truisms:
Branding is more important than ever now that businesses have so many channels to reach customers through. If you go to the effort of a social media campaign, you want customers to recognize the same branding on your website and print materials. This maximizes the brand equity you build in one channel by the carryover effect into other channels of brand recognition. If you don’t have consistent branding across all of your platforms, you’re not maximizing the amount of brand equity and goodwill you could be generating with each marketing effort.
2. Measure What You Create
Measurement is the key to understanding what’s working and what’s not working. This can help you understand what is most cost effective and figure out what your opportunity costs are. If you don’t stop to analyze your marketing efforts, you risk repeating the same mistakes over and over again. Not only would that be damaging to your business, but it’s a waste of money and time. If you’re going to go to the effort of marketing, you may as well at least do it right. Sticking your finger up in the air to casually check the temperature doesn’t count. It’s important to know what the objectives of marketing implementations are to know how to best measure the success.
3. Price Will Not Differentiate Your Brand
While sales promotion efforts can help invigorate sales, it’s important not to fall into a trap of favoring sales promotions over other media advertising. Sales promotions that only focus on price don’t build brand equity and can compromise the long term viability of a brand. When the only thing differentiating your product or service is the price, your brand is completely vulnerable, because anyone can beat price. Focus on what differentiates your product or service that is unique and sustainable.
4. Evolve, Innovate, or Be Eaten
Even if your product is extremely successful, times change. If you don’t keep track of changing technologies and adapt to the new ways that people live, communicate and learn, then you may miss crucial business opportunities that are necessary for your business’s longevity. Stubbornly sticking to what’s worked in the past can be a deathly move, as evidenced by the fall of photography giant Kodak. They were so sure that digital photography wouldn’t take over film photography. What could you be saying that echoes these sentiments and is steering your company right toward the grave? You probably want to make sure you are informed and aware of new technologies and trends-on a regular basis.
5. Treat Customer Service like a Good Marriage
While it may be tempting to jump on opportunities to sell to a customer, think about the customer in terms of lifetime value. Is this the best way to handle their problems? What are they looking to get out this relationship? How can you partner with them to creatively solve their problems in the long run instead of just getting them to cough up some dollars in the near future? Remember that it’s more expensive to acquire new customers than it is to keep your existing ones. Think about how you can serve a customer over a lifetime instead of how you can increase your sales dollars in the next week. In the long run, your customers will be happier and your company will be better positioned for long term success.
6. Play Nice
When money is short, everyone gets hungry, and this can turn into hangry (hungry+angry) departments, resulting in departmental competitiveness syndrome within your company. People start trying to ensure money stays within their department and this leads to a general lack of team unity. When the times get tough, your company needs to unite to work together to best utilize resources and collectively stay on top of your game.
7. Be True to Your Values
When you outlined your company’s values and mission statement, it was probably an exciting time full of opportunity. It’s always easier to talk about your values in the light of good times, but what’s more important is to act on your values in the rough times. Consumers are demanding increased transparency, and with social media, they’re holding companies more accountable than ever before. In today’s digital age where anyone can be a whistleblower and customers can rally together to fight injustices within business, your business cannot afford to abandon its values one iota.
8. Live Your Mission
It’s easy to get caught up in the day-to-day flurry of tasks, especially if you don’t have a clear idea of what your mission is for 2013. Plan and strategize so that you can use your time most effectively. Think about work as one long essay. Your mission should be your thesis. With everything you do, you should check to make sure your work is congruent with the thesis. This means checking to make sure what you’re doing is in line with furthering your goals and will help you accomplish what you set out to do. This will keep you from getting off task and wasting your time on tangential rambles that will get deleted from the final draft in the end and represent wasted time.
9. Find Synergy
In order to be most effective at getting new leads and converting these leads to sales, marketing and sales has to be united. Failing to work together can mean wasted opportunity, cold leads that aren’t ready to be converted, animosity between groups, and failed business opportunities. Want to learn more about how to merge your marketing and sales? Read this infographic for steps to marketing and sales bliss.
10. Create a Powerful Ecosystem
Everybody’s jumping into social media, so hurry up and create our Facebook Brand Page! While we are advocates of the use of social media to help brands spread awareness, find brand loyalists, create conversations and connect with customers, we want to remind businesses that having social media channels is just one aspect of an overall marketing strategy. Your social media presence must always tie back to your website, that is where you control your brand’s identity and make the final connection to customers that is necessary to make a sale. If you go to all the work of generating leads on social media and then the leads visit a weak website, this can hurt your credibility. A website that’s outdated signals to customers that you’re not up on the latest technology. What does this say if your product has anything to do with technology or innovation? Tisk tisk.
What are your marketing truisms for 2013?