As the official Marketing Magician for ActionCOACH (no, really. It says it on my job description), I take on the marketing strategy decisions for our firm and for many others. A comprehensive marketing plan can be filled with a ton of great strategies in print advertising, digital advertising, social media execution, direct mail, brand management and more. But more often than not, the biggest mistakes that we see happening in marketing strategy are fundamental. It’s not a percentage of print to digital advertising budget. It’s not the quality of the TV Commercials that are being produced, although that is important.
This week, we’re going to talk about these 3 marketing mistakes and go through some easy strategies to fix them.
SPEAKING TO NO ONE
Marketing is all about telling a compelling story, and it’s your job as the Business Owner to tell that story. Gurinder Chadha, Director of Bend it Like Beckham among many others said “like all kinds of storytelling, whether it’s an ad, whether it’s a documentary, whether it’s a book … a story speaks to you at a particular moment in time, it means something to you and then you express it.”
What we find most often is that marketers are telling a story that speaks to everyone. Sounds correct? Wrong. Your story should speak to someone, not everyone. Is this to say that you’re only going after one customer? Certainly not, and that would not be a great Return on Investment for your marketing campaign. But telling a story that speaks to the heart of who that person is makes it compelling. As Ms. Chadha said, speak to a moment in time. Make your message hit home. If you do, you’re on the road to success.
Let’s use an example. We’re coaches for business leaders, and I could easily introduce myself: “Hi. I’m Julie, I’m the Director of Marketing for ActionCOACH Columbus. We are business, leadership, executive and marketing coaches and we work with leaders to work less, make more, and have happier teams.” All good. But the great is what Peg does. Peg asks the room to raise their hands as high as they can in the air. Everyone typically complies. Then she asks them to raise them just a couple of inches higher. Guess what? Every person in the room easily comes up with a creative way to do that. That is exactly what a coach does. Pushes you further than you thought you could go on your own and encourages you along the way. That simple action tells a very compelling story.
NOT GETTING TO KNOW YOUR TARGET
Most people have a target market in their marketing plan. It usually includes demographics like age, income level, industry, etc. Or as I hear too often “anyone that can afford me.” But most people don’t get to know what I call the Perfect Client (or PC). We recommend 3-4 PC’s for most businesses. Your Perfect Client is much more than just a target market. Your PC is often modeled after a real person – I recommend to new marketing clients that they pick their 3 favorite customers that they love working with to start. Where is your PC in their life? What are their daily challenges? What is their story? What is on their mind as they go through their day? Let’s say you’re a home remodeler. Does your PC have a young family that is quickly turning into a bunch of teenagers? Have they owned their home for a while and are now growing tired of the layout? Do they have pets that need a space to call home? Do they love to entertain? Are they working at home now with nowhere to have privacy for a Zoom call? These are all things that you need to understand about their life. The sooner that you can tell their story, the better that you can understand their challenges.
After you’ve gotten to know your PC, tell their story. Fit your story into their challenges, and make sure they know that you’re there to solve them. Show them through your content that you’re there to guide them to a solution to those problems. Can you design a functional home office that can convert into a recreation room for the weekends? Can you expand the kitchen to accommodate all the food that you’re going to be making? As we said before, speak to the one moment in time that your PC is experiencing – if your marketing is too general you won’t hit at the heart.
MARKETING THE PROCESS
What’s the worst words we can use in marketing? You need to change. If it sounds like hard work, people will not buy it. Successful marketing shows three things about your product or service:
- It’s easy
- Someone just like me can do it
- I can do it today
If you’re marketing the 75-step process that someone has to go through to get the end result that they’re looking for, forget it. You are interested in the nitty gritty processes of your business – and you and your team should be – but a potential customer may not be. Be sure that you’re speaking their language, without a ton of technical industry terms or acronyms (unless you’re sure your PC understands it).
A much better strategy is to market the end result and work backward. Do you ever see anyone in a cruise commercial navigating online booking sites, standing in a line to get their passport, shopping for a swimsuit, fighting with their kids over what to pack, hauling their suitcases to the airport, standing in a line to board the plane, the crying baby sitting behind you on the flight, riding in an Uber to the port or checking in to your room? Not a chance. You see happy, smiling kids having a blast, parents enjoying a cocktail on a beautiful deck, and dancing the night away. Those marketers are selling the story of the end result.
A strategic, well-planned marketing strategy is worth its weight in gold, allowing your potential customers to come to you rather than you going to them. It takes time to cultivate a marketing message, but it will bear plentiful fruit for you and your business in the end.
Need help crafting a marketing strategy? Don’t have the budget for a full-time marketing employee? Is social media overwhelming you or your team? We can help. Our done-for-you marketing solutions take the guesswork (and the work!) out of marketing strategy. Contact us today for a free, no-obligation marketing analysis.