As I wrote in our previous blog, a solid marketing strategy is the only way to properly focus your resources on achieving your business goals. Once you've developed a marketing strategy, there’s no need to feel like the canary in a coal mine when it comes time to implement. Marketing is a big investment into the future of your business. It only makes sense to learn from others and approach marketing with a learning mindset to avoid common pitfalls and take advantage of opportunities on your way to success.
Establish your value
You know everything there is to know about the product or service you're selling. You know the advantages and what makes it unique. You know its value. Now you need to convince your audience of the same. How is what you’re selling different from what your competitors are offering? Is there value in the differences between your product/service and a competitor's? Or is there value in the difference between the way your business operates and theirs?
One common mistake we can learn from is not formally establishing your unique value. This might come from your overall brand development, defining a unique selling proposition, or digging into your dangers, opportunities, and strengths. However you get there, it's important to define your strengths and differentiators. This information becomes a key part of your marketing strategy.
Know your audience
How well do you know your customers? Do they believe in your product or service as much as you do? Are you in tune with their needs? How many of them are repeat customers?
It's too easy to just assume your audience, but it is unwise to do so. Marketing to an audience is like trying to hit a target. The better understanding of your audience you have, the better your chances. When we replace understanding with assumptions, we lower our chances of success (and even if we are successful, we aren't sure which assumptions were correct and why so it becomes harder and harder to replicate). Replacing understanding with assuming is the antithesis of a learning mindset.
As you build an understanding of your audience, backed by good research and the data it provides, you should formalize it to ensure everyone within your organization can be brought onto the same page. These two examples are just two of the ways you can do this:
Audience personas. These define a certain "type" of client or customer (who they are, what's important to them, the best ways to engage them) provide necessary direction and aid in hitting the target consistently.
Customer journey mapping. This comes in handy as it tells the story of the customer experience, putting you in their shoes. Customer journey mapping can pinpoint when messaging needs to be refined or tweaked to make sure your campaign is speaking to the right people at the right time.
Adopt a learning mindset
You can gather as much data as possible before you engage in any marketing and learn from the common mistakes others make, but it's important to understand that doing is also learning. As much as a digital advertising campaign (for example) can achieve some specific goals (increased traffic, sales, engagement, etc.), it also provides valuable data that you can apply to your next campaign or use to better your understanding of your audience. A learning mindset isn't just about what you learn before you jump in. It's about learning everything you can from the work you're doing.
In this sense, even campaigns that do not perform to expectations should not be considered failures or mistakes. They are learning opportunities that help you improve your next campaign. The only mistake would be in learning nothing. So learn from those who have learned nothing.
A/B testing, where you create two different pieces of collateral (digital ads, for example) and roll them out simultaneously to compare their performance and gain insights for future campaigns, is a great example of this mindset in action.
Assemble the best, expect the best
Remember when the “The Avengers” first came together? It was a great moment when all the heroes united to fight one common enemy. A marketing team may not possess superhuman abilities (though that does sound nice), but they are essential in promoting your business and its mission. If you invest in remarkable people, great things will follow. The right marketing team brings a wealth of marketing knowledge to showcase your business and your brand in the best possible light to new and existing customers.
The biggest mistake (one which can lead to many others) that some make is viewing marketing as an expense, not an investment. This kind of thinking can cost a business growth opportunities (among much else). Instead, learn from it and do the opposite. As Henry Ford said:
"A man who stops advertising to save money is like a man who stops a clock to save time."
Advertising is just one part of marketing, but Ford's words apply to the whole. View marketing as an investment and invest in the right team. As your marketing helps you achieve your business goals over time, the investment will have been more than worth it.
In-house, outside the box
Trying to get started in marketing your business can be intimidating. There's a lot to learn and success requires a lot of time, resources, and having the right people in the right place. Fortunately, we can help. Our client retainer model allows business owners to scale up a fully-equipped marketing team at once. We operate as your in-house marketing department to ensure that working together to achieve your business goals feels easy and natural. It’s a different way of doing things but it works for us. More importantly, it works for our clients. Connect with us to learn more.