Recently while a guest on Small Biz Radio here in St Louis the hosts asked me for the most common mistakes businesses make in marketing. What are the most common strengths or weaknesses in executing a marketing plan – what constitutes a good marketing plan?
We went into detail on this on the program and came out with 6 key points – I have summarized them below for you.
Note: A week after being on this radio program a friend of mine posted a great article about making marketing awesome. His blog made me think of that conversation on the radio and how important these 6 basic points are. Really it inspired me to write this down and share it with you. If you read his article by clicking the link and then read my article here you will likely be fired up and ready to create some awesome marketing. That’s my goal – you all fired up.
When we say research we really mean it. This step is often overlooked or is done incorrectly – for example researching only what the business thinks it needs versus what clients and potential customers thinks it needs. Research really means looking. Lots of looking. Look some more. Look and see what is there. Not what you think is there or what you want to be there but what is actually there. Then, look some more. The brightest ideas come from looking and observing and digging up information and looking some more.
Marketing research does not mean looking into the best ways to use up a budget that has been allocated for marketing for the year. Research does not mean deciding which advertisers one will go with. That is the planning phase – it comes after research. Decisions to execute on advertising or to put in place actions in a company, made too soon and without data, can be more destructive to a business than changing nothing.
Okay, research is done. Good. Now, keep it simple. There is so much you could do. Like, tons, a lot. Just look at social media – you could tweet and pin and post and like and comment and share and on and on. Suddenly lots of busyness is happening but no measurable result. Simplicity means picking the highest level, largest impact items to focus on and doing them well. It might be as simple as a receptionist that makes every customer feel like a million bucks. Or actually attending that Chamber of Commerce meeting you have been meaning to go to. The impact of marketing and advertising – whether online or off – is magnified by the real world actions a business takes in building it’s brand.
Okay – this one can be tough. It goes hand in glove with point 2. Focus on your plan and get it done. Don’t allow other last minute “bright ideas” to cloud your focus. Or the focus of your employees. If a bright idea comes along that isn’t planned take a look back at your action plan. There is a small chance that you or your marketing person have executed so well on your plan, on all your steps of your marketing action plan, that there is in fact time to test a new bright idea! Typically not. But, if there is, go ahead and have fun with it. You deserve it.
Alright – execution. This point is actually very easy to miss. It seems like the marketing isn’t working – a plan was made and it was simple and your marketing person says things are rolling but one doesn’t see the results. This can be very discouraging.
Take a look at what is actually happening – is the execution actually taking place? I have heard tell that a plan wasn’t getting results only to factually discover that 90% of the plan was not being done – not a complicated plan either. It simply was not being done and the owner was being told it wasn’t working. Before you abandon ship do an inspection into your execution and get things on track.
What’s working? Monitoring key statistics in an office are important in marketing. This includes the easy ones to miss like incoming calls and inquiries via the internet. Plans that are working can be abandoned solely because sales didn’t increase. Often in this case other problems exist preventing sales from occurring – the leads are coming in but they are being mishandled. This is normal – fix the mishandling, continue the marketing and watch the statistics rise.
Of course there are times it simply didn’t work. Recognizing this and changing a tactic while strengthening the areas that did work is vital. Chad Lane has a great marketing checklist for seeing what’s working. You could simply use that for testing.
Keep it up! Keep doing what is working.
Change management is a beast. The employee (or owner, cough cough) who is so used to doing things the same old way can be a problem that must be addressed. The external marketing efforts are rolling but no internal change has taken place. Consistency in your marketing means doing the plan across the board – and continuing to do that plan. Any good marketing plan contains internal actions too – things the owner and employees must do for success to occur.
Well, there you have it. the 6 points where one can misstep or succeed in executing their marketing. If you’re interested in a free marketing mini program you can visit my company site, Worry Free Consulting, and fill out our free marketing analysis. We will give you ways to increase your marketing effectiveness right now.