Those of you who follow me know how passionate I am about smart marketing techniques that help small and mid-size companies grow. I am constantly consuming books, articles and blogs about the art and science of marketing – not only to feed my “obsession,” but to sharpen my skills in order to provide maximum value to my clients.
I recently came across a refreshing book entitled “Marketing in the Trenches.” Author Chris Ciunci offers a pragmatic and completely accurate approach to marketing in today’s world.
You won’t find tips on how to launch an email campaign or advice about which digital or traditional marketing tactics he favors. That’s because Ciunci focuses on the importance of getting to the heart of your business in order to achieve your potential for growth. He goes on to explain that successful marketing cannot solely be realized by the marketing department alone. Marketing is everyone’s job – and when companies embrace and implement this mindset, that’s when the magic happens.
Imagine operating your business so that every single employee has an investment in the company’s goals and results! A perfect example would be when marketing and sales work as one. The sales team, literally the group in the trenches with the most client face-time, communicates with marketing to let them know your customers’ pain points. Marketing then works in tandem with sales to create communication pieces and collateral that speaks perfectly to those customer needs.
The book is a fun and easy read, organized in list-form with each chapter digging into one of Chris’s top marketing tips. There are 25 tips in all – way too many to cover in this blog post. But I’ve managed to whittle down the list to five of my favorites:
1. Start with a detailed marketing plan. The book offers this staggering fact about planning: “Studies show that marketers who have formalized marketing plans achieve their goals more efficiently and more cost-effectively than those who do not.” At Hype, we always start new client projects by establishing a clear understanding of the client’s business, solidifying their overall goals and defining top priorities. Only then can we begin thinking about strategy – the approach we will take to achieving those goals. This critical upfront work leads to a smart marketing plan that will inform all of your marketing decisions.
2. Know your customer. Arguably, this is the most critical piece of information that we as marketers and business owners must know. We can’t do a bang up job of marketing without a clear target market. So a key aspect of any marketing plan involves a deep dive into your customer or customer segments. Often, we create customer personas that go beyond simple demographics. We ask questions like: How do your customers buy from you? What’s the best way to reach them? We paint a detailed picture so that we can accurately determine who they are and how to reach them on their terms.
3. Tell a compelling story. At this point we have the bones to create a smart marketing plan for your business. But before we start talking tactics we need to make sure you’ve got a compelling brand story. This is literally the story of what makes your business different from your competitors, and the importance of crafting just the right message cannot be overstated. Ironically, success in today’s digital world depends on showing the human side of your company. Hiring a professional to write content that will resonate with your target audience is one of the most critical marketing investments you can make.
4. Execution, execution, execution. Once you have a solid plan in place, it’s time to hit go. This should be fairly easy if you’ve done your homework, but businesses often get bogged down in designing the perfect plan – only to see that plan sit around collecting dust. I’m a perfectionist by nature, so trust me when I say that you won’t be able to course correct and improve your plan unless you actually launch it.
5. Measure everything you market. You’ve spent time and energy creating and executing your plan. Now it’s time to measure every aspect of it. Know which lead generation campaigns are bringing in customers. Track which activities are starting conversations. Without taking the time to measure, you can’t possibly understand what’s working and what’s not. Companies that study their campaigns have a better chance of predicting future success and can continually adjust and build their efforts. That’s what I call smart marketing!
Need help getting your marketing plan off the ground? We’re ready to get in the trenches with you and develop a smart marketing plan to help you grow!