Google is the most popular search engine out there and they offer great resources for developers and marketers, so we’re going to use Google as our search engine example.
Welcome to our new article series. Don’t worry, this one is information only – no homework! Well, that is true if you actually did do your homework last time and wrote your marketing plan. Why? Because a great SEO program needs a lot of the information you complied in your plan.
Welcome to the final edition of our Marketing series. Over these past months, we’ve dedicated each newsletter to one component of a Marketing Plan, and how you can do the research and strategizing needed to develop a plan for your company. In this last installment, we’ll summarize some highlights and provide links to the related article for each component.
The most common theme throughout the development of a Marketing Plan is knowing everything you can dig up about your customers. That information helps you think the way they think, so you can meet their expectations in every facet of your business operations.
Generally speaking, advertising is any form of promotion where you pay to display content at a particular venue. In this article, we’ll discuss the different kinds of advertising and the best methods to use for different types of companies, products, services and audiences.
Effective advertising has three objectives:
- Getting the ad in front of your target market;
- Garnering the attention of your target market; and,
- Making a persuasive call to action.
Let’s look first at each of these separately.
Over the past months, we’ve looked at six different marketing topics that will become components of your Marketing Plan. This month, we’re going to talk about the steps in devising your marketing strategy.As you’ve no doubt gathered by now in this series, the differences between different areas of marketing can be rather subtle. So, perhaps the best way to explain how Public Relations differs from Reputation Management or Customer Relations, is with some examples.
Setting objectives for your marketing plan is all about math. Considering your business model, overall business objectives, and customer purchasing data, think about what you need to accomplish with your marketing. If 50% of your existing customers spent an additional $10 a month, would you reach your business objectives? Would a 25% increase in your customer base be sufficient, or do you need to double it? Is there a sufficient population of your target market in the geographic area you currently serve or do you need to expand? When you’ve done your research and calculated the various options, your objectives should be stated as precisely as possible, and in measureable terms. For example:Over the next three years, we will increase our customer base by 25%, bringing in 500 new customers.In each of the next three years, we will increase the average sales per customer, per month by 10% to a total of $60.By June 2019, 20% of our customers will be in the United States.
In the digital world, public relations has become more important than ever before. Why? Because even if your customers are happy, upsetting the “Internet” or the “Twitterverse” can have devastating repercussions. Making your brand and good reputation known well beyond your customer group can help protect you from the trolls, as well as increasing awareness to grow your customer base.
As you’ve no doubt gathered by now in this series, the differences between different areas of marketing can be rather subtle. So, perhaps the best way to explain how Public Relations differs from Reputation Management or Customer Relations, is with some examples.
The term “Customer Relations” pretty much says what it means – it’s how you interact with your customers and the quality of the relationship that forms as a result. The secret here is viewing your customers as friends. That means listening as well as talking, being fair, staying in touch, living up to your good reputation, and not taking advantage. If you are good to them, your friends will support you, and not just in terms of sales. Here are three principles to guide your Customer Relations policies and procedures.
While your brand is something that you create, your reputation is what others really think of you, and “others” are fickle creatures ready to pounce in cat-like fashion. Your company’s good reputation is essential to success and can be ripped from you in the most unexpected of ways. Remember the guy who kicked the dog in the elevator and lost his job as CEO? Or the Olympic swimmer who exaggerated a drunken encounter with a police officer in Rio? He lost four sponsorship deals.
The power of the internet is a double edged sword that can make you or break you. As the examples of poor research, poor behaviour, poor customer service, etc. explode, pundits are cautioning that reputation management needs to become reputation development and reputation marketing.
The brand of your company has the same meaning to consumers that your character or personality has to your family and friends. Your logo is like your face. When someone sees your face, they recognize who you are, and they expect you to behave in the way that you always have before. Odd or uncharacteristic behaviour will be surprising and potentially off-putting or even offensive. That’s when your friends start to avoid you. In similar fashion, if your brand doesn’t live up to expectations, you’re going to lose customers.
So although your brand is much more than a logo, your “visual identity” is an important aspect. Most visual identities are comprised of either:
- an icon and stylized name presentation, such as ours;
- a stylized name presentation only, such as the one we created for Lori Johnson Photography; or,
- an integrated icon and stylized presentation, like the one we did for Western Locksmith Supply.
You already know what you have to sell, but do you understand what your customers are buying? Do you know who they are, why they want what you have, how they make the decision to buy from you?
One of the most basic premises of marketing is matching – matching what you have to sell with customers who want buy. That means that you have to understand your customer base, and the segments within it, so you can tailor your marketing plan to find new customers like them, appeal to them, and convince them to buy from you.
Let’s look at a few basic demographics first. You can download your own worksheet here. In the first column, list your products or services. You can add up to 20, so group items together if that makes sense. For example, if you sell auto parts, you’re not going to list each individual part, so use groups like engine parts, wipers and exterior products, etc.
Then, for each item or group, put an x in the column that best represents the age groups of customers who purchase that item, and in the last column, enter an m or f to show whether more buyers are male or female. If you really have no sense of your customers’ ages or gender, best to figure out a way to find out. Could you take a guess based on names in your database? Ask your front line staff what they think? Keep track for a few weeks and estimate on that info?
Here’s an example based on our business.