Businesses large and small are guilty of wasting precious marketing dollars. In almost every ‘wasted dollars’ scenario there is a recurring theme – the lack of a robust and considered marketing strategy that guides everything from consistency of message to targeting, tonality, presentation and expectations.
Below are outcomes of a defined marketing strategy for your business – and if embraced will save you from wasting precious marketing dollars.
Have you ever placed an advertisement or run a promotion and received little or no response in spite of having a terrific product or service offer? Well you’re not alone. ! Nine times out of ten the reason is quite simple – poor targeting or the scattergun approach. Imagine a farmer sowing seeds widely across his whole field, taking no account of whether the soil is fertile, or having furrowed the field, or which way the wind is blowing. It will come as no surprise if only some of the seeds take root and flourish.
The same applies to promoting your business and its products – you simply can’t afford to waste valuable marketing dollars- in this manner. If you haven’t decided exactly who you want to reach with your message and how best to reach them you are unlikely to succeed and very likely to waste your investment in marketing. The marketer who tries to be everything to everyone ends up being nothing to everyone.
One of the keys to marketing success is knowing your customers and to target them well. Imagine them sitting in front of you. What do they look like? What do they talk about? What are they saying? What are their opinions? What influences them? Whose opinion do they value? And so on. By considering their mindset you have a better knowledge of what really motivates their decision making when it comes to buying your products or services. This is called Motivational Segmentation. This segmentation process assists with targeting because the better you understand what motivates your target audience, the more likely you are to strike a chord with them.
Every successful business and marketer has a deep and insightful understanding of the market they operate in and carefully segment that market. Here is an example of how motivational segmentation could drive a business. Nearly every shopping centre in Australia has an optometrist. But how do they differentiate themselves – other than the name of the company, chain or proprietor? Rather than, for example, talking to everyone who wears prescription glasses, you might segment down to people who are more motivated by how they look rather than how they see. Further motivational segmentation might allow you to target fashion conscious women in a certain age group (rather than men and women or all women).
Now that you have a specific target audience in mind, you can really start to get into their mind – with motivational segmentation – and ‘bring this customer to life’. You can imagine what kind of brands they admire and align with. What your store should look like as a result. What kind of sales people you need (and how they dress and present themselves). You could also now work with other marketers outside your category to present ‘bundled offers’ such as a makeover from the beauty shop when you buy a pair of X brand frames, for example.
Now imagine what your marketing dollars can do and how you’ll be able to decide where and when to invest them. Spring fashion season creates a whole new selling opportunity in this scenario when you have this kind of segmentation analysis sitting inside your Marketing Strategy plans.
Segmentation allows your company to ‘tailor your offer’ in order to become differentiated, more meaningful and relevant to a discreet section (or sections) of the total market. Having defined very clearly the benefits of targeting segments that you understand and want to communicate with, you’ll be investing marketing dollars and not wasting them.
Now let’s explore another area that is also very wasteful in terms of marketing dollars. Not surprisingly, many companies who operate without a marketing strategy use their marketing communications (that can mean anything from answering the phone to brochure presentation, from web site to direct mail, from advertising to sales presentations) as some kind of very expensive market research testing process. As a consequence there is no consistency of message. There is no consistency of tonality or look and a lack of consistency in ‘customer benefits’ communicated. All in all there is a lack of consistency for your overall brand. Customers are more likely to buy from you when they have a feeling of comfort from the messages and signals you send them.Brands are like people. A brand needs to be liked and welcomed. It needs to be understood. It needs to be trusted. And the key to understanding and trust is consistency. In marketing this consistency is conveyed in what you say, how you say it, where you say it and in presentation (typography, brand colour palettes, tonality).
Consistency and repetition are the hallmarks of brands and companies. Those who build trust from their customers will have them coming back time and time again. This is because they consistently deliver, and as an outcome, their customers trust them. They are not one thing one day and another thing another day. Repetition builds reputation.