Hi. Who are you? 6 Steps to figuring it out.
As I think about breaking successful marketing down to its most basic elements, the playful Antonio Carlos Jobim song One Note Samba comes to mind. Follow the steps below and your marketing will also become much easier and more fun. Enjoy Ella Fitzgerald’s sunny interpretation accompanied by great musicians including Zoot Simms on sax, Clark Terry on trumpet, Toots Thielemans on harmonica and Joe Pass on guitar.
In my last post I brought up the unfortunate fact that businesses are embracing social media, blogs, online activities, without visiting the ABC’s of sound marketing communications. It’s easy to get swept up in the marketing tools of the moment. Facebook. Twitter. Search engine optimization. You’ve gotta be there.
Whoa!! Put on the brakes!! I am very concerned that marketing basics are being ignored as companies embrace the Web – to the detriment of results.
This post addresses the questions in the first outline topic from my last post. Subsequent posts will address the other outline points.
Who are your audiences?
This is a question that many organizations don’t pay enough attention to. Years ago I made it the topic of a column for Internet.com and it’s still fresh today. Many companies identify their key audiences too narrowly — customers and prospects. Those are key audiences and for the Web you also need to give thought to them as Buyer Personae with specific characteristics and qualities that you can speak to/interact with.
In reality, the list can be much longer. This has never been truer than it is in today’s Web 2.0 world where you never know how business may come your way. Widen out your thinking to consider other audiences you might want to access/be accessible to: referrers/trusted advisors, friends and families, competitors (mergers and acquisitions anyone?), offline and online media outlets (especially influential bloggers), industry experts, funding organizations – and please don’t forget search engines!! Which other ones can you come up with?
What are your key messages?
If you take the time to identify the most important things audiences need to know to encourage them to interact with your company, it makes all of your communications much easier. These key messages may not be the ones you think of in-house. What you believe is important may have nothing to do with what will turn your audiences on. And the messages will certainly be different for various audiences. Here’s where surveys and good old fashioned one-to-one interviews or focus groups can play a critical role. Keep in mind that messaging can and should change with the changing times. For example if you market for a healthy, community bank that didn’t need to take TARP funds, you’d have done well to develop and communicate messages to this effect to keep existing clients and attract new ones in the banking emergency. So make key messaging an ongoing part of your marketing efforts.
How are you positioned relative to the competition and the marketplace as a whole?
If we stick with the example of the healthy community bank, above, it’s easy to see that, post-economic-meltdown, it had a terrific opportunity to increase its marketshare by recognizing and communicating its market positioning. “Our bank behaved independently and responsibly in support of our stated commitment to traditional fiscal values and our community. As a result, we continue to grow in our ability to provide the services you need.” That would likely attract some new depositors!
Understanding who we are, what we provide, how it compares with competitive offerings and how we meet the needs of our market is at the core of taking advantage of the evolving business scene.
Do you have a recognizable brand identity/personality and do you employ it consistently throughout your communications?
This one’s simple. If you haven’t already, invest in a strong visual symbol of your company. Or take a hard look at your existing logo and assess whether it’s time for an update. Use a professional designer who specializes in corporate identity. Be sure to view the designer’s portfolio to see if he or she has created logos for any companies you’re familiar with or in your industry.
In general it’s less costly to create a typeface treatment of your company name than a separate symbol. Just the process involved in logo development can help you in your thinking about the points discussed earlier. It’s a good idea to establish some standards for how the identity will be used in various applications – print, the Web, etc. – notwithstanding the playful way that Google alters its logo on a consistent basis. They’re a unique case.
Do you have clear marketing objectives?
If not, answering these basic questions will help you see the possibilities for growing the business much more clearly. If you’ve already sat down to decide where you’re going, revisiting the basics will help you get there more quickly and more surely.
Revisit the above periodically.
I’m not just dishing out advice here. This act of thinking again about the marketing ABC’s has been as helpful to me as I hope it is to you. What do you include in your marketing basics?