Ah marketing, the juggernaut that can either have you brought to tears or smiling from ear to ear. Despite its ever-evolving state, it is something that can be tamed and controlled with a better understanding of the fundamentals that drive its engine. Here I present the four critical steps to getting your marketing right so that it’s delivering the outcomes you desire. Ladies and gentlemen, please take your positions…
Step 1: Scrap your target market and start focusing on your perfect prospect.
“Who’s your target market?” I would say that 97% of the hundreds of different entrepreneurs I’ve spoken with over the years, when I ask them who they are trying to reach (target market), say something along the lines of “Female, between the ages of 25-45, etc.”
To which I usually respond with a big breath in and a mental picture of my palm hitting my forehead.
Do you think that the marketing channel used to reach the 25-year-old should be the same channel used to reach the 45-year-old?
Do you think the marketing message you communicate with the 25-year-old should be the same as the 45-year-old?
No, of course they shouldn’t be. We are bombarded every second of every day with information, offers and cat videos all trying to compete for our attention. This is why it is so important to firstly define as clearly and specifically as possible who it is you are trying to reach.
I mean this literally along the lines of: Female, 34 years old, mother of two that is looking to enter back into the workforce, lives on the Northern Beaches, spends 1 hour a day on Pinterest, enjoys yoga and catching up with her girlfriends for a drink on Sunday afternoons.
“You need to know your customer better than they know themselves.”
Now you might be thinking that your service or product could relate to more than one perfect prospect, and that is perfectly OK. You may have multiple perfect prospects. But please, no more than four.
To help you with this process, find a handful of your perfect prospects and ask them questions around their daily routine. The more specific the questions, the better. E.g. “How much time do you spend online a day?” and “What sites do you spend the most time on?”
By attaining as much granular detail on your perfect prospect this will tell you in black and white what the most effective channels are to reach your perfect prospect.
Step 2. There’s no point trying to use your car as a boat.
You may have now defined who your perfect prospect is, but if you’re not using the right vessel to reach them, you’ve just wasted your time and your money.
Now that you know who your perfect prospects is, it’s time to find out what they do. Where they spend their time, what they read, listen to, talk about, have for breakfast. Again, the more granular information you can find, the better. Then break it all down and look for the top four common trends.
These are now called your 4 Hero Marketing Channels and are to be used to reach your perfect prospect. For example (using our young mum from before) these could be:
Channel 1: Strategic Partnerships: Daycares, Yoga studios, restaurants (Sunday afternoon drinks).
Channel 2: Social Media, particularly Pinterest.
Channel 3: Google Adwords. Keywords involving geographical area ‘Northern Beaches’.
Channel 4: Email Direct Marketing. If she is looking to re-enter the workforce, she will be spending a fair amount of time writing and checking emails.
Step 3. You know I don’t speak Spanish, in English please!
You now know who specifically you are targeting and the most appropriate channels to reach them, it’s now time to make sure you are communicating the right message.
The fastest way to do this is to research other brands and businesses that are already doing a great job of marketing to your target market. Another great question to ask your perfect prospect in Step One is, “What are some brands/businesses that you really connect with?” Then go and have a look at the type of language, style and messaging they use in their marketing.
Take all of it into consideration, add your own flavor, you’re now almost ready to set sail.
Step 4. We’ve got the right the ship, the right crew, all we need now is the map.
Isn’t it amazing how much faster you can get somewhere when you have set yourself a timeframe for getting there? I have no doubt that most people could do the same amount of work in four days as they could in five days a week. Having clear, measurable timeframes and outcomes is extremely important to having a robust and sustainable marketing machine.
With this in mind, pull out a nice, clean spreadsheet, input your 4 Hero Marketing Channels down the left hand side; and timeframes (e.g. Week 1, Week 2, etc) along the top fields. Each timeframe should have a forecast and actual column. You should also include the result are you aiming for (e.g. Week 1 – establish 2 new strategic partnerships).
This is important, because you can then start to create benchmarks for your marketing, and when you have benchmarks you can start to project results and track your progress.
So, there you have it. The big marketing monster doesn’t seem as scary as you thought now does it? If you stick to these four steps when tackling your next marketing plan, I guarantee it will not only save you a lot of time and stress, but will begin to produce precise and predictable outcomes. Which from a marketing/business perspective is the holy grail.
Have I missed anything? What are the most important elements of your marketing process? Tell me in the comments!