There’s far more to marketing than crafting whizz-bang websites and funky flyers. Crafting persuasive materials is important, don’t get me wrong. But savvy marketers follow well-thought-out creative methodologies designed to achieve marketing success – helping them to reach the right people, in the right places, and get the best possible return on their investment.
Today, we’re going to run through a very basic, practical marketing approach designed to help beginner marketers get in on the ground floor. But let’s cover some basics first…
What Does Marketing Involve?
Marketing isn’t just a case of merely creating and deploying promotional deliverables. A surprisingly large chunk of your marketing brainpower should go towards analysing results from older marketing efforts and strategically tweaking future campaigns in line with your results. Marketing is a cyclical process that looks something like this:
- Market and competitor research
- Create and deploy your campaign
- Measure the campaign’s reception and success
- Analyse the data and learn how to improve future campaigns
- Amend your marketing plans to incorporate new data and lessons learned
- Then repeat!
Today, we’re elaborating on this basic flow – paying special focus to the research and strategy elements – to help marketing newbies start a meaningful promotional journey.
A Simple, 6-Step Marketing Methodology
1. Why is Your Business Special?
First, we need to define what makes your business the best in the market. But leave shallow statements like “we’ve been doing it for 20 years!” at the door – we need to dig much deeper to find what really sets you apart.
The 7 P’s of marketing (also known as the “extended marketing mix”) is a great way of establishing where you currently have a competitive edge. Consider how you compete on each of the following aspects of your business:
- Product: Compared to the standards of the wider market, how good is the product or deliverable that your company provides? Does it do anything unique or approach a problem in a different way?
- Price: How expensive is your product or service compared to your competitors? Are buyers particularly price-sensitive in your market? Or are they more open to spending a little more to get more out?
- Place: Is there anything individual about your geographical location? Are you the only provider who serves a set area? Do your competitors serve the exact same locations that you do?
- Promotion: How do you promote your company? Is there anything unique about the way you unearth new prospects? Does the way you advertise yourself give you an edge over the competition?
- People: How does your team make your company special? How do they compare with staff at competing companies? Do they have any unique training or experience that helps provide something completely singular within your market?
- Processes: How do your internal systems differ from your competition? Do you have a more efficient or uniquely beneficial way of doing things that has a positive knock-on effect for your customer?
- Physical Evidence: What unique evidence do you have to back up that you’re good at what you do? Do you have a portfolio? A collection of glowing testimonials? Tons of returning custom?
Be sure to maintain an awareness of where your competitors score on these factors too (to the best of your ability at least!).
2. Determine Your Average Customer
Next, you need to determine the general characteristics of your average customer. You’ll probably have a good idea of who you serve, what with, and why if you’ve been in business for a while, but it can still be worthwhile to question whether your general ideas and assumptions are correct. If you’re a newbie, this step may involve a lot of guesswork, but a touch of market research can go a long way.
Think about your product from the customer’s point of view. What outcomes do you help them achieve? What needs and problems do you help them resolve? Why does the customer want this issue off their plate – especially in the way that you offer? What demographics apply to your customer? Where are they based, geographically? Do you sell to businesses or private individuals – or both?
Is your offer tied to a set time of year, a time in the customer’s life, or some other kind of time-related factor in any way? How do your customers find out about products or services in your field? Where do they look for information related to the solutions that you provide? What do they consider when making buying decisions related to your offering?
3. Establish Your Value Proposition
Now you know a little more about your customer, it’s time to consider how your solution provides value – your value proposition. The Value Proposition Canvas from Strategyzer is an excellent way of directly tying your customer’s pain points to your company’s individual offering.
If you’re unsure about what your customers’ pain points are and what outcomes they’d like to achieve by working with you, you probably need to do some research. This can be as simple as analysing reviews for companies in your field, or as complex as reaching out to end-users through surveys, polls, and focus groups. If you have customers you are particularly friendly with, reach out to them and have a chat!
Working with the Value Proposition Canvas should help you focus on the positive effect you have on your average customer’s life. Remember that in a lot of cases, you’re selling how your offering makes people feel and the problems you help people solve rather than the direct upshot of their purchase.
4. Start Your Marketing Campaign
By now you should have some level of clarity about who you’re targeting, what you have to offer them, and why that’s beneficial to them. So now it’s time to start making your marketing plans and campaigns a reality.
Whether you choose to create and deploy your marketing in house or collaborate with an agency, your preparations will stand you in good stead. Using the information you’ve collected above about your audience and their needs can really help you craft persuasive, benefit-driven marketing with meaningful action points.
There’s far more to creating marketing materials than we can go into in one blog post, so we encourage you to carry out your own research, especially on the following topics:
- Copywriting – The practice of writing persuasively and encouraging customer action with words.
- Graphic Design – The art of visually communicating brands and ideas.
- Calls to Action – The part of marketing materials that actively encourage users to take action. “Click here” or “Call today” are examples of simple CTAs.
…and of course, check out other blog posts here on the Yell Knowledge Centre blog!
Great marketing isn’t just persuasive – it’s measurable too. Consider what you’d like to achieve using SMART goals and establish how you’re going to measure your campaign’s effectiveness. If you’re going the digital route, this may be as simple as setting up goals and conversions within Google Analytics. If you’re working with printed materials, you could include a voucher code or money-off coupon so you can count how many interested parties redeemed the offer and calculate your return on investment.
If you’ve not measured your marketing efforts before, you could start by tweaking your usual marketing methods to make them measurable, therefore enabling you to test them for effectiveness. However, you decide to tackle it, remember that the goal here is to build meaningful data about what marketing works for you and what doesn’t.
5. Learn From Your Campaign’s Performance
As in all areas of business, measuring your success (or indeed lack thereof) is essential. Schedule in time after every marketing endeavour to analyse how well it performed against your SMART goals and use that information to hone and perfect future campaigns.
Always listen to the data – it may reveal surprising opportunities or disprove long-held beliefs about your customers’ preferences! This way, you can focus your time, money, and energy on doing things that work well and ditch the things that don’t.
6. Rinse & Repeat
Once you’ve established what worked well in your campaign, you can build on those elements in future marketing efforts. If you uncovered something that didn’t work so well, you know not to replicate it in future, or at least to try something different in its place.
Note that you won’t need to repeat steps 1 to 3 with every iteration unless you need a significant change of direction. But revisiting the first three steps from time to time can’t hurt!
Marketing is a very iterative process that you carry out again and again, getting better every time – you can’t achieve this without learning from your past mistakes and successes.New to #marketing? Check out this simple #marketingmethodology to help you on your way... Click To Tweet
And that’s that! Hopefully, you found this marketing methodology easy to follow and that it helps you achieve promotional success. Give it a whirl and let us know how you get on down in the comments!