“Marketing just doesn’t work.” That’s an all too common lament among independent business owners. Unfortunately, they have a basis for this erroneous belief. Typically these individuals have been promised astronomical returns by well-intentioned, and the occasional not so well-intentioned, marketer or salesmen, offering them the latest and greatest marketing tool at a steep cost. But instead of increased leads or sales, all the business owner was left with was empty returns and an empty marketing budget.
But is the issue really about marketing? Marketing is a tool, and a tool is only efficient when it is applied properly. The misapplication of a hammer would lead someone to believe hammers don’t work. For tools to be useful there must be clear vision of the finished product, there needs to be a blueprint. Marketing tools are no different. Each marketing tool must contribute to the overall objective in the blueprint for success.
Upon closer examination of some independent business owners’ failed forays into marketing, particularly social media marketing, a pattern tends to emerge.
- The business owners hired someone in-house, like a marketing associate, an intern, or even their own kid, to handle their social media with the belief that as long as they’re doing something then it is enough.
- The business owners are managing the social media themselves.
- The business owners still have social media on their list of “things I need to figure out and do”.
The failure of the third scenario is self-evident. The first two scenarios generally end in failure for the same reason. Their social media postings are sporadic at best or absent at the worst. When there are postings, they lack a defined strategy and devolve into a messy, unfocused smattering of articles and memes that do nothing for the company’s brand or positioning. This tends to be mirrored in their other marketing, including their search engine optimization, their pay-per-click advertising and their e-mail marketing, etc.
The other failure in marketing can be seen in over-segmentation of marketing outsources. In construction, it’s a common practice to use subcontractors to complete the structure. Each subcontractor follows the same blueprint so each knows their role and what the outcome should be. Independent business owners often subcontract their marketing as well. A company may be paying one company to manage their search engine optimization, paying another company to manage their pay-per-click campaigns, a third company just created their website for thousands of dollars, and a fourth company is managing their social media. Yet another is handling a direct mail advertising campaign. With all these hands in the pot, where is the seamless integration? Without an established blueprint that defines tactics, strategies, follow-up and quantification, this company is hemorrhaging marketing dollars. They have no strategy. They have no plan. When they have no results they cry out, “Marketing doesn’t work!” In reality, what they’ve lacked is an architect, a marketing integration strategist, to establish their blueprint for success and show them how a marketing structure is built.
Here are four steps for setting the foundation for a successful marketing structure blueprint:
- Begin with the end in mind. Meaning, know what it is you want to accomplish and be specific. This could be increasing traffic to your website, increasing relevant leads or increasing user engagement in social media channels.
- Know your tools. Marketing products are just tools, and each has a specific function. Use the marketing tools at your disposal for their best use.
- Create a strategy for each tool that will achieve a specific goal that will result in your planned outcome.
- Execute the blueprint.
Building a marketing structure by using, and sticking to, a well-prepared blueprint will make marketing campaigns targeted with laser point precision, contribute to business development and growth, and will be a potent remedy to the “marketing doesn’t work” blues.
About the Author: Janelle Page
Janelle Page is the Founder and CEO of KickFire Marketing and has been the architect of successful and strategic, laser beam focused marketing campaigns for businesses large and small for over a decade.
Janelle is a highly sought after marketing consultant and a popular speaker. She travels nationwide teaching marketing bootcamps to business owners and is regularly featured in industry magazines and the press for her business acumen and marketing expertise. Visit http://www.kick-fire.com to learn more about creating an effective marketing blueprint.