I ran across an interesting tidbit today that supports ISDG’s strategy of Captivate your audience, Communicate your message, and Cultivate new relationships.
I like to read Jeffery Gittomer’s Sales Caffeine e-newsletters (www.gitomer.com). They’re entertaining and contain useful information to remind us of what’s important and evolving in the sales arena. In today’s issue, one of his team members wrote the following:
Do you know how to instantly captivate your customer? It’s not about being “the best.”
In any competitive environment, being the best is not enough… if nobody notices or cares.
Watch the 2 minute video to learn why captivating your audience’s attention is the required first step to building lasting relationships that will contribute to your bottom line.
After completing a SWOT Analysis, the next step is to plan your marketing strategy. Before jumping into creating a brochure or a website (tactics), stop and think through what you really need to communicate with your audience (strategy). Different audiences respond to different tactics. You need to reach each segment of your target audience using the media they prefer to receive their communications. If you just throw a message out into the world without properly targeting your audience you are wasting both the opportunity to connect and precious marketing dollars. And if you’re on a limited budget, which most of us are, having a solid plan to execute on is even more important to ensure you get the biggest bang for your buck.
Items to consider while building your strategy include :
- What’s currently happening in the market landscape?
- What differentiates your company/product/service from the competition?
- How do you want to be perceived by the target customer?
- What tone do you want to set for your company communications?
- What are the key characteristics of your target customer?
- What are the problems/challenges/needs of your target customers and how does your product/service address those needs?
- What criteria do your target customers use when evaluating possible companies to work with?
- What barriers does your company face in securing customer relationships?
Strategy also includes planning how you’re going to measure success. Measurement tools need to be put in place before launching a campaign, or there is no way to fully understand what worked and what didn’t. Whether you are adding Google Analytics to track website activity or setting up HootSuite to manage and monitor social networks, these need to be set up to measure what is meaningful for your success before the activity happens.
Now you will have enough information to go forth and create, knowing what you’re trying to achieve. Utilize the proper tactics to successfully reach your target audience(s) knowing that you have thought through each and every step along the way. And remember, marketing is an investment in your company’s success. It’s not a one and done deal. On-going, consistent messaging with solid branding is the goal. While it is obvious that you don’t want each piece to look identical, you do want all marketing materials to look like they came from the same company and speak with the same voice. Your customers will appreciate it!
Whether you’re a new company or just ready to take a fresh look at your marketing, creating a winning marketing strategy can be a daunting task. You’ve heard about this tactic and that tactic, but where do you begin when you want to make sure you’re doing what’s right for your company? At ISDG, we recommend starting with a SWOT Analysis.
What the heck is a SWOT Analysis and why is it important? A SWOT Analysis can be used for business planning, strategic planning, competitor evaluation, marketing, business and product development and research reports. For our purposes at ISDG, we use the analysis to evaluate the market landscape and to set strategic marketing goals.
SWOT stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats. This process takes a good hard look at the company, both internally and externally. Strengths and Weaknesses usually focus on internal factors while Opportunities and Threats usually focus on external factors. While it’s really a simple process, it can be a bit painful to get all of the necessary information on the table. It’s never fun to dig into your weaknesses, after all. But in the end, the results are always enlightening and provide information about the best way to proceed. A SWOT analysis lets you look at these complex factors in a manner that gives you more insight on strategies that will help you achieve your goals. It can help your team gain a laser focus on what you do well and understand where you have room for improvement, evaluate what’s happening in the market landscape, determine opportunities for growth and areas of concern. Let’s take a closer look at the steps involved…
- Strengths – What are your true strengths? What unique resources or capabilities can you draw on? Do you have custom processes or systems in place that others don’t have? Do you have accreditations/qualifications/certifications to set you apart? How do your strengths compare to the competition? Are your strengths a differentiator in the marketplace? What do others see as your strengths?
- Weaknesses – What areas could your company improve upon? Do you have any known vulnerabilities? Are there gaps in your capabilities/systems/processes? Where do you have fewer resources than the competition? What is your reputation in the community? What do others perceive as your weaknesses?
- Opportunities – What’s happening in the market landscape that could be an opportunity for you? What are your competitors’ vulnerabilities? Are there any niche target markets you can go after? Can you take advantage of any new partnerships or technologies? How can you turn your strengths into opportunities? What trends can you take advantage of?
- Threats – What threats do your weaknesses expose you to? What is your competition doing that you are not? Are there any political/environmental/technological elements on the horizon that could affect your business? What threats could do economic harm to your company? Are there any internal obstacles that need to be addressed? What would happen if you lost a key staff member?
Using the outcome of a SWOT Analysis allows you to evaluate (or re-evaluate) your mission and objectives to determine if they are reasonable, and to formulate strategies for achieving your goals going forward. It enables proactive thinking about what you can realistically achieve and how to best go about doing so. It is an exercise that we highly recommend completing when you’re ready to move to the next level.
Welcome to the first ISDG Blog Post!
At ISDG, we help clients with all kinds of marketing and design projects. For our own materials, we usually fall into the “Cobblers Children Have No Shoes” category. This year I have made a decision to start putting our own marketing up there with our clients, and start doing a better job of walking the talk.
I hope to share with you some of the wealth of information we have available. Posts will be on topics such as:
- Branding and identity – your public presence to the world;
- Experential marketing – owning all of the touchpoints with your customers;
- SEO – on page elements, linking, content marketing;
- Web – CMS, mobile and tablet considerations, coding for multiple platforms, as well as design issues;
- Print collateral – yes, print is still a valuable part of the marketing mix;
- Tradeshows – not only the booth, but how to get your audience involved;
- New things we’re learning;
- Tips we have learned along the way.
This is not an exhaustive list by any means. Marketing is such a wide category and there is much to share. We want you to be successful, and if our knowledge can help you along the way, it is a great thing.
Please share your thoughts on what you read here. Your comments are always welcome, and if there’s something you would like us to write about, just let us know. We appreciate your input!