With marketing having now gone digital and online marketing efforts being just as important as offline, it can be confusing to know where exactly the company marketing budget should be spent. Whether you are a marketing manager at a large company, a new entrepreneur or a small business owner, it is essential to periodically review where the marketing budget is being spent to ensure optimal results and that a good ROI is being achieved. But with the plethora of new techniques, platforms, and technologies that are popping up on a daily basis, it can be too easy to lose sight of fundamental marketing principles. It is well worth checking in with these from time to time because they will always give a great ROI compared with new techniques that involve a learning curve.
From product offering to customer service, every department should be concerned with marketing. If the needs of the customer are not assessed and met, no amount spent on social media or facebook ads will be able to save the business. Sometimes a ‘pivot’ (change in company direction or product offering) may even be necessary. Maintain an open dialogue with your customers to ensure you are up to date with their current ‘pain points’ and be willing to adapt your product offering to their needs. Likewise, a great product offering can be let down by poor customer service. Ensure the customer experience is great from start to finish to maximize the impact of word of mouth referrals and lifetime customer value.
2. Branding Branding Branding!
It is now well known that companies with a strong brand are worth more and are more profitable than their poorly branded counterparts. If you are offering a nice product but your branding is poor or inconsistent, all marketing efforts will be diminished compared to if you were projecting a strong brand. Branding is not just about having a nicely designed logo, it is the emotional culmination of all interactions a customer has with your company and is based on your value statement and mission statement. If you have not clarified these, now is the time. Those values should then be expressed by every employee and the way every single department in your company does business. Visual branding should follow on from this and is a way to cement this emotional experience in the mind of the customer.
3. Own Your Platform
While it may seem important to keep up with every new social media platform going, investing all of your energy into these is like building a castle on sand. Owning your platform and your content is an important way to keep control of your business and can be the most powerful way to market to your customers. Your website can appear on every search engine and is your online ‘real estate’. It is also a place where you can collect email addresses, keeping you up to date with the biggest social network of them all, the one that will never go away (that would be email!) So invest in your website and don’t neglect your company assets, and build that email list.
In conclusion, whenever you are looking at where your marketing budget will have the biggest impact, it is always worth revisiting the above core principles. Trends, platforms, and techniques will always change but the core principles of marketing will remain the same for years to come. Even better, any improvements you make along the lines above tend to be resilient and build value into your company. It is always worth paying attention to the basics.
Some useful questions to ask from time to time include; how recently has our product offering been reviewed, and does it still fulfill the needs of our customer? Is our brand as strong as it can be? Could we invest more in our online platform?
Ask these questions on a regular basis and you will remain on a clear path to growth and marketing success.