Dart Board Digital Column

Having a marketing plan with clear objectives can be the difference between a good year and a great one

“We don’t have time for that.”

One of the biggest surprises I’ve encountered in my time at the Business Examiner has been the lack of a clearly defined marketing strategy for many businesses.

Big organizations and small alike, it doesn’t seem to matter. A plan of action, aligned with annual revenue, profit, human resources and other primary strategic objectives is often nowhere to be found.

Marketing is an investment. Typically made in monthly increments, and measurable on the monthly, quarterly and annual income statements.

A plan of action, aligned with annual revenue, profit, human resources and other primary strategic objectives is often nowhere to be found.

Did my revenue increase relative to marketing spend as it changed from last year? Am I more profitable? Have I attracted enough quality employees to support my greater objectives?
Often times companies overthink marketing. It can sometimes be intimidating, especially with the rapid evolution of digital tactics. For example: Did you know you can target people based on their credit rating now?

5 Strategies to Get the Ball Rolling

If you can relate to companies without a plan, or have been putting off looking at how to really construct one, I’ve included a brief overview on how to get the ball rolling.

1) Awareness. Take a step back and think about how your potential customers indicate interest in your products and services, and how you will differentiate your company from your competitors. Important tactics: Digital, radio, TV, print etc.

2) Findability. After your customers have made the decision to buy, make sure you are easy to find. Now most buyers are looking you up online to establish a link between the ad’s promise and your business’s online presence. If you’re not easy to find, then your competitors with better search strategies are going to take the very prospects you’ve worked to develop. Important tactics: SEO, SEM, social media.

3) Reputation. After the prospect has visited your website, most are going to look at reviews and testimonials on 3rd party sites like your Google My Business, Facebook and Trip Advisor pages. Make sure what your customers say about you aligns with the promises in your advertising and website. Important tactics: reputation management software, social media.

4) Conversion. Now that you’ve done all this hard work to get a prospect interested in your company, it’s important that it be as easy as possible for them to buy or learn more. Make sure that you have a responsive, mobile friendly website with readily available contact forms. You may also want to consider a live chat, or chatbot service to take a more proactive approach. Important tactics: Conversation Rate Optimization, web development, social media.

5) Advocacy. Now the sale is complete, you’ve done a lot of hard work, and spent a lot of money to get that new customer through your door. Instead of heading straight back to Step 1, take some of the pressure off and ask for a review, social media recommendation or referral. Important tactics: reputation management software, social media.

If you’d like more information and a visual representation of how to further develop your marketing strategy, the team at BE Digital has a free resource available via email to help you move things forward. Send me a note at the address below for more information:

John MacDonald is the Director of Business Development with the Business Examiner News Group. Call him at 604.751.0819, or email BEDigital@businessexaminer.ca.