Business conditions keep changing: successful new products attract competitors; more legacy brands are moving to D2C; businesses within every industry are adjusting to a transformed customer base; consumers are rejecting “stuff” in favor of experiences. We’re already in the middle of the most disruptive decade yet. Business owners have to be ready for whatever comes next.
So how do you keep focus on what marketing efforts are working, what are not and what new trends are on the horizon. Looking at each campaign or effort objectively can help capitalize on what is working and stop campaigns that aren’t producing the intended results. Recognizing how to identify marketing effort failures quickly will not only save money, but it will also help preserve valuable time and resources that can be better spent elsewhere. Here are some thoughts when reviewing your marketing strategies and tactics:
- Is your defined target niche or area of specialization behaving as usual? Be sure the market research that identified your target market is still valid…where can they be found and how they are reacting to your marketing efforts. Remember, the narrower your market, the better your chances of reaching the people you want to serve through specific channels.
- Never discount the customer’s overall journey. Are your products/services still creating an amazing customer experience? Do your customers continue to place a high value on receiving that experience. Maybe you should forget marketing at your consumers and start thinking about creating immersive experiences. An immersion experience invites your audience to participate, to be part of your brand. It is the beginning of a much bigger conversation, one that evolves to suit the customer’s desires rather than to push the company’s products. Fill a gap in their life with an immersive experience, and you won’t need to waste money on pointless marketing. With the metaverse, experiences are no longer constrained by time, money and the physics of the natural world. They’re only limited by a brand’s imagination.
- What is your marketing effort trying to achieve? What results matter most for the business? In other words, never lose site of the marketing campaign goal. Is the effort to produce traffic by using SEO, social media content, blog content or podcasts? Is it to gain more followers? Is it to get more paying clients? Is it to increase brand awareness? Be sure everyone is clear on the goal for each campaign and that you are getting the desired result. If you aren’t achieving the result, now is never too soon to make an adjustment.
- What is the optimal way to get the top results for each marketing effort? Perhaps you have been running a campaign for a few months and are seeing a certain amount of success. But, are you are seeing the best results possible? Could you look at things from a different perspective and get a better result? Could you adjust the way you market or change your message?
- Do you have a system in place to measure results quickly? Whenever possible, have an accurate tracking and reporting set up before each and every marketing effort that is launched. But, this isn’t always possible. In these cases, think about how to approximate or make an intelligent inference by digging deeper into the key leading indicators. Brand awareness for example is one that is hard to measure but if you find that you are getting more website traffic, leads and clients overall, this could be a good indication that you are headed in the right direction.
- Once you have a good feel for what’s working and what isn’t, you want to look at the problem programs with a fresh set of eyes to see where you can adjust the message or campaign to get the most benefit. Don’t just look to see how things are going but think about what could be changed or added or refined or simplified or deleted or adjusted…what could be done that would give the biggest bang for the buck? This is where inflection point testing is so valuable. Could you simplify the sign up process? Test some new copy? Don’t just accept the current campaign as the only option, think outside of the box here.
- Based on all this, what should come next? How will I test, track and know its impact? Once you identify a change, come up with a plan about how to test or track its impact. Be sure to include that in a weekly marketing campaign review. That way you will be able to know quickly if something is working or not.
- Share these insights with the full marketing/sales team. Could the sales team benefit from updated sales copy or approach? Could customer service team learn more from a tweak made to your content strategy. It’s important to share your insights and knowledge with the rest of the team, so that they can all make better strategic choices.
To connect with your target audience, you first have to know who they are. Don’t make the mistake of assuming they are who they used to be. Markets change, and your offerings may have to as well. If your audience members aren’t the same as before, your content is probably off target. Inflection testing and focused timely marketing effort reviews will help prepare you for the ever changing business climate.
For more thoughts on inflection testing read Pandemic Inflection Point Testing and read a free sample of the new book “Small Business Thoughts Real-Time Strategic Planning“.
Copyright ©John Trenary 2022