Having spent many years working with small and midsized B2B and B2C organizations on their marketing and marketing communications strategies and plans, I believe I’ve got a good sense of the issues facing them. Generally, at the top of the list, is the lack of a real marketing plan. How is it possible that something so basic is missing? My conclusion is that, despite possessing the skill sets that drive their organization’s success, founders and/or management simply do not have:
Time to think about marketing at all, because there is always something “more important or urgent” that needs their attention;
A real understanding of the power of marketing and how it can significantly improve profits and return on investment (ROI);
The resources, budgets and people available – marketing and marketing communications is “unfamiliar and scary”, and there are always other areas that need support first;
The knowledge of how to seek out and evaluate professional marketing help.
These are concerns regardless of the type of organization – start up, early stage or established companies, and even nonprofits for that matter. And, without real planning upfront, many brands are operating with a “Ready, Fire, Aim” reaction to the marketplace.
What Will Hiring A Marketing Or Marketing Communications Professional Do For You?
In order to accomplish short and long-term objectives you need to develop a meaningful marketing strategy and an integrated marketing communications plan and tactics. At its core, having a professional marketing program will improve a brand’s profitability and ROI. This task is often outsourced, frequently with a part-time Chief Marketing Officer.
The process starts with the outside consultant learning about the brand – its strengths and weaknesses, competition, distribution, business plan objectives, existing communication materials, employee involvement. During this learning period, the consultant also avails himself of any pertinent primary or secondary research. Most important, this period is also the time for establishing trust between the organization and the consultant.
While some tasks may be completed directly during this learning period, an outside professional would use this knowledge to prepare:
1. A marketing and marketing communications strategy, along with a positioning statement. The positioning statement is a succinct description of the core target audience to whom the brand is directed, and a compelling picture of how the marketer wants the audience to view the brand.
Sound simple? Take a minute and answer these four questions about your brand:
The target audience, in very specific detail?
The category in which the brand competes, and its relevance to customers?
The brand’s benefit and point of difference?
A reason for the customer to believe – the most compelling proof?
The positioning statement is the credo for the brand to live by. All marketing and marketing communications should flow from this positioning and be understood by all employees, agents, partners and management.
2. An integrated and holistic plan with tactical expressions – media programs; creative executions, including new and/or traditional advertising; public relations; content marketing (social media, articles, blogs, white papers, video); packaging; point of purchase; employee engagement; and, events.
The use of internal or external staff to create the above will be directed and evaluated by the consultant or, if necessary, specialists may be recommended.
3. Recommendations for primary or secondary research when clear cut answers don’t exist on specific subjects. Marketing depends on a complete understanding of the customers’ “wants and needs” as well as how they relate to your brand and competition. Not just what your staff thinks; rather, information. Facts beat opinion every time.
4. A procedure of measurement and evaluation of the objectives of the agreed upon plan, as well as the established objectives to be accomplished with each target audience and marketing communication task. Benchmarking and on-going analysis is key to successful marketing programs, allowing for change or refinement as you proceed.
5. A format for informing and discussing the reasoning behind the marketing planning, so that everyone in the organization understands why the specific strategies, plans and tactics were developed and implemented. The consultant becomes a “teacher” and the entire organization becomes brand advocates.
Marketing consultants have increasingly become members of the C-Suite because of today’s turbulent and rapidly changing environment.
What Talents Should A Marketing Consultant Have?
Look for a consultant, full or part-time, who is:
1. Willing to learn your business from the ground up and doesn’t have a “one size fits all” mentality;
2. An established professional, with extensive experience across industries and brands in B2B, B2C and nonprofit organizations, large and small. Expand your horizons and don’t settle for experience in only your niche or industry;
3. Media neutral and willing to embrace analytics to develop a variety of programs as well as to measure them. In today’s complicated marketplace, a consultant must understand new and traditional media, the difference between efficiency and effectiveness, “likes” vs. “sales”, the dangers of digital ad fraud, etc., etc.;
4. Apolitical and willing to tell it like it is, so candor will flourish in your relationship. Having your consultant free to demonstrate the discipline of marketing and marketing communications will build trust and a meaningful partnership;
5. Has an established network of marketing communications specialists who can be called in to provide solutions when necessary.
The marketing and marketing communications strategic and tactical challenges of today are growing exponentially. But, as with our uncertain economic and political environment, putting your head in the sand isn’t a viable response. As Will Rogers said, “Even if you’re on the right track, you’ll get run over if you just sit there.”
“Ignoring online marketing is like opening a business but not telling anyone.” – Anonymous
Nothing sums up the brilliance of online marketing in today’s scenario quite like this quote. Online marketing is all about being at the right place at the right time. With the virtual space invading every nook and corner of our lives, this is where you’ll find your audience.
Online is the place to be
From social media to e-commerce portals, our present generations wake up to their handset screens, emote only through in beeps and blocks. No one physically meets or greets anymore, instead we only ‘like’ and ‘comment’. So, like any good marketing strategy that starts with going where the customer goes, the time now is to go digital. Online marketing has become the latest fad, a definite marketing must-do all the multi- national companies. Online marketing companies and services are the most sought after by major corporations. The benefits of online marketing when compared to its counterparts – the traditional/offline marketing, is so shiny and bright, that it has become impossible to turn a blind eye. Let’s review the prime benefits:
‘The World is your Stage’: With online marketing services, your reach is truly magnanimous. It expands in terms of demographic as well as relevance. Deep pockets and hefty bank account are no longer the requisites to get noticed and sell products. For example, A local farmer from one side of the world, can now take his produce and showcase it online to reach a potential customer living on the other side. All he’ll need to do is to use the internet to market this product, alongside some smart SEO strategies to place it amidst the right crowd.
‘Laugh all the way to the bank’- It’s no surprise rappers worldwide dish out such catch-phrases, ever so often. After all, how can anyone run from the fact that every business and corporation is the world works towards – ‘profit’ aka revenue, return, moolah? So, when the outcomes are so luring, who wouldn’t jump? With the chance to reach the target audience directly and personally, the sales are bound to go up, by default.
‘Straight from the horse’s mouth’ – With digital marketing you can document every move of your consumer. In the virtual space, everything becomes transparent – the good, bad and the ugly is out in the open for every to judge. No beating around the bush, you will get immediate feedback and instant report of your product’s performance. You can directly reach out to your customer and build a personal bond. Services can be customized. Also, since everyone is online all the time, being in this place will make you more visible.
‘Marking your territory’ – Digital marketing promises to cut marketing costs drastically. Over and above all other benefits, the Passover from traditional or offline marketing to online is bound to be tremendously economical. Your online marketing agency will help you pick your audience and invest in reaching out only to them. It will also reduce your cost per unique user. For example: while a 5000 AED investment on a hoarding or event sponsorship reach about 5000 prospective customers, an online campaign through a viral video on social media will keep 10 times fold more.
‘Something for everyone’ – Online marketing space isn’t reserved for the who’s who of the business world. Even a small business or a start- up can reap benefits in all the entirety. That’s the beauty of this medium. Such opportunity presents a fair chance to businesses to prove their mettle purely based on the quality of services/product. For the first time, a small enterprise can give the market’s big fish a run for its money. Making it an all-inclusive environment to run business in.
‘Survival of the fittest’ – The business world is booming, everyone wants a piece of it. So, in order to survive this mad rush, you have to a step ahead, always. Being in the digital gives you direct insights in your markets and demography. It gives you the opportunity to gauge your competitors move and plan a rebuttal. Online marketing companies help in giving your brand the edge and new-age glow. Hence, assuring the consumer’s that the product/services that you offer are state-of-the-art and cutting edge in all its entirety.
Saji Nair is an online marketing expert. As the founder of one of the fastest growing SMS and online marketing agency in Dubai – Wisoft Solutions Dubai, he is passionate about SEO and all things digital.
I started out on Facebook just as almost everyone else did. I opened an account, started finding other friends on the site and start communicating with them mostly by – I guess you could call it – Blog posting as a lot of what Facebook is really about at its base is a social platform – a blog site.
I was starting an online business and my initial focus when getting going was to write some articles, publish them to get known and then build them into books and market them on Amazon-Kindle. I did not have much more of a strategy than that in the beginning – I had just always wanted to write and publish a book. A bucket list item.
As I began to delve in further into the world of Facebook – and this spans time – over the last couple of years in fact – I became aware of just how powerful this platform really is from a business and product marketing perspective. And I have learned a lot about the platform to date – yet I am constantly learning more things I can do on it to further my brand awareness and even close sales right on the platform itself. With this in mind, I want to share with you some ideas for using Facebook that you may not have thought of. Here is an initial list of ideas to get you started.
First, you must absolutely have a business page if you are trying to market or sell anything on the platform. This is your first step. Facebook frowns on you using your personal consumer site to do any business marketing – so get this done. An additional tip: Don’t limit yourself to just one business page – create several if you have different categories of things to sell. I am still working to build this all out myself but I have found the time to create a main business page for my website, an “Author” page for books I write, and a couple of pages for individual “business verticals” within my online business.
Why did I do this? It increases your ability to get found. People look for and follow business verticals through keyword searching. If you type for example “coloring books” into the Facebook search bar, your search will return: Coloring Book titled pages created by people, coloring book groups, people who use this keyword in their name and sub-title “about” lines, top posts and latest posts containing the keyword, videos that people have posted with the phrase in the titles, events relating to this phrase, etc. So creating business page verticals within your Facebook presence can be a very good idea.
Next tip – do a little research – use the Facebook search bar to check out different keyword phrases and when you find good ones that people actively search on – use them with associated hash tags in your business page posts to help people find you. Your “People Reached” numbers will go up.
Do you want to get people to your other online assets such as webpages? Start writing, posting and sharing Facebook “Notes” – basically here you are writing articles and posting them on Facebook. A couple very useful tips in this regard: Write the full “Blog Post” or “Article” on your web or blog site. Then, go to Facebook and in your “Note” write the blog/article summary and not the rest of it. Next, put a line in the Facebook post with a backlink to your web/blogsite complete article under some anchor text that says something like “Click Here to Read the Full Article”. You are now driving traffic back to your business site where you can use lead magnets to capture e-mail addresses and you can sell them all your business products and services – as a bonus benefit, this helps to increase your website presence in the eyes of popular search engines like Google.
Find and join niche targeted groups. Then when you post related articles, videos, advertisement blurbs, shareable content, etc. “Share” them to these groups. This extends your brand awareness to potentially tens of thousands of people interested in the same topics that you are marketing to.
Go under the “Manage Tabs” button on your business page and add the “Shop” button to your page. Now, you can setup and highlight some of your best-selling products on your Facebook business page and you can share these products in your online posts. When people click to learn more, you can direct them back to your website and shopping cart to buy them by “tagging” the product image. FYI, a window opens up when tagging so you can enter the URL of the webpage you want to direct them to.
Another tab option I recently discovered and really like is the “Services” tab. Here you can market your time and services offered to others. I have used this feature on my Facebook business pages and I point these pages directly back to my online time-booking system webpage that I have built into my business website – I love this feature. If you are looking to get consulting or “Freelancing” jobs, here is a great way to increase your exposure and have people find you and book your time.
Post videos to Facebook directly. Facebook likes sharing videos. Again, as you publish these to Facebook, be sure to craft your video titles so they contain good useable keyword phrases and don’t neglect the use of hash tags in your video description areas.
Take some time to explore the business pages of others in similar niches as yours and when you find popular ones, go under the “More” tab displayed just below or on their business page background image and then select the “Like as Your Page” button to link them back to your business page. Here’s what this does for you:
First, you can’t comment on another business page as your page unless you like it as your page first. When you do then comment on another page as your page, the post you create builds visibility for your business page so you can get more traffic to your own business. Lastly, you can start to see in your news feeds content published to that other page – helps you keep track of the goings on there and who is posting content to that page – and you never know, some of that content could useful to you.
In summary, keep at it – you can drive a lot of organic Facebook views to your website just by taking the time to explore and work Facebook with your posts, shares, group involvements, the use of hash tags in your posts, liking other business pages, commenting on other pages, opening your Facebook “Shop”, etc.
The increased business exposure you receive from this extra effort, will earn you dividends.
About Dan Grijzenhout: Dan has lived a successful entrepreneurial career for over 30 years. He has been a consultant, entrepreneur, systems architect and developer, investor, business owner and is now an author, online course creator and teacher, sharing his years of experience and knowledge with others. Search for the name – Dan Grijzenhout – on Amazon to see his available books and e-books.
Businesses that utilize network marketing to spread the word about their products and services often enjoy a higher customer retention rate, increased website traffic, and increases in sales volume. Following is some helpful advice to help you with this endeavor!
Know how you’re going to answer difficult questions about your network marketing business before they are asked. Inevitably, some people will ask you if your business is a pyramid scheme. Tell them that they need to look elsewhere if that is what they are interested in. Knowing the answers to difficult questions ahead of time will make you appear knowledgeable and savvy.
Stay away from projects that require you to pay to get in. If you have already paid up then the person doesn’t have any real motivation to work with you or help you succeed. They will just get busy pulling in the next person to pay in. Work with people who will have to work with you.
Practice your pitch on your friends. You need to be comfortable approaching people and the practice will help you to achieve that. Discuss every part of your business with them, just as you intend to do with your potential down-line and let them ask you questions. Repeat this process until you are well versed and comfortable with every detail.
Quality beats quantity in network marketing. You require recruits who are committed to working hard in growing their own downlines, which will result in more profits for you and themselves.
With so many details to attend to in your network marketing business, it is easy to lose sight of your number one goal: prospecting. When you have a dozen emails to respond to, a pile of paperwork cluttering your desk, down-lines to train, and a company conference to attend, finding new prospects can sometimes get lost in the crowd. Make sure you prioritize your duties to keep prospecting at the top of the list. While your other responsibilities are still important, you don’t have a business without any customers.
If you are in the business of network marketing you need to make sure that you have a schedule that is realistic and that you stick to. You need to think of this as your business and put as much as you can into it if you want to be successful.
To make the most of your network marketing expenses, learn to maximize your direct marketing opportunities. Get educated on best ways to make offers to your potential customers. Be prepared to honor any direct marketing offer or coupon you send to your customers. Iron out your game-plan in advance of making the offer.
Hopefully, the above article has given you some valuable advice to help you with network marketing endeavors. Businesses that utilize this marketing strategy definitely have more potential! After all, this is a great way to spread the word about their products and services! Network marketing often yields a higher customer retention rate, increased website traffic, and increases in sales volume. So, start your marketing plan today!