Talking about marketing is one of the most important and time-consuming activities of business owners because we all want the right image for our business and more of the right clients. We want our customers to see and understand what we have to offer, and how we are different from others.
Marketing is all about creating specific brand images in the minds of our target customers and advertising is the mechanism used to communicate these images to them.
But most businesses have no formal marketing plan, and therefore their marketing and advertising results to a series of uncoordinated events. Business owners are often talked into advertising by someone who is promoting an area, a theme, a link into a target market, etc., that are not linked to any marketing plan.
There is no magic one event in a marketing campaign that works all the time, every time. It is a process of trial and error. The secret is in coordinating a sequence of activities targeted at clear customer segments.
Ian Ogilvy, an American advertising guru, made the famous remark “I know that 50% of my advertising budget is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which 50%”. The following process will help to ensure that you do not waste your money.
1. Start with your business plan – Set clear objectives. Decide whether marketing activities are for the purpose of “brand awareness” or a “call to action”. Both have different response times. Highlight tangible benefits that make your products, services and you different.
2. Test your message – Before committing to it, test your message with a minimum sample size of 30 responses. Build in a response mechanism to your ads. Google Adwords can be a cheap and effective method for doing this.
3. Run the ads – Run a campaign, conduct the promotional workshop, use the script, put up the sign, make the offer, etc.
4. Measure Effectiveness – Was the communication received and understood by the target market? Were the sales objectives achieved? You may never fully solve Ian Ogilvy’s dilemma, but follow this process and you will do much better than he did.
Come up with a plan, follow the process and refine your concept to make sure you have effective Marketing activities in place for your business.