Brand marketing and strategy can be very complicated, analysis driven, or even intimidating. But much of the time, it just isn’t. Here are 10 obscenely easy ways to do better marketing. And this isn’t about one particular company, rather, all too many.
1. Focus – If you haven’t already, figure out what business you really are in (it’s not what you make, it’s whose problems you solve), what drives your business model, and what you need to attack first. Less is always more, and more profitable.
2. Develop your Business Strategy – This needn’t be the all-consuming five-year plan that is both painful and rarely used. Just figure out what direction you want to head, make sure you know why you want to head that way (versus other alternatives), and make sure that direction is financially sound. This is CEO and Board stuff, and it’s critical. But it’s all too frequently not done.
3. Select your Growth Priorities – For most companies, if you can select 3 reasonable ways to grow, and dedicate most of your resources to doing that, you’ll decimate your competition.
4. Focus Marketing on these Growth Priorities – The marketing plan, budget, and major programs should all support accomplishing the growth priorities in #3. When you develop and review the marketing plan, that’s the easy way to make sure you direct precious dollars and time resources on the right things. You’d be amazed at how frequently there is a bunch of activity, pet programs, ‘things we’ve always done,’ or other ill-conceived ideas that have nothing to do with company priorities.
5. Challenge the Tactics – When you evaluate a major program, make sure it is designed to achieve a specific business objective, and isn’t just cool or enticing (like rudderless social media campaigns). Make sure it’s the best way to accomplish that objective versus other alternatives. (If it’s great, compared to what?)
6. Quantify What Good Looks Like first – Figure out what you’d like the marketing program to produce and how you’ll measure it before you start. If it isn’t going to be productive in some measurable way, why do it?
7. Communicate, communicate, communicate – Simplify your strategy, business objectives, and big marketing pushes and over-communicate them to everyone who needs to know as often as you can. It’s staggering what you can accomplish when you help bright, well-intended people walk in the same direction.
8. Expect more from Marketing – Ask and expect them to be the experts on your customer, competitive position, marketing strategy, and marketing spending effectiveness. Ask and expect them to help everyone else in the company be more aware of and responsive to your customer and consumer.
9. Make Marketing a Priority – Chief Executive Officers, and other senior leaders, can do this quite easily. Think about and communicate to your company in terms of how what you do will earn and deserve more customer appeal and loyalty. Challenge every major initiative (even if it seems highly internal and operational) to see how it will affect your customer and consumer. Structure your company so Marketing has the authority, staffing, and skill set comparable to your other senior functions. (i.e. get strategic or get pens with your logo on them – your choice).
10. Expect Measurable Results – Like every other major function, you should expect, track and report performance on key measures like sales, sales growth rate, market share, and return-on-investment. Don’t accept double-speak or things that are unclear – and ask questions until it’s clear. Expect major programs to be tracked and analyzed for future learning.
Almost any company can make great headway on any of these improvements in a very, very short time.