As we wrap up the first month of the year, many businesses are finalizing their marketing plans, and wrapping up their marketing budgets for the year. Not surprisingly, much has been written over the past few weeks regarding the best marketing practices in which to engage, in order to achieve and increase ROI throughout 2013.
As the owner of Creativeworks, a marketing agency dedicated to increasing marketing results for SMB owners, I have a few tips I’d like to share with my fellow SMBs. These tips will help you determine which marketing tactics might be worth investing in. But before I share my tips, I want to remind you that marketing activities or tactics must be aligned with your overall marketing strategy if you hope to generate leads and increase your sales. In other words, you should think strategy first, then tactics, and never the other way around. If you invest in tactics first, without a strategy, then you are shooting in the dark; throwing good money after bad, hoping that some tactic will eventually stick and give you the return you are looking for.
To help you determine the best types of marketing tactics in which to invest this year, I have outlined my top four tips of what you might consider before setting any marketing plans in stone:
- Make sure your marketing shows prospective clients/customers how you are different from your competition. Your company’s uniqueness should be reflected in your website, brochures, social media, video, but you might also want to ensure that it can be conveyed in a concise elevator speech, and all of your other marketing materials.
- Clearly define your target audience, paying careful attention to the demographics. You may find you have one service/product for one specific audience, and other products/services for a second audience. Identify them, including the type of media that this audience is engaged with. For example, although you may want to use social media in your marketing, Facebook may not be the best way to reach married men over 55.
- Make sure your marketing activities are tied to your strategy. Reactive and ad-hoc marketing simply does not ensure long-lasting ROI.
- Before you launch any tactic, make sure you have some ability to track the results in an actionable manner. For example, for your website, it’s important to make sure that you don’t only have Google Analytics for the sake of having it. You need to figure out how you can use this tool to track the success of your online campaigns or interactive solutions.
The world of marketing may seem topsy turvy to some, but with a solid strategy, aligned tactics and measured results, success is definitely achievable.
I am always interested in hearing from you. Have you thought about what marketing tactics you’re going to use this year? How is this year different from 2012? Or are you sticking with your tried-and-true marketing tactics from last year? Let me know in the comments below.