Tuesday, May 13, 2008

5 Steps to Measuring your Marketing

Small Fuel recently wrote another excellent piece on Marketing.

Here's who should read it:

If you are a business and someone is trying to sell you advertising, you must read this.

If you are the salesperson selling advertising, you MUST read this.

SmallFuel Marketing Blog

5 Critical Steps for Every Marketing Campaign

Effective marketing is so much more than just "getting the word out" - it is a series of efforts that complement and support each other for the ultimate goal of creating a satisfied, lifelong customer for your business.

By taking the time to understand your potential customers and the psychology behind their buying decisions, you can boost your bottom line significantly. Include these five must-have marketing steps into your efforts and you will see how your results improve.

Define Who You Are Really Marketing To

While you may feel that you have a product or service that everyone in the world can benefit from, trying to be all things to all people will not help you get the best results from your marketing efforts. When preparing a campaign, you have to get laser focused on the audience you are trying to reach. Dig deep and determine who you are truly after, down to the demographic details such as age, income level, education level, profession and more. You'll likely have categories of people that are very different from each other, but classifying them in this way is key to knowing how to reach each group.

How To Know When You've Done It Right: You've defined target customers as actual people, literally creating stories, personalities and profiles behind them to help you see who they really are.

Understand Their True Needs

Many marketers think in terms of their own needs - what they want to achieve with their marketing efforts. But the key to greater response is to truly understand your customers' needs, and to sculpt your marketing efforts around them instead. If you have created your customer profiles, this becomes much easier, as you can get inside the mind of your potential buyers, understanding where they are coming from and how they decide what solution is the right fit for them. This customer-driven perspective allows you to discern the specific problems your customers need to solve, or the end result they're after - so you can position your offering as the natural way to meet their needs.

How To Know When You've Done It Right: You can close your eyes and walk yourself through the buying process from the customer's perspective. You understand what they are thinking when they first consider your product or service, what they focus on when evaluating whether to buy (and from whom), and what causes them to follow through with a purchase.

Eliminate Barriers To Sale

Your potential customers will raise objections throughout the decision-making process, and you need to be sure your marketing efforts defuse each one of them. Put yourself in the position of your customer and visualize going through the buying process to discover what makes you resist completing the purchase. Ask yourself how you feel about the price, the packaging, the guarantee, the commitment, the features, and the general experience of owning/using this product or service. Discover each possible 'no' and preemptively frame it in a positive light. If price is a sticking point, for example, highlight how the exceptional quality or added features you offer more than justify it (and how settling for less would only disappoint the customer in the end).

How To Know When You've Done It Right: You have a checklist of all potential objectives and a plan for raising and eliminating each of them before the customer even brings them up.

Provide Relevant Follow Up

Marketing isn't a one-time monologue - it is an ongoing conversation that helps your potential customers determine if your solution is the right one for their particular situation. When you follow up with them, whether it be via email, phone, or written materials, you have to do more than simply pitch your product or service to them yet again. Consider the objections you identified earlier and the needs you gathered when you were building profiles, and deliver relevant information in your follow up efforts. Your initial message may have been missed due to your customer being distracted by personal issues the first time - reach out and deliver what they need to hear (and not just what you want to say).

How To Know When You've Done It Right: You have designed a follow up process that you would value receiving yourself, with information that educates your customers and addresses their objections in a way that makes them feel understood rather than sold to.

Study Results And Improve

No marketing effort is complete unless there are measures in place to measure results and time set aside to analyze the effectiveness of the campaign. Use every tool you have at your disposal to discover which parts of your process worked well, which didn't, and then take the time to sit down and ask the tough questions that help you improve for the next campaign. While the pace of business is such that it can be tempting to jump to the next project and start this process all over again, remember that fortunes are build on small, incremental improvements over time.

How To Know When You've Done It Right: You have hard data that tells you which components of your marketing process worked like a charm and which failed miserably - and you have a realistic plan to improve each category for next campaign.

It doesn't take a rocket scientist to create an effective marketing campaign - but it does take time, effort, and careful consideration to make sure you are aiming as close to the center of your target as possible. Ensuring that your next campaign puts these five strategies into practice is a smart way to boost your chances of hitting a bulls-eye on your next big promotion.

SmallFuel Marketing, Inc. 126 E 2nd St, Suite A, Media, PA 19063
Copyright (C) 2008 SmallFuel Marketing, Inc. All rights reserved.

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