Danger Zones

Avoiding the Marketing Danger Zones

Cruising along with your marketing activities can sometimes be a comfortable thing. In fact, it can be too comfortable if you have them on auto pilot. Even if you don’t, you still have to be strategic and purposeful to ensure your plans are hitting the mark and generating your desired results. That’s why you have to watch out for the marketing danger zones.

The challenge here is that those danger zones are not always obvious. How do you know what they are before they hit you and inflict damage on your marketing efforts?

Be strategic

One of the most prevalent dangers is operating in an opportunistic versus a strategic mode. If you’re always reacting to whatever happens to come along, chances are pretty good that your results will be mediocre at best. Strategy-based marketing will always outperform opportunistic approaches.

Always have a follow-up plan

Another common danger is lack of follow-up after a campaign. It’s very easy to create a campaign, exhibit at a trade show or hold a webinar, but then fail to follow up on any leads generated from these initiatives. It seems crazy to think that’s even possible, yet it is a widespread problem that plagues marketing effectiveness in businesses and organizations of various industries and sizes.

Consistency counts

Then, one of the most damage-inflicting danger zones involves inconsistencies with branding, messaging, content, product/solution offerings and communications. When you send your buying market conflicting messages about who you are, why you exist, how you solve problems and why your solution is the best option, then trouble awaits you. Introducing even an ounce of doubt in your buyer’s mind is extremely dangerous and marketing inconsistencies can easily do that.

Watch the market and your competitors

Other danger zones include a failure to respond to changing market conditions and ignoring your competitors. When influencing factors change your market conditions, you have to be ready with a solid response by either tweaking your content, messaging or solution offering…or all of them if necessary. You will otherwise be left in the dust and perceived as being out of touch. Instead, stay abreast of your market and anticipate how it will change. Similarly, you always want to keep a pulse on your competition. Pay attention to what they are doing and be prepared to respond in a way that casts a favorable light on your business. If you don’t, you’ll risk having your competitors bite you on the backside.

Gird up your marketing and build a stronghold that avoids the danger zones.  Be nimble and ready to respond to strategic opportunities and changing market conditions. When you take this approach, your marketing efforts will be rewarding.

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Roadmap Implementation

Implementing Your Marketing Roadmap - Part 3 of 3

In parts 1 and 2 of our Marketing Roadmap series, we covered the critical aspects related to designing and constructing your Marketing Roadmap as the new year approaches. With design and construction completed, it’s time to put your marketing roadmap in action.

Focused with a purpose

This is where the “rubber meets the road” – the implementation stage. When you put the specific tactics of your marketing roadmap into place, your plan comes to life. Working through your roadmap requires discipline with a constant focus on your primary objectives. When you do that, you’ll reach your stated goals strategically and avoid veering off in the wrong direction.

Staying on track

As you make progress, you’ll want to perform routine checks that will help determine where change may be required on a project or re-prioritizing a particular marketing tactic might be necessary. While the primary framework of your marketing roadmap remains unchanged, you do want to have enough flexibility to make any required adjustments that will improve it. Stick with it and commit to working the plan.

Capture successes

When successes occur, capture them and document how they occurred. You will want to know why certain things worked well and whether or not those accomplishments can be replicated. Compare actual performance results against those that were planned. Take the time to analyze these situations as they may represent excellent opportunities for a more efficient marketing implementation process.

Supporting the team

As you work your marketing roadmap, make sure you are supporting your internal customer – the sales team. Your marketing efforts are providing the fuel for your sales engine – don’t deprive your production engine from operating at its highest level. When working your plan, ensure that your sales and business development team is receiving exactly what they need from marketing. And, be sure that you have reciprocating communication channels established so that your sales team provides marketing with input that will help the team be successful.

Move it forward

Venturing out without a plan to reach a desired destination is risky and not usually considered a wise move. The same can be said for having a strategic marketing plan that sits on a shelf. You have to work your plan to get results because the process is a continuous one. As you do, be flexible and adaptable. Be willing to make changes when and where they may be required. Capture successes as they occur and capitalize on new opportunities. Having this mindset and commitment to your marketing roadmap will deliver the results your business needs.

We have now covered the essentials behind marketing roadmaps: Design, Construction, and Implementation. Taking this approach to your marketing planning and execution will help ensure that your new year starts off on the right track and continues to progress along the pathway to your desired business destination.

Feel free to share this on your favorite social media sites and email it to a colleague or friend.   

Mktg Roadmap Construction

Construction Progress for Your Marketing Roadmap - Part 2 of 3

In part 1 of our Marketing Roadmap series, we covered the importance of designing a Marketing Roadmap in preparation for the new year.  By now, your design work is finished and you are well into the construction phase of your marketing roadmap.

Build for success

As you build out your roadmap, stay focused on the connecting points to your market.  The best way to know which routes to include is to drill into the market data and intelligence that indicates the market behaviors, trends, and habits of your buyers.  

  • Consider where your market gathers information to make buying decisions (because that’s where you’ll want to have a presence) 
  • Review your existing client base so that you know why they value your product or services
  • Analyze your competition (yes, you need to know what they are doing) to determine what kind of marketing efforts they may be performing that is working for them 
  • And, look at your own business to see how well it aligns with your market to match up with potential buyers and stand out from competitors  

This information should prove to be a goldmine for helping you know the best way to bridge the gap between your offerings and your potential customers. 

Preparing for roadblocks, the unexpected and detours

When finalizing your roadmap, make sure you plan for the unexpected or obstacles that can hinder your plans.  For your business, it could mean aggressive project schedules, a new competitor, a lost customer, budget cuts, a challenging new technology, and the like.  Although it is nearly impossible to avoid all obstacles, being ready for the unexpected will help reduce the impact.

Sometimes the plan takes a detour based on unforeseen occurrences.  This is why preparing for the unexpected with a contingency plan is important.  When this happens, remain flexible and adapt to the situation.  These potential setbacks may actually turn into opportunities.    

As you begin to wrap-up construction of your marketing roadmap, take the time to review all of the components to ensure you have the right strategy and tactics for achieving your business objectives.  Give attention to the tools you’ve included that will help you connect with your buying market and be sure you have the resources in place to implement and manage the plan.  With your marketing roadmap near completion, you are one step away from putting the plan in place to drive revenue-generating opportunities.  

In part 3, we will address Marketing Roadmap ImplementationFeel free to share this on your favorite social media sites and email it to a colleague or friend.   

Mktg Roadmap Design

Designing Your Marketing Roadmap - Part 1 of 3

As we head toward the end of another year, our attention will soon turn to the opportunities that lie ahead with the new year. Business performance will be reviewed and several questions will be asked:

•  “How can we generate more revenue?”
•  “Where can we find more customers?”
•  “How can we gain greater market visibility?”

These are good questions to ask and represent the mindset of a business that wants to do more and improve their market standing. But, how can these questions be translated into actionable items? It boils down to developing attainable goals, realistic objectives and a strategic marketing plan for achieving them. For your business, this means facing your marketing challenges head on in order to know what to do, when, where, how and why. And, you need to know where you are going and how you plan to get there.

How do you get there?

By developing a “marketing roadmap”, your business will have a guide to follow that outlines how your company will connect to the market to create revenue-generating opportunities. Your marketing roadmap will provide details about the proper “marketing routes” that will work best for your business. There may be countless options to consider, but you will want to drill down to only those that make sense for your business and align well with your market.

Include the essentials

While your basic marketing roadmap is purposed to effectively direct you from point “A” to point “B”, you will need to include:

•  Budget allocations for implementing the planned tactics
•  A timeline for execution
•  Resources that will execute the components
•  Milestones for measuring progress
•  Reporting for documenting success

All of these are requirements that will keep you on track as you grow closer to reaching your revenue goals and ultimate business destination.

In part 2, we will address Marketing Roadmap ConstructionFeel free to share this on your favorite social media sites and email it to a colleague or friend.   

Marketing Issue UBJ 2017

 Another one of our insightful marketing articles was published recently in the Upstate Business Journal.  In this article, we  discuss the importance of being known to your buying market and how to become the preferred choice among the options they may  have before them.  Bridging the gap between your offering and your buying market requires having the right tools to effectively  communicate your solutions.  With the right mix and balance of marketing tools, you will be prepared to address who buys from you,  why, when, where and how often.  There are also 10 points we discuss that are important considerations while developing and  building your marketing toolkit.  

 Occupying your buyer's sweet spot is where you want to be because that's where buying decisions are made.  Commit to the process of getting there...and remaining the preferred choice.  In the end, your marketing efforts will be more effective which will lead to increased revenue-generating potential for your business.  

Click here for the entire article:  Owning the Sweet Spot.  

Feel free to share this on your favorite social media sites and email it to a colleague or friend.   

Bullsye UBJ B

Recently published in the Upstate Business Journal, this article provides insights related to strategic marketing and how to map out a plan.  Just as a map illustrates the best way to reach a destination, a marketing road map serves as a guide that outlines how your company will connect to the market to create revenue-generating opportunities. Your marketing road map will provide details about the proper “marketing routes” that will work best for your business.

Click here for the entire article:  Strategic Marketing Requires a Road Map.  

Feel free to share this on your favorite social media sites and email it to a colleague or friend.   

How well does your automobile run without gas? OK, it doesn't - - duh! So, let's say your car doesn't have any gas but you still expect it to provide your transportation needs even though you don't plan to add any gas to it. Hmmm. Crazy, huh?

Well, many businesses do the same thing. When revenue drops, guess what gets cut? You got it - marketing and sales. But wait - - are those not the two very areas that will generate revenue for the business? Then, let's only cut back on marketing. Uh, oh. You just cut off the fuel that is supplying your sales engine. Can you already hear the sputtering noise of a struggling sales team?

"Even worse, marketing and communications are often cut more than other areas. Our work is sometimes perceived as being expendable, rather than recognized as a critical means of generating revenue, raising awareness, etc." - Nancy Schwartz & Company

It's a tough business decision when things are not going according to plan, but to slam the door on your marketing efforts, initiatives and proactive efforts doesn't help. Think back to the dot com days when in 2001, the dot com bust all but killed advertising, trade shows, etc. The smart companies took advantage of this and invested in their marketing. They didn't run and bury their heads in the sand. Vonage is struggling with this very aspect and it seems 'doing anything' to recognize profitability. It will be more than interesting to see how (or if) they recover.

This isn't to suggest you ignore poor business performance and allow the bleeding to continue. Great company leaders understand there are plenty of overhead areas that can be reduced before shutting off their sales fuel. And, making the right adjustments to your sales and marketing efforts during these times will eventually pay off for you. Otherwise, you're going to be expecting the improbable and likely the impossible.

Fuel-up and go get those deals!

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