Tag Archives: marketing strategy

More. Better. Faster: The New Age of Marketing.

The world is running faster, and marketers need to get ahead of it. By the time a conventional marketing plan is created, it’s quite possible that the ground beneath it has moved. Our brands still need strategic gyroscopes, but they need to be created on the fly. It’s time to shed the old rules and approaches, and get fast! Here’s how:

Write long-term, realistic business objectives. But keep the strategies to achieve them shorter term and fluid.

Knowing who you are, why people are excited to come to work, and why your customers do business with you: That’s the core of your marketing not the ad du jour.

Inhale information to feed your brain. Download a good RSS reader. Keep track of your reputation, the competition, consumer and technological trends. Follow your customers and the information they chase. How can you turn it into action today?

Build your content distribution network. It’s the key to achieving ROI with content marketing. Create engaging, informative, funny, shareable content and adapt it to every social media platform you have. If people in your group can’t create content, make it their job to share it.

Accept more risk. Deploy tactics quickly to take advantage of emerging opportunities. Learn what you can from failures and move on. Thinking is good. Acting is better.

Communicate more often across more channels. Content matters, but so does frequency. Tweet, Pin, blog, Friend, and Follow as often as it makes sense.

Be relevant. Concentrate on engaged fans, customers, and potential customers. Tailor content marketing to their needs and wants.

Recruit people within your company but outside the marketing group to join forces on social media.

Have more meetings to share information within your group, but make them shorter. Ten minutes is best.

Get good intel. Spend less time on conventional research, but more time with analytics and monitoring. They tell you what people are actually doing in real time, as opposed to what they might do in the future.

Use the Internet to speed up cycle time for research. Put online focus groups and surveys to work. For even faster response, recruit a panel that’s familiar with your industry.

Be tactical in the short term, but never stop searching for the big idea that could crystallize your brand and catapult you to the next level.

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Choose Your Marketing Weapons Carefully – Infographic

This infographic is like a mini-marketing plan. Pick your goals, e.g. brand awareness, brand loyalty or sales, and it will help you choose the marketing tactics to achieve it.  We know strategies vary from industry to industry, so think of this as something meaty to add to your advertising soup. Or use it as a check list to make sure you haven’t left out an important ingredient.

Download PDF of Marketing Weapon Selector

Mini marketing plan infographic

Download PDF of Marketing Weapon Selector

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Pull Your Marketing Strategy Out of the Muck

The mode of most marketing programs now is mainly reactive — keeping up with shareholder demands, justifying budgets with analytics, and trying to keep up with an ocean of tactical options. Nuts and bolts thinking and perfect execution are critical. But they’re also a trap robbing you of the time you need to think strategically.

Wondering where to start? Consider these key strategies to put your business in motion.

Earning Mindshare

The position of your company in the mind of the consumer is the most important strategy of all. Most consumers only retain 3 to 5 products max in any given category. If you’re not among the leaders yet, you have several choices:

  • Improve or reposition the product so it’s competitive
  • Narrow your niche, so you can lead your category
  • Conserve your resources, retreat, and try again
  • Change the marketing if you think messaging is the problem
  • Sell your company to a competitor

Marketing is the tool you use to advance your brand in the consumer’s mind. But unless your product is in place, and you have the potential to become a leader in your category, it’s just an expensive diversion.

Instead of chipping away at territory firmly held by much larger and entrenched competitors, use smart strategies to own a market you define.

Location: Find the Sweet Spot for Your Business

As generals from Sun Tzu to Eisenhower to Sam Walton can attest, location is everything. For businesses, though, location isn’t just geographical space a store occupies; it’s the place your brand occupies in the mind of the consumer, your employees and competition.

Step one. Find your place in the market and occupy it. You’ll need a branding proposition, an opportunistic location, and a market niche you can dominate. Wal-Mart’s strategy, for instance, was to become the single source supplier for every small town in America. It wasn’t considered a lucrative market for other chain stores, but Wal-Mart drove down costs in its stores and throughout its distribution chain. As a result, Wal-Mart is not only hugely successful as a business; it’s also very difficult to attack strategically.

All Roads Should Point to Your Website

Your web space, including your website, social media, blogs, and web advertising, is the most important hub of your brand. Delivering and coordinating the messages through these channels is also a challenge. So consider how easy or difficult it is to access your site via search, backlinks, social media, or referrals? Just like a hot retail location, better access and more traffic convert to sales.

Relationships with Competitors

We tend to become preoccupied with our own business and ignore what’s happening in the minds of our competitors. Our stance is often hostile, while we would benefit more from quietly pursuing our objectives and maintaining friendly relationships with the bad guys.

Until you’re ready to make a swift move in the market, don’t allow your business to be perceived as a threat to your competitors. Instead of ceding ground to you, your larger competitor will react by throwing up obstacles, or deciding to enter the fray themselves. Secrecy is underrated.

Marketing Strategy Tips

  • Don’t expend valuable resources fighting larger competitors, go around them.
  • Make sure your product has a unique benefit or experience that consumers need and want.
  • Seek accessibility through search engine marketing and numerous backlinks in the same way you would demand access and parking for a retail store.
  • Create a strategy that will earn a leadership position in the prospect’s mind.
  • As they tell horse handlers, “move slow and keep your hands low.” Don’t act overtly aggressive toward competitors, or they might decide to squash you.
  • Innovate continuously otherwise your customers will become bored with you.

Please leave your thoughts on strategy in the comments below.

For information about creating a strategy for your business, call Susan Abramovitz, president and branding director at 513-947-1444, ext. 10

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Top 10 Signs You Need A Marketing Plan


  1. Your company isn’t among the top three-to-five names that prospective customers name in your category
  2. You don’t have adequate analytics to determine which part of your marketing budget is driving results
  3. Your leads don’t actually lead anywhere
  4. You don’t have reliable information about how your customers regard your company and products, and what’s driving their buying decisions
  5. You’re unclear, or there is no consensus in your organization, about your company’s top vulnerabilities and strengths
  6. You’re forced to be reactive, balancing demands from different departments and brands
  7. Your company is stuck on the same tactics you used five years ago, and hasn’t embraced social media, mobile, blogs or email marketing
  8. Your budget was cut, but you’re still supporting the same number of programs
  9. The only thing standing between you and your sales goal is another brochure
  10. You are the one person invested in the totality of marketing effectiveness

Don’t worry, we can help. Call Susan Abramovitz, president, directly or learn more about brand strategy on our site. For in-depth  information about making your own plan, see The American Marketing Association’s newsletter.

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Winning Market Share With Made In America

 

Waving the flag might not be your thing, but there’s a growing trend, according to Perception Research Services, that “Made in America” is a deciding factor in 60 percent of purchases.

This consumer sentiment is the result of several factors: Resentment at the off-shoring of jobs and the resulting high unemployment rate; the belief that American products are safer and of higher quality, especially in the toy category; the increased focus on U.S. economic problems; and the sense that we all need to pull together.

In some categories, made in America could actually be the major differentiation between you and your competition. Your company can take advantage of this trend by labeling products made in America, retooling the corporate paragraph in your press releases and incorporating the language discretely on your website.

Want to be more aggressive? Design an advertising campaign or promotion built around made in America, like the ads we created for Reliance Medical Products. Keep in mind, though:

Nationalism isn’t magic fairy dust. First and foremost, your product needs to be the best.

 

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Bad Brand Strategy Spoils Creative

We view brand strategy as the guidance system of the brand. When smartly researched and articulated, it can transform companies. It’s also the key reason creative work, from social media and web site development to advertising and web marketing goes haywire. Give creative teams garbage, they’ll give it right back to you in crazy ways you never dreamed of.

Here are the elements of a smart strategy:

1. A worthy objective. Ideally it’s attached to a metric. For example: increase sales 20% for BillyBob’s Bar Stools.

2. A clear definition of a single marketing problem that’s standing between your product, and achieving the objective. For example, Billy Bob’s Bar Stools are more expensive than the competition, and Bar Owners won’t to pay the difference.

3. Definition of your target audience. Be as specific as possible: For example, upscale bar owners and restaurant owners that serve microbrews.

4. A single sentence that states your argument. For example, Marketing will convince Bar Owners that Billy Bob’s Bar Stools are a better investment, because they last twice as long as the competition.

5. A convincing and true claim that supports your marketing promise. Billy Bob’s Bar Stools last longer, because they’re manufactured from construction grade steel.Finally, what does your brand sound like? Does Billy Bob sound like a private club, a college bar, or a neighborhood watering hole.

6. Strategy shouldn’t sound sexy, or like advertising. The goal is to present a clear argument for building your brand. As John Lyons said in his book, <i>Guts</i>, Strategy is a well thought out plan to murder the competition.”

With smart strategy, everybody’s happy. Creatives get the input they need. And you, as a marketing manager, will have a benchmark evaluating your agency’s work.

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Ad strategy with Sun Tzu, Shaq and Phil Jackson

We love using war and sports metaphors in marketing. “Hey, Ted, let’s
blow away the competition next quarter.” Sure, and on the weekends
he’ll organize an Amish terrorist cell to take over an Arby’s.

Everyone wants to “beat” the competition. That’s human nature. But
is it wise? And how will you do it? And can you do it without
splattering your budget all over the wall.

Possibly the greatest warrior in history based his strategies on
avoiding conflict. Sun Tzu (ca. 500 BCE) was no wuss, but he considered
war to be wasteful of the empire’s human, cultural and physical
resources. World leaders have been slow to catch on, but Phil Jackson,
who led the Laker’s to three consecutive championships, certainly
hasn’t.

One of Sun Tzu’s central precepts was that the army with the
greatest force at the critical point would win. That point for Phil
Jackson is an 18-inch in diameter hoop, 10 feet off the ground, known
as the basket. Based on this fact alone, Back when the Lakers had Shaq, Sun Tzu would have predicted
the Lakers victory before the season began. At
7’1″ and 315 pounds, Shaq is an unmovable object that is closer to the
basket than anyone on the floor. Jackson knows that nobody can stop
Shaq, and as long as the rest of the team understands the strategy, the
Lakers win. When they don’t, they lose.

You need a strategy. A simple one. And everyone in your company has
to understand it. One that clearly defines the area where you can bring
an overwhelming force to bear. In other words, pass the ball to Shaq.

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