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In a business world fixated on short-term results, it’s tempting to focus on tactics – the “how” of your marketing plan. But effective marketers first create a plan – the “what” and “why” of brand development and performance. Below are two things to keep top of mind when working on your strategy:

Remember the Customer Comes First
Effective marketers immerse themselves in the mindset of current and prospective customers. Do you know why they choose your product/service? Or (gulp) why they don’t? What’s the deciding factor? Price? Convenience? Loyalty? What do these current and prospective customers like about your product/service? What don’t they like?

If possible, watch them use your product or service. Do “pain points” come up, creating frustration? How about moments of satisfaction? Also, observe people as they use your competitors’ products and services.

Include Emotion in the Equation
While marketing must convey the essential benefits of what you’re selling, don’t stop there. People will always be motivated by a combination of reason and emotion. Be sure you’ve created a compelling proposition that identifies wants as well as needs. “Need” just puts an item on somebody’s to-do list, while “want” compels them to pull out the credit card.

Start with a strong strategy and you’ll have a foundation on which to build a successful marketing plan. Effective marketers never become complacent; be on the lookout for new tools and technologies for delivering your message. Just think of how Twitter, Pinterest and YouTube have changed the marketing landscape in the past few years.

Being an effective marketer means staying alert to trends and
adapt innovations into your overall strategy.

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Bob Wendt, President
Cultivate Communications

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