Every day I see companies struggling with their marketing efforts. Sometimes it’s from ignorance about goals and objectives, other times it’s from ignorance about what medias to use and how to use them. Even more common, it’s because the company is afraid to break out of the mold – “it’s always been done this way”, or “look at this big company, this is how they do it”, even down to actually copying word for word other industry posts or websites.
We live in a noisy world. Where too many of us head in the same direction and not enough create our own path. As everyone clamors for the latest and greatest apps and social medias, things get hyped and other things get forgotten… and somewhere in there, the company’s identity loses itself too. We forget everything we’ve ever known about opportunities and strengths and positioning ourselves by what we do different… often with the thought that we’re not different, really, at all.
And you know what? You’re right.
We aren’t different unless we make ourselves seek out different. Unless we take risks, to choose things that our industry isn’t doing and be the trendsetter. While copying may be a form of flattery, it can also be a form of stale marketing. And stale marketing is one of the leading causes of brand death.
The good news – it’s curable. But how?
First things first – it’s ok to look at your competitors and other businesses in your market. Just remember, they’re not you, and you don’t know their whole story. The journey of a business plays a role in how it should market. Just because it looks like it works for them doesn’t mean it’s a magic pill for success – because honestly, there is no magic pill in business.
Second, truly identify your target market. How old are they? What’s their income like? What do they value? How do they make decisions? Don’t be afraid to get too narrow – be afraid to be too vague.
Next, open your eyes. Your industry is not the only business sector that is targeting that client you just described. Figure out who those businesses are, what they do well, and how they do it. You encounter businesses every day that fall into this category – and they’re doing it well. Leave no industry unturned … look everywhere.
Lots of great ideas out there, right? But how do you translate those into ideas your business can use? From things as simple as the language, the style of images, or the delivery of their marketing – you can emulate the best.
Are they using social media? What channels are they present on the most, and where do they have “placeholders”?
What about print? Are they using large format graphics in their stores and offices, are they sending direct mail campaigns and using signage? Chances are, they are – because they know that a well-rounded marketing approach cuts through what “everyone is doing” – and it allows them another way to make their brand tangible.
These brands are also seeking out the latest and greatest. They watch things like Google Alerts, Flipboard, ScoopIt, Feedly reader, theNeeds and more, to see what is coming out next. They assess whether the new tech is going to hit with their market, and if it’s a match they jump in – with a plan.
If they’re a high end luxury brand targeting the boomers, you won’t find them on Snapchat – that’s not what I mean. They’re making decisions based on smart marketing, and a defined approach. If you have a feeling that people like your market will “be all in” for an app, then you need to be there – and sooner rather than later.
That being said – don’t go in on a presence that you can’t maintain. Don’t be a one-and-done with any of your marketing. Social media, print, even phone calls and emails need saturation over time to become effective. If you don’t understand, seek out and hire or contract someone who does.
OK, got it. Now what?
Right now what we’re finding is that the businesses that are cornering their market are the ones who take a cross-media approach. They’ve created a brand presence that includes each branch of their medias like parts of a body. Each has a different function that leads to the same goal. Their business is the head, the social media the hands, the customer service the heart, the print the legs, and so on. Their brand has a full-fledged identity that stands out from the rest, because you can experience it – everywhere. Yours can do that too.
So what are you waiting for? Ready to cure your “stale marketing”?
Just take the steps we mentioned earlier:
1. Identify your market
2. Do research on businesses that target a similar market – outside your industry
3. Identify what is working and what appeals to you
4. Create a plan to emulate (not copy) some of those approaches
5. Add print to your mix
And most of all …