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Sunday, January 16, 2011

During the last week, I had some really great conversation with fellow marketers. Whenever we see each other, we always come back to the fundamentals of marketing. What separates good marketing from bad marketing? Where are the boundaries of marketing? Where do marketing and sales need to work together and when do they work independently?

In my opinion, it's easy to find bad marketing but a little more challenging to find good marketing. If the marketing you are doing, or would like to do for your business, can accomplish a few basic objectives, you can in fact call it "good marketing."

1. Does your marketing speak to your audience? Does your print, email, or web communication speak to your market the way they want to be spoken to? Are you communicating based on knowledge and understanding of your audience?

One of the most important aspects of effective marketing is messaging! If you speak to your target market based on your understanding of what is important to them, their needs, and where they are in the decision making process, then you just found good marketing.

2. Does your offer resonate with your market? If you offer a buy one get one half off, does your target really care about the second item? For example, if I go to the movies by myself and the theater is offering buy one and get the second half off, this doesn't appeal to me. However, if they give me a coupon for $1 off a medium popcorn, I may purchase something I didn't go there intending to buy.

Always be testing and working different offers in order to find out what will resonate with your audience. Which offers do your target audience truly value?

3. Are you timing your campaigns appropriately?  If you're emailing everyone when they are attending the industry's national convention, your chances of a good response are very limited.  If you understand your audience (tip #1) and their schedule, you are in a much better position to have marketing success.  Sending emails to students who are away on Spring break won't help your business - neither will sending b to b emails on a Friday afternoon.  Know the schedule of your audience if you want to do "good marketing".

4.  Create a dialogue with your audience.  To know your audience you must interact with them on a regular basis.  If all you're doing is pushing information out, you aren't in tune with what your audience is thinking and doing.  The best way to create a dialogue with your audience is to ask them for feedback.  Surveys, open ended questions, and contests are a great way to get information about their thoughts and behaviors.

By creating a constant feedback loop you can improve the response to your marketing campaigns.  In addition, you can get helpful information that fine tunes your campaigns and improves response rates.

Know your audience, find a relevant offer and target your market at the right time.  With these simple steps you can improve your marketing results!


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