5 steps to be more effective in marketing

Marketers face inclining budgets with times of economic downturn, as marketing budgets are mostly directly related to (expected) turnover. Combined with the ever growing impact of Facebook, Youtube, Twitter, internet, targeted marketing, narrow casting to name a few, marketers face the ultimate challenge: how can I manage all these channels, trends and activities in my 40 hour workweek with my co-workers, with less budget than 2011?

1. get a FOCUS: attract – retain – expose.

What do you want to achieve? Get more customers? A better retention? More brand awareness? Sure, you’ll want all. But you can’t evenly get it all. So what’s your focus? Based on that, define your core marketing strategy for this year. Give it a catching label, that everyone will understand.

Consider this case from a major newspaper in the Netherlands. After having seen all figures going down for a couple of years (as with all other newspapers), it was time for a change. The newspaper was bought by some investors and they appointed a new director. He did what only few do in such a situation: he really simplified the target to the bare bone: ONE. 2011 was the year of the number ONE. ONE more subscription, ONE more Euro Advertisement turnover, ONE Euro profit on the internet activities. ONE (more than 2010).

What we can learn from this is the super clear focus the marketing department had. Retain our subscribers and get one more, retain our advertisers and get one more Euro, and so on. Everyone knew what to achieve. Not how to do it, but it was the guideline, clearly stated.

2. define marketing CHUNKS you can manage

Now we’re getting confused. Marketing chunks? What do they look like? The answer is simple: marketing chunks your team can chew, your team can handle, you and your partners can execute. You’re probably not as big as Apple or BMW, just to name a few, so your budget and team is limited, your channel exposure also. Define your chunks in such a way that your able to manage, monitor and adjust it.

Another case: an US based company started a social activity for a specific product (I know, this is rather vague). A big pop star received this product and the company was hoping that he would say something in his blog/Facebook page about it. He did. With way over 5 million followers, this is not bad. It’s good actually! And: within a week, the company saw an increase of 200K hits on their products pages. What did they do with it? Baffled as they were… nothing. It had created exposure, but they were unable to do more with it. The chunk was too big, focus unclear and handling capabilities way too low.

3. define the MAIN CARRIER for your chunks

Now everyone will tell you that you should go multi-channel for your marketing messages. Spread it over all the online and offline media. Most will argument that the offline user is also an active online user, that the integration of all channels has taken place, hence that differentiating between channels is not done. Think twice. Is your FB subscriber in the same mode when watching TV? Or when reading a magazine? Is your Twitter follower acting the same way as he would do offline? Receiving a product notification with a special sales price tag in a tweet has another action impact than in printed versions or on a website. Spreading all messages multi-channel will not only make you lose focus, above that; you’ll certainly need more internal or external workforce to handle it.

4. AUTOMATE repetitive tasks

Be honest: how often do your messages throughout your campaigns differ in uniqueness? How often do you change the core layout? A campaign is always started with defining the core structure of your marketing message and then differentiate it to the specific needs of the message, the channel or your target group. Automating your marketing execution with for example web to publish functions like BrandMaker, will help you achieve substantial savings, specifically in reducing agency costs, since they’re only needed for setting up the ‘core system’ and fine tuning it per specific action. And not charging each time the full amount for every change you require.

5. monitor it all with your marketing DASHBOARD

Each marketer will tell me he or she’s got a perfect dashboard. Created with numerous spreadsheets and input from many outside agencies and internal systems, eventually there’ll be something like a KPI overview. The amount of time spent on creating these KPI overviews is being pushed to the limits with the ever growing amount of channels and systems you need to integrate. Find a better way that will save you money. Try something like the marketing dashboard from BrandMaker. Integrated view on all your campaigns, activities and budgets. Save time and money and be in charge again, with one central dashboard, updated instantly and used by all of your co-workers.

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