Five Marketing Communication Sins – Does Your Company Commit Them?

It is sometimes amazing how stubbornly companies and their marketers cling to old-fashioned, clich├ęd and downright wrong ideas of how they should market their companies and their products or services. Here is a collection of self-destructive obsessions from my 20-year marketing communication career.

1. Me, myself and I

The most efficient way to end a date abruptly is to talk about yourself all the time. Why would your customer think differently?

When you go to almost any company’s website or read their marketing literature, you will be inundated with talk about what WE can do, what OUR values are or how OUR products perform.

Let’s be honest: the customer couldn’t care less about YOU. She wants to know “what’s in it for ME”. Instead of knowing that your machine does X thousand revolutions per minute, she needs information on how her business will do better if it buys a machine that does X thousand revolutions per minute.

In other words, don’t just tell about features. Go ahead and transform them into advantages and benefits.

2. Mass individualism

It may be fun to create terms that only have a meaning to you, or your advertising agency. But what will your customers think?

The example above is from real life, but let’s not reveal who is the culprit. The company was so proud of this flash of genius that it made it the motto of their retail chain. Obviously, nobody came to think that in only two words, magnificently contradictory, they managed to create mass confusion.

The moral of the story: When you’re creating mottos, taglines or slogans, make sense. Adapt the terminology to your target group and remember that people need to understand what you’re saying immediately. And for heaven’s sake, be clear about what your business is about and what it tries to achieve.

3. We are the best partner you can imagine

If you don’t know how to quantify your offering, maybe you should start practising. Soon and hard.

I recently ran into the website of a web design company that claimed to be “the best web design company for you”. Given that a quick Google search on “web design company” gives 86,500,000 (yes, eighty-six-and-a-half million) results, I have my doubts.

Just claiming something doesn’t make you an expert. Proving it does. Again, make it crystal clear what the customer’s benefit of doing business with you instead of your competitors is.

4. This is how it’s always been done in our industry

Has it brought any results? As Einstein said: Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

The funniest – or most tragic – aspect of many companies’ resistance to changing their message or tone of voice is that a) they seek the help of a marketing communication specialist to improve the results of their business, and b) when they are getting the help, they still want to do it the old way. Which needed to be changed to improve the business, remember?

Particularly in times like these when the economy is slowing down, it might be an idea to be the first to break the conventions of your industry. It takes some courage, definitely, but may produce results that surprise you.

5. Our marketing team didn’t like your suggestion

All right, that’s infinity minus one. Helps the ad agency a lot.

When your marketing message is being crafted, whoever is crafting it may not hit the nail on the head the first time. Perhaps he was sloppy, but equally well it may have been an insufficient or unclear brief. That’s why the writer or the design team need a detailed dissection of WHY the suggestion didn’t fare.

Besides, it is totally irrelevant what your marketing team likes or does not like. What matters is what the target group thinks. Test, research, find out. Then adapt.

Build a Simple Yet Effective Marketing Communications Strategy

If you’re an entrepreneur or small business that believes marketing communications strategy is an ideal just for huge corporations with large marketing staff and that you don’t need one, you’re doing yourself and your company a major disservice.

It’s just like that old adage: if you don’t know where you’re headed, you will end up somewhere else. You wouldn’t embark on a cross-country road trip to a destination without a road map or GPS. Similarly, you shouldn’t be marketing without a strategy- no matter how simple or complex.

Now that we’ve established that you need a strategy. What do you need to do to create one? Take a step back and assess your business objectively. Yes, you need to be able to understand your strengths and weaknesses- be honest with yourself. Start a simple document that answers these questions:

What is the opportunity? (Examples: To position XYZ company as the preferred supplier of Product or Service C; Creating a market for ABC; Creating awareness of ABC brand, etc.)

Where is the primary market located? (Examples: Downtown Cincinnati, online on particular types of websites, etc.)

Who are the main/ideal clients? (Examples: Small businesses, attorneys offices, work-at-home-mothers, etc.)

When is the ideal time they are in the market for my product? (Examples: spring for summer lawn service, morning for coffee, etc.)

How can my company best reach them? Consider different marketing communications tactics. Following is a list for consideration: advertising, public relations, promotional items, conferences, networking, direct mail, collateral (business cards, letterhead, envelopes, brochures, etc.), newsletters, website development, search engine optimization/pay per click (SEO/PPC) campaigns, etc.

Answering these questions will give you the basics of a developed marketing strategy. There’s one additional step that’s critical. You need to ask yourself a couple more questions:

What are the Keys to Success? (Examples: Commitment to plan, training on software, etc.)

What are Things to Avoid in the Strategy? (Example: Selling on Price)

Once complete, put this somewhere where it will be a continual reminder to focus on your marketing strategy and implement it. Don’t file this strategic overview where no one will act upon it. This is a living document that should change and grow as the business does.

Developing Your Balanced Marketing Plan For Lead Generation

Leads are the fuel that feeds the fire for all of our business developments. When they are not coming into your business funnel, your marketing plan is more than likely at fault. This article is all about fixing this through designing and implementing a structured 90 day plan. You will learn why you need this plan, the importance of a balanced free and paid marketing plan, planning your day and the power of focusing on one strategy for your 90 day plan.

Distractions are most of the time our number one enemy when it comes to any type of plan of action. It even starts with the daily attack of all “the new, great and guaranteed to get you results” emails in your inbox every morning! Your marketing plan, which should be structured within a 90 day time frame, is really the most important component of your business. All successful marketers work off of some kind of plan created to help them track progress and have discipline. I am currently in the process or making my second 90 day plan which will be very different from the first. Why? I have learned so much since the first and by the third plan it should look different from the second.

Failing to plan is planning to fail. I don’t know how many times I’ve heard this. Truth is, the more the better as this is a fundamental truth to any success we plan on having. I found that most people fail when they dabble in too many marketing strategies instead of mastering just one or two proven strategies. I found this true with myself as I needed to narrow my focus to get results and not be all over the place. I would suggest selecting one or two marketing strategies and spend the next 90 days becoming a master at them. Two good examples might be video marketing and article marketing. Both are not only cheap but fun!

Designing your marketing campaign using only paid marketing strategies is not a good idea. Most new marketers did what I almost did and that is spending one’s self out of the “game”. Remember, it will take time to reach the right conversion metrics on any single marketing strategy. That’s why your 90 day plan is so important! You need the time to master the skill to get the results you need to grow your business. You can then move on and master another strategy. If you are using only paid strategies you will limit yourself to what you can accomplish using free marketing strategies. Don’t buy it when you are told free marketing strategies equate to sub-par results. That is simply not true. I personally have generated more leads using free marketing strategies and so can you! Bottom line, you never have to worry about your advertising budget when you are generating leads for free!

Truth is just about every marketing strategy works. But you won’t see results in a time period of only two weeks. Here is a quick break down of a 90 day plan with month number six in mind with a goal:

  1. First month is testing and learning with a small budget.
  2. Month two brings a winning campaign or two that you are getting results and working to master.
  3. The third month you will have a number of winning campaigns with profitable ad groups that keep converting better and better.
  4. Month six equals two completed 90 day plans. Now you could be and should be at about 200 leads per week converting at a good percentage.

You want to reach the three pillars of Jedi Marketing Mastery. This is going from good, to great and landing on mastery of your selected marketing strategies. Reaching “great” is a good time to introduce another strategy to your plan if desired. Please be sure you think it through and know it is in your best interest to start another marketing “project”. It takes patience and persistence to become a Jedi Marketing Master of anything. You will make mistakes and will have to overcome obstacles and challenges. That comes with the territory and you must remember those who become masters are unstoppable in their mission to mastery.

A 90 day plan can only be set up and used by you. You and I both know there are many tools to use to organize our day to stay on track. I can tell you a secret that you probably don’t know. The secret is to focus on one type of marketing strategy per day. For example, the allotted time you set for your daily marketing might be one four hour slot or two slots of two hours each. Select and focus on one marketing strategy for the day. Don’t do video marketing for two hours, one hour to write an article and the last hour to create a pay-per-click campaign online. You are too scattered and your results at best will be scattered.

In conclusion, my hope is you got something from this to move you to create your 90 day plan. Once again, it won’t be perfect and is not supposed to be. In fact it will be down right challenging at first. All successful marketers must go through this and learn for themselves what their 90 day plan will look like. They then adjust and fine tune it until it serves them and their business. Best of luck to you in you 90 day plan and marketing strategies!