7 steps to getting an edge through marketing
We asked ourselves this question of our own business this week – how will our own agency, First 10, grow commercial success in digital marketing as well as deliver that as a service to our clients? How will we walk the talk, too.
We wrote down the key seven factors to help us avoid those false gods of advertising (in any shape) and dedicated sales people who so often plague our industry. We came up with a list in order of importance – and we liked it – so I thought I’d share it with you since I think it applies to marketing across different types of businesses…
- Improve the product (or service) – having worked in senior positions both client and agency side I cannot stress how this is the most important way to improve commercial success. Marketing is baked in. Sounds obvious, right. If your product or service is fundamentally poor, irrelevant, expensive or just undifferentiated or uninteresting, then all the marketing in the world will only provide limited results. We were discussing that in our industry the bar needs to be high – the core product needs to be outstanding, it needs to be remarkable. Keeping innovation at the forefront – after all if you’re not innovating then aren’t you effectively falling behind?
- Delivering happiness – OK so I am stealing that from Tony Hsieh who founded Zappos, after all they do represent the holy grail in a very unlikely industry. I am talking about how Zappos deliver customer experience and service here.
How you deliver your product, the experience that you give, or not (for some that experience is the product) is a close second. If you can make the buying, browsing or research experience interesting in itself then this too is of importance beyond marketing. I’d suggest that this function really ought to be owned by marketing too – how your customer feels throughout the buy-cycle is of paramount importance in how they might interact and so amplify your story to others.
- Imagination and ideas – I toyed with this being number one, I’ve put it at number three with a caveat that these first three grouped together form the keystone must-haves to underpin modern marketing in our connected and increasingly mobile world.
Imagining great creative and insights without first knowing your customer is a fallacy, is the first point here. If you think about your product/service first in your creative execution then that’s sales promotion, not marketing. Do this well and you’ll naturally start to draw on your own USPs, you’ll look and feel different – relevant, even. This isn’t about creative in only the pure sense either – I include use of technology, campaign design, even the questions that you ask of your data and the insight that you derive.
- Data, measurement and scaling software – Big Data is the a hot buzz word right now. Whether it’s big or small, there is no marketing of real value without data, and more importantly using that data to garner insights. It’s interesting that as more people move into ‘digital’ (both agencies and clients who continue to invest budget away from conventional advertising) there remains too little focus on the cycle of insight gathering, setting clear objectives and KPIs, testing, refining and improving. The old adage applies – “if you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it”.
There are too many platforms and options to enable an excuse too, from Google Analytics to social monitoring tools such as Radian6 and into marketing platforms such as Genius and Marketo – there’s really no excuse. Design your marketing to scale by harnessing data and the software needed.
- Talent and life-long learning – It goes without saying, especially in our industry, that talented people are very hard to find, and retain. Think across content creation, strategy, management, analytics. We all need to recruit the best. It goes without saying that training is central to attracting, growing and retaining great people too. The only thing worse than investing in someone talented and they leave your business is not investing in them and they stay and degrade from what made the brilliant originally.
- Thought leadership – give great people a platform to build their personal brand publicly. Stand your brand on their collective shoulders as well as the wider industry by working with related experts and guests. Thought leadership at every level.
- Mission – know where you’re going and why. Commercial objectives are one thing, but why, what’s the point – what’s your brands reason for being in the first place?
I hope our brainstorm is of use to you – please share any comments and ideas in the comments!