So you've got a new product all set to be released. Or maybe you're a start-up that's finally ready to launch. Whatever stage you're in, it's time to start marketing your product and driving revenue.
But before you put up that billboard or buy that magazine ad, it's a good idea to take a step back and make sure your strategy is going to get you the results you want.
Before you can build a successful marketing campaign, you have to have a firm grasp on who exactly your potential customers are. Who is the group of people you are trying to attract? What motivates them? How do they define success?
Try to imagine what things these potential customers would buy in their personal lives. For example, what kind of car might they drive? A person who drives a Prius needs to be marketed to differently than one who drives a Jaguar; and a person who drives a Jaguar is different from someone who drives a Volvo. This may seem like a small, irrelevant detail, but it's not. Knowing someone's personal preferences can inform you about how they'll make business decisions — thus impacting the tone in which you market to them. There's no one-size-fits-all to effective messaging.
Early in my career, I made the assumption that if I found something intriguing so would others — it's a natural mistake. And while that assumption is sometimes true, it's just as often false.
While you may find your product exciting (you better), you need to realise that members of your target audience don't wake up in the morning and think about how much they need your product. Rather, it's our job as marketers to grab our audience's attention, and demonstrate why our product has tangible worth to them.
I recently spoke to a CEO about his marketing strategy. He told me that his company doesn't really have a plan other than word of mouth. While having customers who evangelise your product is a beautiful thing, word of mouth does not take the place of crafting a go-to-market strategy.
Frankly, if your strategy revolves solely around word of mouth, you're in trouble. While it's a great side benefit, just spreading the word isn't enough to drive sales and produce results.
You need to develop a strategy based on how you can appeal to certain customers, by communicating through the mediums that will reach your audience most effectively. If you do these things, word of mouth will happen naturally.
We all know that guy who is constantly using business jargon in conversations. He's always saying, "let's take this offline," or "I own this action item" or "we need to optimise this process" and, truth be told, we all find him a little annoying. Don't do the same thing in marketing: When you have three to five seconds to get someone's attention, you can't afford to annoy them in the slightest.
Do yourself a favour and use everyday words in your messaging. While you may have a sophisticated audience, there's no need to sacrifice clarity for the sake of flexing your vocabulary.
As marketers we're fortunate to have technology on our side. Think about it — 15 years ago getting market feedback meant pulling together a focus group to test your message. Now, you can run a/b testing and, in a matter of hours, get valuable feedback on everything from which message resonates to the your most effective email subject line. You'll immediately have a better idea of what's working, and what's not.
So while there is ample technology out there to make all of this possible, actually using data to adjust your messaging is something that many marketers talk about, but rarely practice.
Here's my suggestion: put a repeatable plan in place to revisit your current message or program. Schedule weekly reviews of data to determine where pivots need to be made. Avoid the trap of getting a slew of data first, and then analysing it later. Just like decorating a new home, if you don't do it right away, six months later boxes are still in the corner half unpacked. Don't let your marketing strategy suffer the same fate.
Joe Hyland is Chief Marketing Officer at Taulia.