Many organizations neglect to regularly update their marketing strategy. Audiences change, needs change, and your message can get lost in the shuffle. Create a regular review process and remember the fundamentals. Let’s take a look at five fundamental marketing questions that will keep your marketing strategy strong and effective.
1. Who Are You Marketing To?
Establishing your audience is something that every business does. It’s part of the business plan. You establish the demographics and work hard to understand the wants and needs of your audience. If you’re really on top of things, you’ve added your audience psychographics—details on the way your clients behave and what they value.
Unfortunately, as business grows, staying on top of your target audience sometimes falls by the wayside. The belief, often false, is that you’re marketing to the same people today that you were when you started your business. And that’s rarely the case.
In fact, it’s conceivable that your audience changes and evolves on a regular basis. And let’s face it; if you’re not marketing to the right businesses and people, you’re wasting a lot of company time, energy, and money.
The task is to create a system to consistently analyze and modify your target audience and to make sure your personas are kept up to date. Let’s explore what a persona is and why you probably have more than one target audience.
An audience persona is a description of a specific customer. If you take a look at your existing customers they probably fall into a few different categories. A persona would identify their role in the organization and their role in the buying decision— a user, an influencer or the decision-maker. It would include details on the problems that they face, how they strive to find solutions, their values, their priorities, and what drives their buying decisions. As you evaluate your current customers you’ll realize that you can’t narrow them down into one or two average representations.
Your marketing goals are to design and cater your message to specific audiences, which means that you need to dig deeper for a more detailed view of them. This puts you in a position to interact with them based on their needs, motivations, values, buying habits and so on. Your marketing message will be more targeted, and ultimately more successful.
At a minimum, review and revise your audience personas on an annual basis and make this part of your marketing system. You can find some additional tips on keeping your buyer personas fresh here.
2. Where Does Your Audience Hang Out?
The second key fundamental to stay on top of is reaching your target audience where they live, work, and hang out. Where do they spend their time during the work day? Are they in the board room or are they in the field? Are they digging online for information and, if so, what sites do they use? What blogs do they frequent? How do they like to receive their information?
To fully understand where your audience hangs out and what they do all day, you need to know a bit about them. This goes back to that audience or buyer persona. Are you dealing with upper level management or sales professionals? What are their primary responsibilities at their job? This information helps you identify their pain points, which are again a source of knowledge to help you create a stronger marketing message.
When you have a better understanding of exactly who you’re marketing to, you can then position your marketing message to reach them where they hang out. Like trends and tools, where your audience hangs out is going to change over time too. Be sure to consider if there are networks, groups, organizations, to add to your marketing and places you ought to pass on.
3. How Have Your Target Audience Needs Changed?
What problems are keeping your target audience awake at night? What problems are they solving by using your products and services? Needs change over time, so it’s essential to stay on top of the changing needs of your audience. Not only does this information position you to solve their current and evolving problems, it also gives you the information you need to create more targeted marketing messages.
Understanding the evolving needs of your audience can be a little tricky. Use tools like Google Alerts and LinkedIn Groups, and read industry publications including top blogs to stay on top of trends and issues. Also make sure to follow your top customers online.
4. Is Your Message Still Unique?
Does your marketing message still grab attention? Does it still speak to your audience and stand above all of the other marketing they’re exposed to? Your audience likely receives hundreds of marketing messages on a daily basis. Between print ads, emails, social media ads and posts and even billboards and sales calls – they’re being endlessly marketed to. How does your current message stand out from all this “noise?”
Again, think about your audience. Chances are the B2B audience just doesn’t have time for long-winded marketing messages. Use the KISS Principle – Keep It Short & Simple. The more focused, clear, and value drive your message is, the better the results. Tell your prospects exactly how your product or service will solve their needs.
Of course, incentivizing your message by giving away a case study, report, or white paper, can also help you stand out above the other marketing noise.
5. Finally, How Has Your Call to Action Evolved?
It all comes down to one thing; motivating your prospect to take action. How has your call to action evolved and how effective are your current CTAs?
Remember that your call to action may very well be the most important part of your marketing message. It’s your opportunity to get them to take action, to reach out and connect, or to make a purchase. It’s essential that you use part of your marketing analysis and systems to evaluate your CTA – is it placed optimally and how does it integrate with your marketing content?
Three rules of thumb for an effective Call to Action:
- One call to action per marketing message. Don’t make your visitor or prospect have to make a decision between actionable steps.
- Make sure to follow through on your CTA. If the button is supposed to take them to a product demo download, make sure that it does.
- Grab Attention. Make sure your CTA is readily visible. It needs to stand out and grab attention. If your prospect has to hunt for the next step, they’ll click away. Engaging and active calls to action work best, but test different calls to action and find out what works for your target audiences.
Get organized. Set aside time right now and review these marketing fundamentals. Schedule a regular review process and implement systems to build the foundation of a good marketing strategy and plan. When you know your audience, understand their needs, and know where they obtain their information, you’re in a better position to market effectively.
About the Author: Kelly Weppler Hernandez is Principal consultant at WH & Associates, a Los Angeles marketing agency. A Master Duct Tape Marketing consultant, Kelly has been interviewed by the American Marketing Association, written for several entrepreneurial and small business magazines and online resources, and in 2014, co-wrote a book called Renewable Referrals—How To Cultivate More Profits.