How to Make Successful Marketing Decisions
I don’t know about you, but today I think is one of the most difficult times in history to make a decision. Day-to-day we’re now bombarded with new choices, demands and distractions. This is especially the case when it comes to marketing. Businesses know they need to do marketing to drive more sales, but they become overwhelmed by the huge range of channels and technologies that are increasingly available.
So what happens when we’re presented with this world of increasingly complex and plentiful marketing options?
Generally, I see one of three things happening.
1. We simply stick to what we know best. We focus on using channels, strategies and tactics that are common in our marketplace. However, this is often the road to false comfort. Take this route and your business will struggle to stand out from the crowd as it’s simply following the herd.
2. On the other side of the coin, you try to jump on every new bandwagon in the hope of a quick win. Certainly you can gain some market entrant advantage with this approach, but more often than not, this strategy is rolled out in an ad hoc way and the business ends up quickly moving on to another option when quick results are not forthcoming.
3. Thirdly, and perhaps worst of all, we waste a lot of time focused on the initiatives and channels that generate loads of hype without first assessing if this approach is really going to work for our business. Even when it’s not working, we doggedly stick to the regime in the hope that some time soon it will magically turn a corner and generate that much sought after payback.
If you find yourself nodding your head at any of the above scenarios, I recommend you look more closely at your decision making process. By implementing the following three steps, you can dramatically improve the quality and success of your decisions.
Rather than just trying new channels out, first assess the strengths and weaknesses of your current marketing strategy and the channels and tactics used to support your existing strategy. Review the results of what you’ve achieved in the past to make sure you don’t ditch activities that are already working well.
Consider your latest marketing opportunities in relation to your brand vision and values. If an opportunity is not aligned with your brand, a short term gain could turn into a long-term drain.
Do some research on your near competition, most especially those who are at the top of their game, and see if you can get some insights into the channels which command the bulk of their marketing budget. Then consider if there is a way that you can improve on their performance for your own business.
As part of this review stage, you should also put yourself in your customers’ shoes to work out not just what may attract their interest about your business, but also when and where they are most likely to be attentive to your marketing message. Creating Customer Personas and Customer Journey Maps can help you dig deep into the customer’s experience and find new insights about the best communication channels and approaches for your various customer segments.
When choosing between new marketing technology vendors, put a scorecard system in place that helps you to judge the merits of one supplier over another.
Once you’ve decided on the strategies, channels and tactics you want to work with, take the time to prioritise your next marketing actions. Whatever you do, don’t try to do everything at once as that’s just going to set you up for a sharp fall. Firstly, think of quick wins to help build up support and confidence for the larger initiatives you’re planning further down the track. Also, do your best to take a realistic review when you assess what you can do, how much it will cost in both time and money and how long it will take you.
3. Be Proportionate
A good rule of thumb with new marketing initiatives is to keep the time you spend on them proportionate to your more tried-and-tested initiatives. The 70:20:10 rule for example suggests that you allocate 70% of your time and budget to initiatives that already work well, 20% to newer initiatives that have started to show promise, and every year you set aside 10% of your budget to try out new marketing approaches. With this planned approach, I firmly believe you can achieve continuously improving marketing results.
If you’d like to learn more about improving your marketing decision-making why not join me on Friday 16th October for my first Marketing Masterclass presented in partnership with the London Restaurant Network. This 2 hour Masterclass and networking breakfast will provide guidelines on a selection of decision-making approaches that can be used across all of the above stages. All attendees will also leave with a package of decision-making tools that can be used for short-term and annual marketing planning projects.