Marketing is more than a flashy logo and some Facebook posts. Effective marketing, whether you’re B2B or B2C, requires a comprehensive strategy, implementation plan and resources—in that order.
A marketing strategy is the overarching scheme developed to achieve a long-term competitive advantage for your business. It is created with consideration of both the pain and pleasure points of your consumer base, and how your products and/or services can address these. It guides your go-to-market messaging efforts.
A marketing implementation plan details the tactics—such as communication tools, campaigns and activities—that will deliver your brand’s messaging to raise audience awareness, spark desire and ultimately drive consumption.
Lastly, marketing resources are the tools used to execute these tactics, according to the implementation plan. These may include branding, content and design assets, and digital platforms—such as social media, email and your website.
While many businesses already have a marketing strategy in place detailing these above elements, it’s important to reevaluate your approach from time to time to ensure you’re staying fresh and on top of the market. This is particularly relevant to businesses today in light of the ongoing COVID-19 crisis.It’s necessary to review your marketing strategy, implementation plan and resources to make sure they account for changing variables as we face a “new normal.”
Have you reexamined your marketing approach to ensure it is still best fit given the current situation?
If not, it’s critical to make the effort so you don’t fall behind your competition. Read on for four critical areas to consider when reevaluating your marketing strategy.
1. Are your buyer personas up to date?
First and foremost, your customers’ needs and values should drive all marketing decisions and investments your organization makes. Learning about your consumer base to inform this strategy is an ongoing process, as you identify key demographic information and buyer behavior. Savvy marketers capture these details in defined buyer personas, which are updated regularly to keep up with changing times and trends.
When was the last time you revisited yours?
Marketing isn’t one-size-fits all, so your business should have multiple buyer personas developed to define not only your current buyers, but the target audiences you’re hoping to expand your reach to. By segmenting these targets by shared characteristics, you can communicate tailored messaging across relevant mediums to maximize the effectiveness of your marketing initiatives. You can also better research any changes to these groups, such as in light of COVID-19.
2. Does your branding still fit your product and/or service?
Review your organization’s branding assets—such as your logo, tagline, website and other assets that make up your business’s image and reputation. Do they still accurately portray what you do and where your company is at today, as well as where you’re aiming to go? Do they still speak effectively to your target audience, as defined by your buyer personas? Think both in terms of content and visuals.
Key among the signs your branding may be stale is declining consumer engagement. Your branding may not be resonating if it’s perceived as outdated, is confusing as to communicating what you do or is just downright unmemorable in the market.
Conduct a competitive analysis to compare your branding to others—do your competitors' designs look completely different from yours? Are your fonts stuck in the 90s? Is your website not optimized for mobile? Do you lack robust blog, video and infographic content? These are common symptoms or a larger branding issue.
3. Does your content still engage your audience?
Are you still speaking to your audiences’ wants and needs—or delivering what you think they want to hear from you? Gathering customer information to continue honing your buyer personas and to inform marketing decisions should be an ongoing process. If it’s not at your company, you may not be in touch as you think you are with your brand’s messaging.
Regularly collecting and reviewing data analytics gives you insight into the success of your content initiatives—as well as can inform how your consumers are finding your business, what they’re buying and why, and how satisfied they are after purchase. This information is critical to staying on top of shifting buyer behaviors and trends, and pivoting your marketing content accordingly.
Signs your content isn’t resonating? Look for red flags such as low social media post engagement, poor email open and click through rates, and stagnant or declining website traffic.
Beyond the numbers, keep a pulse on your consumer feedback and online chatter. For example, during the current climate, many organizations have identified the need to address both internal and consumer concerns over health safety as they operate in the pandemic environment.
4. How old is your keyword research?
Any marketer worth their salt knows that Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is critical to a successful marketing strategy. Chief among your SEO efforts should be conducting thorough keyword research, to boost the findability of your digital content. But this isn’t a one-and-done process, it’s an investment you need to repeat each year.
Because a significant chunk of your online audience—more than half, on average, according to BrightEdge—is finding your website via search engines, particularly Google. And among the trillions of searches Google processes every year, 15 percent of those queries have never been seen by Google before. That means your current keyword list is sure to become outdated over the course of a year—and without fresh research, you’ll miss out on many potential new keyword opportunities in your space.
Keyword research updates are also helpful in tumultuous times such as the COVID-19 pandemic. You likely know your messaging needs to change, as your business operations and consumers’ buyer behavior have been forced to change, but without keyword-informed research, your efforts to adjust your content accordingly are largely guess work.
Improve Your Marketing Strategy for 2020 And Beyond
Do you have a marketing strategy in place, and if so, when was the last time you revisited it?
For many small-to-medium-sized businesses, the answer is not recently—if they have a detailed strategy, at all. If this is your business, you’re not alone. It can be challenging to keep up with the constant evolution of marketing tools, trends and technologies—particularly if you have limited marketing staff and budget.
If you have minimal-to-no dedicated marketing staff to shoulder the work, consider engaging with a fractional Chief Marketing Officer (CMO). They can provide high-level, cutting-edge marketing expertise to evaluate your current marketing operation, and make recommendations on how to improve or create and implement a comprehensive strategy to drive your business goals—without the need to incur the cost of a full-time marketing executive.
Feeling overwhelmed? From marketing strategy to tactical support, the marketing experts at Jennasis & Associates can help. Click to reach out to our team and learn how we can scale staff, resources and budgets up and down to provide a variety of digital marketing services to meet your needs and budget.
Paris Wolfe started writing from home 23 years ago when her oldest son was born. She writes about business, travel, food, wine and lifestyle topics. She is also author of the blog Travel + Eat with Paris Wolfe. When she’s not writing she enjoys gardening, riding her boyfriend’s motorcycle, downhill skiing and throwing dinner parties for family and friends.