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Do You Have All the Pieces to Your Marketing Puzzle?


Do you know where your marketing dollars are going and, more importantly, are you getting a measurable return? If you are missing or ignoring these or any of the following questions, it will certainly affect your bottom line and stifle your growth in 2020. Set aside time this month to review and analyze your marketing efforts.

What is your brand?

Your brand is more than your logo, your name and your color scheme. It encompasses everything from your products to your customer service – and it’s ultimately how customers feel about you. If you don’t already have a clearly defined brand that you strive to achieve, create one this year and make sure that everything your company does falls in line with your brand. The emotional impact of your brand may be hard to measure and define, but it is the most significant aspect of branding these days.

If you own a restaurant, for example, your brand may revolve around creating a warm and inviting place where customers can enjoy quality food and drinks with family and friends. You would support this brand through factors such as your décor, menu, service staff, consistent quality and sense of safety, as well as your advertising, social media posts, logo, etc.

What is your message?

Now that you have identified your brand, all your marketing messages should reflect it.

Start with your primary message that will guide your seasonal messaging. Your overall message could be the same as your mission statement, values statement or your vision. If you’re not sure what that is, do some research internally and externally. Start by asking your employees and your 10 best clients or customers why they remain loyal to you or what makes you special.

Your monthly or quarterly messages can be based on a theme and/or promotional offers, like holidays or annual specials, but keep in mind your brand and your primary message when crafting these messages.

Who is your target audience?

You also need to know who your target audience is. Spell out in writing at minimum their location (it could be as narrow as a neighborhood or as broad as the entire country or continent), age range and interests.

Examples of data points include:

  • Location: 3-mile radius from your business address or by zip code, city, state, country
  • Age ranges: 18-24, 25-34, 35-44, 45-54, 55-64, 65+
  • Genders: Female and Male
  • Parental status: Parent, Not a Parent
  • Income level?: Top 10%, 11-20%, 21-30%, 31-40%, 41-50%, Lower 50%

Now describe in one sentence your perfect customer. For a restaurant, this could be written as: Our perfect customer is 45 years old or older, likes fine wine and fine dining, has disposable income, eats out at least once a week, eats out for lunch and dinner, considers themselves a foodie, celebrates events at restaurants, lives within 15-minutes’ driving time and likes Italian food.

Unless you are a new business, a lot of the above data can be found in your social media profiles. You can also find most of this data in any Google Ads Campaigns you have run.

Do you have a marketing calendar?

Having a calendar that you and your employees can all follow is imperative to keep track of all your marketing efforts, to make sure everything is aligned and to stay consistent with posting.

Your calendar should be broken down by month and it should list blogs/articles, newsletters, social media posts, special themes, holiday themes, promotions and advertising, including social media ads. You will also want to assign each item to the person who will be responsible for creating the content and the person who will push it out to all channels. You might also want to add deadlines for the various milestones (creation, review, approval, design, any external dates to meet publications’ deadlines) so that you can ensure everyone is on the same page.

What channels are you using for marketing?

Have you figured out the right mix of marketing channels for your business? You don’t need to be everywhere. You just need to determine how best to reach your target audience.

If you’re not sure where to begin, consider all your digital marketing options. They range from blog posts on your own website and email marketing, both of which enable you to communicate primarily with your current customers and prospects. Paid media helps you promote your business to potential customers. Social media should be a part of every business’s marketing plan, but you should do research to find where your customers and prospects are spending their time and engaging with content. Once you have discovered the top social media channels for your customers, start with the primary channel first. This may be Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn or Twitter. Use a marketing calendar to schedule your posts. 

Google My Business is imperative for all businesses. In fact, your GMB page is just as important as your website due to the power of Google. Make sure you’ve claimed, verified and optimized your GMB page. Take advantage of GMB posts to push your content out to those who are searching for businesses like yours.

Is your website up to date and set up to measure pre-defined goals?

If you haven’t changed your website in a while, you probably should take a hard look at it. Ask yourself the following questions:

  • Does it clearly state your message?
  • Is the content relevant for your message?
  • Is your site easy to navigate on all devices?
  • Are you capturing emails?
  • Do you have a Facebook pixel installed?

Have you defined a marketing “conversion” or “goal”? These could be online sales, phone calls, form submissions, PDF downloads, reservations made or something else relevant to your bottom line.

Turn any “no” responses to “yeses” to make the most of your site’s potential.

Do you have a marketing budget?

Take into account all facets of your marketing expenditures, including the cost of your marketing tools, cost of labor, paid media spend and marketing management or agency fees when calculating how much you spend per year.
You’ll also want to know:

  • The ratio of your digital versus print budget
  • The ROI (return on investment) of your marketing spend
  • A comparison of the previous three years’ marketing spend and return

With this information, draft a budget for your marketing efforts in 2020.

Are you measuring your results?

Whatever your marketing plan and budget, you must have tools in place to measure the results so that you can make adjustments, if necessary.

If you’re already measuring your results, what metrics are you focusing on? How often are you reviewing your marketing spend and results? Quarterly or monthly? Who is accountable for reporting on the results? What actions are you taking to capitalize on the feedback you receive from the analytics? Having the knowledge is just the first step to making your marketing budget work for you.

Who are you trusting to help you with your marketing plan?

At Think Donson, we know it can be overwhelming to sort through all the marketing tools, expenses and analysis to come to the right fit for your business. You’re probably also dealing with every business and publication trying to get you to advertise, as well as companies that claim they can improve your rankings in search engines. Do you need someone to cut through the clutter so that you can spend your marketing dollars wisely?

We can help you see what is important and what is not. We talk through all of your concerns and help you come up with the right plan for your unique business.

Make 2020 your year to be forward-thinking and strategic with your marketing efforts, so that you don’t have any regrets in hindsight. Let us help you roar into the new decade.

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