What does focus mean in this world, where functioning with an attention-deficit is normal? Where every minute we are fighting both electronic and in-person attention-stealers? I think it means evaluating every endeavor, interaction, meeting, conversation, and communication in the context of your goals. It means maintaining a continuous awareness and examination of where your attention is.

Evaluate Your Marketing Efforts Against Your Business Goals

In terms of marketing, this level of focus means evaluating every tweet, email, ad, and blog in the context of your business goals. (Notice, I didn’t say marketing goals, as all these efforts should already be aligned with those or why are you doing them?) Now is the time to re-evaluate all your marketing efforts. Are they getting you closer to your business goals? (Last January I wrote about turning your business objectives into marketing goals. )

Drill into those key performance indicators (KPIs) and examine if your marketing efforts are performing the way you had hoped. Then look at how the efforts are or are not reaching your business goals.

Business Goal: Grow Revenue by 3 Percent

Let’s say your business goal is to increase your revenue by 3 percent. Look at your social media posts. Are they engaging your audience? Are they informing, inspiring, and educating them to buy or recommend your product or service? Are your email newsletters adding value to your audience’s inbox? Are these marketing efforts contributing or detracting from your revenue goals?

Look Carefully at Your Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)

Before you started any marketing effort, you should have mapped out what success would look like. Your KPIs should be the metrics that show if your marketing campaign is delivering. (Those KPIs should also be tied to your business goals.) Look at those KPIs again. Are they still the indicators of whether your marketing is working?

Going back to our example, let’s say you discover that your social media KPI is the number of likes or shares each post gets. However, your posts aren’t getting these, but every time you visit with a client they mention that they really like your posts. What then? Do you dump your social media posts based on the KPI or do you keep them because of the positive verbal feedback? The answer is two-fold. First, revisit your KPIs. Perhaps you need to adjust them. Second, you may need to prioritize your marketing budget differently.

Prioritize Your Marketing Spend

Keeping with our example, look at your social media efforts against your other channels (like email, SEO, Adwords, etc.). If your search engine optimization (SEO) is bringing people to your website who are buying, then maybe you increase your SEO budget and pull back on social media. Find out which posts your clients like and create more just like them.

Make Time for Marketing KPIs

If you think you don’t have the time to go through all your marketing KPIs and re-evaluate them in terms of your business goals, think again. If your marketing budget was on fire, would you throw water on it, or give it more oxygen? Not evaluating (or even having) KPIs is equivalent to throwing kerosene on your money and lighting a match. And if you really don’t have time to drill into KPIs, then contact us. We can help.

Keep Your Marketing Focus

In marketing as in life, evaluate what you are doing every day in the context of your goals. Do more of what is getting you closer to those goals and less of what isn’t.

 

An acquaintance of mine runs a 30-lawyer general practice law firm in Denver. Occasionally, he asks my opinion about marketing decisions for his firm. My answer is usually the same: get a reliable marketing system.  

Short-Term Marketing Solutions Versus Long-Term Marketing Problems

When my acquaintance wanted to rebrand his firm, he got a friend to do a logo for him. When the partners decided they wanted a company newsletter, he found an intern to handle it. He, like many small business owners, applies short-term solutions to long-term marketing challenges, then wonders why his marketing isn’t really effective.

For now, he’s not feeling any pain from these decisions because the big partners, who bring in most of the business, are still around. Their retirement isn’t far off, however, and I suspect he’ll be in a panic to market the firm once they give up their practices. He needs to build a marketing system now, while the business is still rolling in referrals.

Competitive Marketing Strategy: Build A Marketing System Today

Once the referrals slow in my friend’s law firm, I suspect I’ll get a panicked call asking my opinion about a quick marketing initiative that he hopes will stop the bleeding. It will be too late for him, but it isn’t for you. 

I’m going to let you in on a best-kept secret in marketing. You need to market your company especially when you don’t need marketing. Yes, I said it. When you are turning away word-of-mouth referrals is exactly when you need to push money into your marketing budget and get very serious about building a reliable marketing system for your business.

 Marketing 101: If You Need It Now, It’s Too Late

If you wait until your leads slow and your referrals aren’t as frequent, you are in for some rocky times ahead. Getting the wheels turning on a reliable marketing system takes time and effort, the kind you don’t have when you are scrambling to get business in the door. And, more often, when you’re in that kind of unfortunate position, you are likely to make bad marketing decisions because you’re trying to make something happen quickly.

Marketing Tip: Market While You’re Hot

Take control of your future business while things are good. The economy is humming along, and everyone is fat and happy right now. It’s the exact right time to invest in a marketing system.

Marketing Questions: What Is A Marketing System? How Does it Operate?

A marketing system is a set of consistent marketing campaigns that have been formulated to grow your business. These campaigns are strategically aligned with your goals and are based on thorough market research into your SWOT, target markets, competitors, and customer journey.

Marketing systems usually operate campaigns in several different channels such as social media, email marketing, public relations, search engine optimization (SEO), and more. They begin with a 12-month strategic plan and focus on the path of your customer’s journey from first hearing about you to brand evangelism. (Brand evangelists love you so much they tell everyone about you and do your marketing for you.) Marketing systems vary widely in scope from business to business, but they are made to be frequently measured and adjusted to maximize return on investment (ROI).

There Is No One-Size-Fits-All Marketing System

Just as there is no magic bullet in marketing, there is no one marketing system that fits every business. Some businesses can do really well by putting a lot of resources into social media. For other businesses, that would be foolish. So how do you know what kind of marketing system you need? By investing in market research. It’s a competitive advantage that will inform what campaigns to launch and how much money you should put into them. No marketing system should be built without a deep dive into market research. Without it, the system is doomed to fail.

We Build Marketing Systems

When you have a marketing system, you no longer have to ask your friends for marketing advice, nor rely on interns or guesses. More importantly, you aren’t wholly reliant on word-of-mouth marketing to generate leads. You know exactly what needs to be done to market your business.

We can build a marketing system for your company based on your needs and specific audiences. Talk to us while you still have plenty of leads. Start building your marketing system today. When things slow down (as they always do) your competitors will be scrambling while your marketing system will be buzzing along, churning out leads.

Half the battle of getting anyone to do business with you is gaining their trust. If you could get someone to have total confidence in your product or service immediately, what would you be willing to pay for that? If you didn’t have to invest in marketing campaigns that messaged your reliability or value and people just showed up at your doorstep, eager to do business with you, what would that be worth to you?

Smart Marketing: $900 Million Worth of Consumer Trust

For Stanley Black & Decker, Inc. they decided that it was worth $900 million. That’s how much they paid Sears for their Craftsman brand. To some, that may seem like an exorbitant price tag. but what Stanley Black & Decker is really paying for is decades of consumer trust and familiarity with the Craftsman brand. True, they are also purchasing all the capabilities of the company but, honestly, they already have those.

The Craftsman brand has been woven into American culture for more than 90 years through commercials, radio ads, billboards, and countless customer experiences. Throughout those decades of offering quality tools and customer service, Craftsman built a reputation of reliability–something every tool buyer prizes. Just as you’d be hard pressed to find any camper who doesn’t know the Coleman brand, tool buyers know Craftsman. That kind of brand familiarity and consumer trust is very valuable.

Competitive Marketing Strategy: Purchasing Less Competition

You can spend nearly 100 years and hundreds of millions on marketing to build that kind of reputation or you can acquire it for nearly a billion dollar. In addition to purchasing trust, they also bought less competition on the store shelves. Similar to when you go to the supermarket and deliberate between Cheerios, Chex or Wheaties, you aren’t really shopping between competitors (because all these brands are owned by General Mills.) By buying Craftsman, Stanley Black & Decker will own more of the product choices in the tool aisle of the hardware store. Consumers may think they are buying a different brand but they are simply buying an extension of a corporation’s brand holdings. The more sub-brands a large brand offers, the less chance the consumer will actually buy from a competitor.

Marketing a Brand: How Brands Began

The ability to dominate a store shelf isn’t why brand delineations started. During the Industrial Revolution, companies began burning their names into the wooden barrels used to transport their goods. It was a means of differentiating one company’s product from another. Over time, the brand became a symbol for particular product attributes. Today, “customer-based brand equity occurs when the consumer has a high level of awareness and familiarity with the brand and holds some strong, favorable, and unique brand associations in memory (Keller, 2001). Awareness, familiarity, and favorable associations take time, resources and lots and lots of marketing.

Marketing ROI: The Value of A Brand

Now, brands are shorthand for a myriad of ideas, information, and emotional references. Pick a big brand, let’s say, Coca-Cola. You immediately have certain associations that jump into your mind. Those mental constructs are built from years and years of advertising imagery, experiences, and personal consumption. Everything you have seen and heard about Coca-Cola filters through your neurons when you think of it. And you aren’t alone. Billions of people also have mental associations that come to mind about Coke. Those mental associations are the reason Coca-Cola is one of the most valuable brands in the world. Over and above their secret formula, Coke’s value comes from the mental shelf space the brand owns in billions of minds.

Marketing Outcomes: What Is Your Brand Worth?

In the end, your brand is what people think about you. It’s shorthand for the value you offer, how you are different from your competitors, and what your consumers can expect from you. (If you’re not sure what your brand stands for, maybe it’s time for a brand audit.)

Considering that Sears bought Craftsman in 1927 for $500, I’d say they made a pretty smart move by selling it to Stanley Black & Decker. Meanwhile, Stanley Black & Decker just added a legacy brand to their portfolio. Win-win, right? Well, only time will tell if the Sears brand can survive without Craftsman and all the positive brand equity it built for its parent company over the years.

(And just for fun, here are the 10 oldest brand logos.)

Thanks to Colorado’s booming economy, many companies are struggling to attract and hire talent. Fundamentally, getting the right applicants is both a marketing challenge and an HR issue so here are four marketing techniques that will solve your talent problems.

To Attract The Best Talent, Interview Your Best Employees  

Think about your best employees. Would you like to have 10 more just like them? Then, take some time to get to know them. Interview them and find out what they get out of work besides a paycheck. Discover how they found you, decided to work for you, and why they continue to stay. See what motivates them on the job and what gets in their way of feeling successful. Ask them what they tell their friends and family about their workplace. What you think is great about working at your company may be different from what they think. Even if you think you know what makes your best employees happy to work for you, don’t take it for granted. Their answers may surprise you.

Speak Their Language

During the interview, pay attention not only to what your best employees say but how they say it. Write down the kinds of words and expressions they use, so that when you begin searching for people just like them, you will know how to speak their language.

Hang Out Where They Do

Just as you wouldn’t go fishing in the desert, don’t look for talent where it isn’t. Go where potential candidates are digitally and in real life. Are your best employees coincidentally into science fiction and comic book characters? Maybe you need to host a booth at Denver ComicCon. Are they Reddit fanatics? Then it makes sense why your LinkedIn ads aren’t snagging interested applicants. Are there Meetup groups in your area for people in your industry? Maybe it’s time you started frequenting them. Perhaps your company needs to sponsor a meetup. Hopefully, you are getting the idea that you have to go above and beyond posting a job description on Indeed and go where your best potential employees are.

Use Your Website to Publicize Your Culture

Your website is one of your primary means of communicating with your customers, but it is also telling potential employees who you are and why they should (or shouldn’t) work for you. Make sure you have a fully built-out “careers” section on your website, complete with photos of your employees and some testimonials about why they love working for you. Be sure to use the same words and phrases that your best employees used in their interviews with you.

Learn How to Stop Employee Turnover

While you are working on all of the above, read Why Can’t I Hire Good People? by Beth Smith. It will give you some fresh insights into the roots of your struggles. 

In this TAB Denver North seminar you will:

  • Learn how to listen to job applicants and measure their fit for your organization.
  • Discover better lines of questioning for interviews.
  • Be introduced to the active listening skills required to hire the right candidates.

Space is limited, so register now.


Between the marketing techniques we have outlined and the seminar, you are halfway to solving your employee hiring challenges.