Like millions of Americans, I spent this past weekend plopped on my couch watching the NFL kickoff weekend. While my not-so-home-team Dallas Cowboys were getting embarrassed on national TV, it gave me time to reflect on a couple thoughts:
- I wish I could go 1994 and tell younger Steve that liking the Cowboys will result in decades of crushed dreams and stress induced binge eating.
- How can players so good still be so bad at fundamental tasks like blocking and tackling?
It’s this second point that stuck with me, because it applies to so many areas of life and business – and in particular, marketing. When marketing programs fail to meet expectations, we’re quick to overcomplicate the reasons. The bounce rate was too high. We don’t have enough followers. Jerry is a lousy writer.
But in reality, most marketing departments fail because they don’t take the time to learn how to block and tackle.
So follow me down the rabbit hole as I take you back to basics and discuss my five favorite marketing fundamentals that lead to successful programs. (Hey look, I’ve already hit my quota for alliteration. New record!)
Set Clear Goals
Marketing that lacks focus is a surefire way to waste resources and lose executive buy-in. Yes—it works sometimes—and doing something is better than doing nothing at all. But most of the time, unfocused marketing leads to mediocrity and fallen confidence.
If you want to grow your marketing department, you need to buckle down and set clear, actionable goals. Doing so will put your marketing actions in context and help you focus on activities that will drive results.
As a former boss of mine always said, “If you’re off by inches at launch, you’ll miss the moon by a mile.” Set meaningful goals—and get that moon cheese!
Automate Your Processes
Let’s be clear about something: automation does not mean autopilot. I do not believe in 1-click broadcasting or automated Twitter bots. Shortcuts like these lead to poor execution and lackluster results.
Instead, focus on ways to automate processes that are otherwise time-consuming and tedious. One example that comes to mind is reporting on website performance in Google Analytics. Pulling data manually can waste hours of your time each week. A smarter move is to build a custom dashboard that pulls the data you need and emails you a report each week. This helps you focus on more productive activities, like identifying hidden opportunities in the data.
Smart automation helps you scale your efforts without adding more resources. (Hint: Look to innovative technologies like marketing automation and APIs to help you with this step.)
Understand Your Audience
There’s a reason why marketing isn’t one-size-fits-all. Different audiences have different needs—and your messaging has to reflect this. Just look at the automotive industry. Sure, all cars have four wheels, an engine and a few cup holders. But people who buy a sports car have different priorities than those buying a mini-van. If your marketing strategy is the same for both, failure is almost inevitable.
A few days ago I read an article in Forbes that stated, “The better you know your audience, the more effectively you can create appealing content ideas, make formal decisions, handle positioning and placement, and promote the content.” So true.
As I’ve written about in the past, establishing habits can be a powerful way to become more productive. Habits remove mental roadblocks, freeing you to perform common tasks without thinking about them. In marketing, creating good habits ensures that your efforts are consistent and meaningful.
A simple way to start building good habits is to write down a process for common tasks and tape it up in your workspace. By making it easy to find and recall, you’ll be more likely to follow the process. In time, these processes will become great habits.
Adopting great habits is critical to improving marketing efficiency and results.
Ask For Help
I guarantee that implementing these four changes will improve your marketing success. Of course, you don’t have to make these changes alone. Asking for help is just one more way to make sure you do things right the first time.
Growing companies trust Red Bamboo Marketing daily to help them improve their marketing programs. Contact us today for a free consultation—or let us know your questions in the comments below.