Recognizing your own false perceptions
The way you think about your business might actually be creating barriers to your success. When talking to business leaders about their marketing strategy, we are sometimes surprised by the justifications we hear for why certain marketing tactics are and aren't working, as these statements often reveal deeper misunderstandings.
The first step to getting past these misconceptions is recognizing that you have them, so we've put together a list of some of those we've heard lately. Listen for these statements in your own marketing conversations:
Misconception: "Anybody who is in Market X knows who we are."
The Truth: Brand ubiquity is hard to achieve. Even if people recognize your name, they might only be familiar with a piece of your brand story. The same company that made the above statement later told us that many of their customers aren’t aware of their full range of capabilities.
So what are some ways to present a comprehensive yet unified brand message? Making sure there is clear, consistent internal communication between divisions or departments of your company is an important first step. Promoting company news through email, social media, and other channels is another useful tactic; announce a new capability or a new hire, or feature employees from different departments on your blog every other week. Make it easy for people to put the pieces together into a complete picture of your brand.
Misconception: "We have no competition."
The Truth: Your product or service might be unique, but that doesn't mean it will command your audience's full attention. Chances are, prospects will consider alternatives to meet their needs, whether these are in indirect or direct competition to yours. Example: People need to get places, right? Your company could sell the fastest, coolest cars this side of Kalmazoo, but some people will still consider buying a bike, or taking a bus. It's important to take all sources and forms of competition into consideration when planning your marketing strategy.
Misconception: "No one I’ve talked to can find an ROI from social media for business."
The Truth: They’re not looking through the right lens. 86% of marketers said that social media is important for their business (up from 83% in 2012), says a 2013 industry report from Social Media Examiner. But what does that mean?
Social media can serve a wide range of objectives, not all of which directly and visibly translate to more sales. According to the report, 89% of all marketers indicated that their social media efforts have generated more exposure for their businesses. Other major benefits include increased traffic (75%), greater marketplace intelligence (69%) and development of a loyal fan base (65%).
Forrester suggests looking at social media holistically and taking diverse goals into account: "Align measurement to all corporate objectives, not just sales. The use of objectives, measures, and targets focuses less on ROI than ROO — return on objectives. A properly designed social media marketing [plan] validates achievement of broad-based objectives rather than merely counting dollars." The Business 2 Community blog also offers some solid advice for bridging the social media confidence gap.
Misconception: "I don’t want to be seen as a spammer for sending email to customers/prospects."
The Truth: Email can be an effective marketing tool if you provide the right type of value. According to MarketingSherpa’s 2013 Email Marketing Benchmark Survey, 60% of marketersindicated that email marketing was effective in producing ROI. B2B marketers, on average,estimated their return at 127%.
So what types of emails produce these results? As we wrote about in an earlier post, the survey revealed that transactional emails, such as order confirmations or bill statements, were some of the most commonly sent and read messages. If handled in a way that is relevant and useful to the customer’s needs, these emails can help add value and grow a customer account.
Misconception: "We know that Activity X works."
The Truth: This claim might very well be true, but do you have the evidence to back it up? Many businesses we've worked with have put considerable money and effort into things like print media, without any concrete proof of whether it's really worth it. If you want to improve your marketing strategy, it's necessary to move past the "gut feeling" mentality and start focusing on real metrics. Create goals that are measureable, and decide how you'll measure them for the marketing tactics you've chosen. Then test, measure, and assess. Not sure where to start? Let us help.