Howdy folks, Nick here. Everyone is looking for the magic bullet to marketing. Let me be clear from the beginning of this article. No sure-fire, one-size-fits-all service or product exists to achieve 100% of marketing goals for any company. This makes marketing perhaps the most frustrating and terrifying expense for a small to medium-sized business. Business owners and investors have become increasingly fearful and resentful of the “turnkey” technologies and commoditized platforms promising financial gains, not dissimilar to pyramid schemes if you’ll only sign that 12-month contract or spend only $99/month for a website to be on page one of Google. To make matters even worse and more confusing, we know of companies that charge $10K+ a month and consider it a success if only 15 – 25% of their client base breaks even, much less turns a profit. Less than 3% of all companies in the US can afford losses like that in a single month, let alone 6 or 12…
Let’s Talk About What Works – A Correct Process.
This does not mean that marketing is an impossible game of Russian Roulette that we are all forced to play. No, the name of the game is process. Marketing Directors and Chief Marketing Officers, the ones that are really good at their jobs, know how to build strategies around a comprehensive, borderline tedious, marketing process.
For many business owners and organizations who don’t have the means or the willingness to hire someone full-time that knows how to run a genuine marketing process, they take to Google to search things like “Easy Marketing Tips” and read articles with titles like “5 easy steps to 7 FIGURES with Your Business.” It would look a little something like these bullets with a few sentences for each one:
- Strategy – Know What you are Trying to Do!
- Narrative – Tell a great story!
- Platform – Make sure you have a great website!
- Outreach – Get in front of the right audience!
- Lean In, Adjust or Pivot
The above bullets are not necessarily wrong; however, they do represent a dangerous oversimplification of a comprehensive marketing process. Think of it more like a 12-step program, and each “step” has several sub-steps to follow. It’s more accurate to say that marketing follows rules similar to the scientific method. Something more like this:
- State the Goal
- Do Initial Research to Determine Audience, Competitors and Potential Demand
- Develop Working Hypotheses (that’s multiple)
- Set a budget (perhaps re-adjust goal at this point)
- Craft the Narrative
- Craft New Brand or Modify Existing Brand to Meet Narrative
- Build a Framework/Platform Around Narrative
- Devise a Marketing Plan Around the Hypotheses, Narrative and Framework/Platform
- Execute the Plan (Content is Crucial)
- Gather Data
- Measure Outcomes
- View Results and Adjust Accordingly
Where Do We Begin?
I’m not going to unpack each of these bullets in this blog since each one is a whole series in and of itself, but it’s essential to first see this list for the process that it is. If you start on the “Execute Plan” section before touching any of the bullets before it, your marketing will most likely fail. If you do the first two steps and skip the following five, you will most likely fail. If you tried to do all of these steps at the same time because you are in an absolute rush, you will most likely fail. It has to be treated as a journey with a destination in mind.
Each bullet point feeds into the following steps, building a foundation and a process by which you can systematically approach your marketing efforts to maximize time and dollars for the greatest return possible. It has to start based on research, where you identify the correct target audience and pair it with the correct messaging. After that, you have to determine whether your intended audience is actually interested in your product or service and that what you have to offer is uniquely better than what’s already in the marketplace.
Define What Digital Marketing Success Looks Like.
Look at it this way — what financial goal are your marketing efforts helping you achieve? Perhaps your sales goal for Q3 is set at $250K in new gross revenue with a 20% margin for net. That’s step one, stating the goal. Does that revenue goal account for at least 10% to be spent on creating and executing a marketing plan? Do you know how many of X you need to sell to reach this goal? How much will an average customer purchase if they do buy?
Once the goal is set, step two is all about identifying who that audience is, where to find them, the messaging that will attract their attention, and assessing the platform we’re sending the audience to. After that we start asking questions, like:
- How can we lean on reputation marketing for this campaign?
- How crucial is influencer marketing for this product or service with this audience?
- How much can we get from Google ads before it starts eating into our set profit margin if any?
These are only a fraction of the questions we work through during the Initial Research phase before we start coming up with our hypotheses about what will work and what won’t. Notice what step I’m on from the list above?
It’s Dangerous to Go Alone.
It’s a lot to take in, but don’t be discouraged. Every success story that we have been a part of at Alter Endeavors has followed the above steps. From Square Cow Movers to Austintatious Blinds to Party at the Moontower to The Confidence Code, we can mark out the path we took with each client, and luck had very little to do with it. It’s dangerous to go alone, but lucky for you, you don’t have to. We’re here to walk you through these vital steps, and our findings will continue to serve you beyond our partnership. This process does not need to be ungodly expensive or years in the making — it simply needs to be intentional, with the proper timeline and budget in place to support your success. If you’re curious as to what that looks like for your business, let’s chat.