Annual Marketing Checkup
A List Of Marketing Review Optimization Priorities
Revised January 10, 2018
Originally Published January 19, 2017
Marketing is essential to ANY company's success, regardless of industry. Marketing (or lack thereof) can determine how successful a company will be, or how quickly it will succumb to the competition.
For continued success and growth, it's important to review the company's marketing plan regularly (at a minimum annually) to assess what's working, what isn't working, and how to go about improving.
Successful businesses spend time analyzing marketing data to make sure they're achieving the results they want:
- Reaching appropriate markets
- Attracting preferred customers
- Retaining key clients
- Increasing sales & profits
Regular review helps make future marketing decisions that are proactive and successful, versus reactive and just getting by.
The following eight areas should be reviewed regularly for successful marketing of a company's products or services:
- Target Market & Goals
- Branding & Logo
- Signage & Location
- Marketing Collateral
- Web Presence
- Local SEO, Presence & Reviews
- Social Media Presence
Target Market & Goals
Determining the business's target market and goals are the first keys to marketing. Knowing the company's target market is imperative to successfully generating new leads and sales. Knowing who the audience is, how to reach them, and what the goal is once reached, are essential to moving forward.
While this may seem repetitive for long-established businesses, it's still necessary to re-assess regularly; today's business landscape and industries are changing rapidly. It's never safe to assume, nothing's changed.
Instead, review and make sure the company's target market and goals are still in line with the marketing efforts put forth.
If a home furnishing's target market is suburban women in their 40's, then the marketing must be geared to reach those women where they are in their day-to-day activities. Marketing to anyone else, or anywhere else is a waste of capital and resources.
Branding & Logo
Assessing and reviewing a company's branding and logo are essential; regardless of whether the company is a start-up or long-established. As with everything, times change and a company's branding must be up-to-date, reflective of current trends, and integrated in every aspect of the business.
- Branding is an important way of setting a company apart from its competition and making the business easily recognizable to prospects and customers.
- When analyzing a company's corporate image and logo, make sure the image is appealing and attractive to the industry's target market and audience.
- Ensure the brand accurately reflects the company's mission, goals, and industry standing.
- Research important aspects such as color usage and how that affects customer perception.
Once a company's brand has been established, make sure the brand is cohesive throughout ALL marketing efforts. Branding should be used on any, and all aspects of the company. Every piece of the company, from business cards, to pens, to bank checks, letter head and envelopes, are all opportunities to spread the company's brand and potentially increase business.
Signage & Location
Signage and location often are underrated and forgotten in the day-to-day grind of business. However, a business's signage and location can actually be a determining factor of a business's success or failure.
A company can have the best location ever with regards to traffic. However, if the business lacks signage that's easy for customers to view, recognize, and clearly directs traffic to the business; then customers can be discouraged in finding the business, giving up, and going elsewhere.
A business's location should use every opportunity possible to promote business signage and draw attention to the business:
- If the business has big retail windows, then use that space to draw potential customers' attention.
- If a business is allowed to put up signage on the side walk to draw in business, then do so.
The key to succeeding with signage and location is to make use of all available real estate accessible to the company.
Advertising on a company's own property is a cost-effective way to promote, and make use of space that is already paid for within the business's lease of space.
Reviewing a company's marketing collateral (such as business cards, brochures, flyers, pamphlets, and other marketing materials) is essential. This allows for the opportunity to make sure that such collateral provides the necessary information and resources that perspective customers will need in making a decision to use one company versus another.
Depending on the particular industry, the questions for assessing collateral may differ. However, most all collateral should review basic factors.
Does all the collateral work together, and clearly identify the benefits of the products or services; versus only talking about the features?
Successful marketing collateral will work together, emotionally relating how those features will solve a problem of the customers. The solved problem is the benefit, from the customer's point of view.
Benefits to the customer are what entice consumers to purchase and make the sale, NOT ambiguous features of a product or service.
In today's world, having a web presence is essential to any industry. Whether the presence be a simple informational website, a custom-database-intensive website application, or something else; making sure a company's presence on the web is clear and easily found is imperative.
As with other marketing, a company's web presence needs to be reviewed regularly for optimal success and revenue generation.
Local SEO, Presence & Reviews
Local presence for "near me" and "around me" search results are essential for today's success in local & regional markets. There are several Local SEO factors that are essential to company's being found for local searches by consumers searching "near me" or "around me".
The following factors play a significant role in businesses marketing themselves locally and regionally to generate traffic, leads, and sales within their locale:
- Accurate business information within directories significant to Local SEO
- Consistent information across all local platforms, directories, and social medias
- Positive first person consumer reviews on significant sites such as Google
Having accurate and consistent local information is an imperative factor that Google takes into account when ranking for Local SEO. In addition, Google is placing a heaving emphasis on reviews as a part of its SEO and ranking of search results.
Social Media Presence
Since social media is today's version of "Word-of-Mouth" marketing, it's important to review and assess a company's social media presence regularly.
As well, for optimal success, all of a company's social medias should be connected to the company's website, or other web-presence, so as to optimize the potential of being found under any of the perspective platforms and medias.
While social media is important, not all social media platforms will benefit each company or industry equally. Analyzing what social media platform best works for each industry and business is something that will take research and time.
Ideally, a business should be available on most any social media platform for the sake of coverage and protecting the company's brand. However, additional time and effort should be allotted to those social platforms which best suits the business and industry goals.
If a business's target audience is business owners, than more time should probably be allotted to such business centric social platforms such as LinkedIN versus Instagram.
When performing an annual audit of a company's marketing tactics and efforts, it's necessary to check out the competition. Watching what the competition does, how successful it is, and where they may improve, can give great insight into potentially improving one's own business and capitalizing off of others' ignorance or failures.
An often successful, yet highly under-utilized method of marketing, is asking for referrals from current, happy customers. Many businesses fail to ask their current clients if they know of anyone else that could use their services; yet have many happy customers that if asked, would gladly provide referrals of colleagues.
Sometimes offering an incentive, such as a percentage off a month's service, can help current clients take the extra minute of their time to reach out and let you know whom they know that could use the service.
Often being referred by a friend or colleague will "warm up" a prospect, making them much more receptive and likely to discuss their needs more freely and in-depth.
The worst thing a company can do is to neglect it's marketing. Even when times are financially tough, there are ways in which to improve sales and generate new business with some form of marketing; albeit limited budgets require a more focused and well-planned campaign tactic.
Whether spending only $5.00 for some targeted social media ads, to other low-cost, yet effective methods; there's always affordable methods in which to generate leads and sales via affordable advertising strategies.
By reviewing a company's marketing strategies on an annual basis, one will have fresh eyes to potentially spot areas that can improve their advertising tactics, and potentially increase a company's bottom line.
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