In an age of increased fragmentation and competition, how can brands and companies without deep pockets or massive marketing budgets still make a significant impact in the markets and to the people that matter most for their business?
Take five minutes to evaluate your current marketing activity with this helpful 5-point checklist.
There has never been a more fragmented and competitive communications landscape than what we have in 2020. Not only are there more products and services than ever before but there are considerably more routes to market. We are constantly bombarded by images and stories and advertising across multiple platforms each and every day.
Research firm Yankelovich estimates that we are exposed to around 4,000 to 10,000 ads each day.
Inevitably there is a screening process attached to that statistic that consumers will stop engaging with and start ignoring brands and messages unless it’s something that they have a personal interest in.
How can brands and companies without deep pockets or massive marketing budgets still make a significant impact in the markets and to the people that matter most for their business?
The team at Grammatik has pulled together a 5-point checklist for you to evaluate your current marketing activity against a clear set of criteria.
1 – What’s your story?
2 – Getting your message out there
3 – The competitive landscape
4 – What does success look like?
5 – Are you keeping it fresh?
There’s a great tale from the mid-1960s about JFK and the Cleaner at NASA. President John F. Kennedy was visiting NASA headquarters for the first time in 1961. While touring the facility, he introduced himself to a cleaner who was mopping the floor and asked him what he did at NASA. “I’m helping put a man on the moon!” was the reply.
The cleaner got it. He understood the vision, his part in it, and he had a purpose because of it.
He didn’t think of himself just as a cleaner. He felt that he was an integral part of a much bigger, clear, and very single-minded vision.
Brands and marketing can learn a key lesson from this possibly apocryphal tale. It is important to approach marketing or PR with a real focus on the key message or messages that you want to get across with your communications.
1. What’s Your Story?
The starting point for this is a clear, well-defined positioning for your service, product, or brand for the market in which you operate. Define what your unique selling point (USP) is and then consider how you can focus on and communicate that as a key part of your marketing and PR strategy?
It’s vital that you are able to define and understand what is at the heart of your brand and what gives it a sense of purpose.
– Research your market.
– Acquire a forensic knowledge of the space in which you operate.
– Speak to your customers -both existing and potential.
Then use this insight to inform your marketing and PR.
Aim to create a consistent message across what can often be a fractured commercial landscape. Once you’ve established your messaging it’s also important to make sure your marketing and PR are synced together.
Often these communications disciplines can be run independently of each other and, as such, messaging can become confused or less coherent.
This is a mistake. Both your marketing and PR activities should work in harmony with clear and consistent messaging and communication across both channels.
A key part of being single-minded is ensuring your brand is distinctive. Needless to say the look and feel of your brand – from the logo through to your colors, brand name, and the language you use – all play a key role in how effective your communications will be.
Memorable, distinctive, and consistent are just three benchmarks you should be looking to deliver when your customer comes into contact with your company brand assets and communications.
2. Getting Your Message Out
Given that we are exposed to around 4,000 to 10,000 ads each day it is important to consider the best routes to market when looking to get your message out there.
Whilst a single-minded approach to your messaging can pay dividends, you should look to push that message out through a variety of channels in order to maximize your impact.
At the time of writing, we’re in the middle of the Global Covid-19 pandemic so brands are looking for alternative routes to market if previously they had a focus on customer events.
PR and Digital marketing have come to the forefront and a number of options should be explored.
Press and PR
Earning coverage in relevant publications and outlets with your stories can pay dividends when it comes to spreading your message. PR mobilizes third-party support to secure a share of voice (awareness), the share of mind (engagement), market advantage (preference), and approval & trust (reputation).
Perhaps it’s contributing to an industry story, sharing news of a new product launch, stories about the people within the business, or an in-depth case study on a recent project. All of these can make great content for your target audience in the right publication.
Nurturing relationships with journalists can take time – often you can shortcut that by engaging an agency with ready-made specialist contacts for you to gain exposure to the right publications.
Social media is now a central component of any business communications strategy. Every company has got a presence on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and Linkedin but some companies are still really poor at delivering their story via the various channels open to them.
Whilst organic social may have lost some traction since platforms continue to tweak their algorithms to suppress reach, it’s still essentially a free window into your company to your partners and potential customers.
Defining your strategy for social media is vital. What do you want those who engage with your social media to come away from your brand thinking? Are you looking to enhance your employer branding, drive sales, help to understand your product, and drive recruitment?
For your social strategy, you should also get to understand the dynamics and specialties of each platform.
Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook for example will serve a very different purpose compared to Linkedin and your content and frequency of posting should reflect that.
Keep it regular – create and define a schedule of consistent posting and commit to it. Tools like Hootsuite allow businesses to aggregate social feeds and schedule posts days in advance so it is easy to get organized and cover off your social comms across multiple platforms.
And make sure you have a call to action on your shared content – perhaps driving the reader to email or visit your website for more information or similar content.
There’s also been an explosion of growth in video on social media in recent years. Views of branded video content have increased by 99% on YouTube and 258% on Facebook between 2016 and 2017. (Source: Forbes)
On Twitter, a video Tweet is 6 times more likely to be retweeted than a photo Tweet. If you haven’t taken a closer look at the power of social media and video together, you’re in for a surprise. The numbers are big. Really big. LinkedIn native videos are five times more likely than other content to start a conversation among LinkedIn members.
With 4k quality available on mobile phones and simple editing tools readily available it is possible now to create and share decent, impactful video content for your social channels more than ever before.
No company is an island. For marketing and PR opportunities you should always look at the broader industry to see where you can tell stories about your business and share examples on how you fit in and add value.
This may be creating a case study with a recent client, an online event/webinar that you can host together, or an introduction to other businesses that might value your services. The opportunities should be many and varied.
Webinars and Podcasts
In the anticipated ‘new normal’ of the post-Covid business world, mitigate mass contact with people by hosting your own online event.
Webinars or virtual events are a great way to present new products and services while still providing ample interactivity with attendees. It’s easy to host with a good connection using platforms such as Zoom, GotoWebinar, and many others.
For launching products, this is a low-cost, high-value way to demo live. Lead details of attendees are then available to be contacted for in-email follow-ups about products, services, and future webinars. No badge scanning required!
Engaging Your Staff
Your staff can be one of your greatest assets when it comes to marketing and PR. Inactivity amongst staff when it comes to helping with your marketing and promotion efforts can be overcome.
Even if you are a business with a small team, having an engaged and mobilized employee core who are out there being active advocates for what you do it can make a real difference.
Turn your entire company into an army of marketers.
3. The Competitive Landscape
Whilst it’s important to get your own house in order with regards to your brand position, strategy, and plan – it’s equally important not to operate in isolation. All of your PR and marketing activities should be benchmarked against what your competitors are up to.
Being in tune with the competitive landscape is a no brainer when it comes to running your business. What is your USP? What do you deliver over and about another company? If you are being outflanked in terms of price can you define a niche with excellent customer service?
Follow your competitors’ social media, listen to their webinars, subscribe to their newsletters, and visit their website. Set up a Google alert so you get an email whenever they get coverage online.
4. What Does Success Look Like?
With more and more pressure on marketing and PR budgets it is important to ensure that it is accountable and there is an understanding of what we are trying to achieve – be that new customers, sales, a level of awareness, or even just an amount of coverage.
Your PR and marketing activity should sync to your overall business targets and it is always important to understand what you are aiming to achieve with your activity.
Constantly review what’s working and what’s not. Have clear and open lines of communication between contributors and invested parties so everyone pulls in the right direction.
5. Are You Keeping it Fresh?
Learn from your mistakes – Albert Einstein is often credited with the statement that “the definition of madness is repeating the same mistakes over and over again whilst expecting different results.”
It doesn’t take Einstein to surmise that the same can be said of your marketing and PR activity.
If something is not working then if you can’t figure out how to get positive results then get rid of it from your activities. Learn from your mistakes. Fail fast move on and try something new.
Don’t rest on your laurels. Don’t be afraid to innovate and try new things.
It can pay dividends to be agile and responsive when new marketing and PR opportunities present themselves.
Being tuned into your competitive landscape, being active with social listening, and being connected with the publications who are writing about your industry will help with this immensely.
At Grammatik, we believe in this philosophy and aim to constantly challenge the status quo with our clients.