Getting the most out of your Marketing in 2019
Day-to-day we are asked many times, “how much do you charge” or “what packages do you offer”.
While these are valid questions, they miss penetrating to the objectives of getting the most out of your marketing – which will actually save you money.
Here are the types of questions that will help to get the most out of your marketing budget:
The main objective of marketing is to start or enhance a relationship with your potential customers.
I love this quote from my Great, great uncle Henry Ford
“stopping advertising to save money is like stopping your watch to save time”.
1. How to create a marketing budget
2. Get Professional Marketing Help
– Have a strategic business plan before you start (can be combined with below)
A) Planning & Strategy
B) Marketing Mix
– Competitive advantage coaching
A) Analysis of business, market and competition
3. Positioning your brand well is Key
4. Impact of Online Reputation
How to create a marketing budget
As advisors for businesses and owners, we’re often asked how to create the right marketing budget.
As marketers, we’re frequently asked exactly where to invest that budget.
There are some guidelines that are useful for deciding a budget for your marketing spend, however that is the last thing you should be considering when looking at marketing.
If you want to do an initial preparatory analysis on your marketing budget here are some thoughts to guide you.
To understand these guidelines, first, let’s define ‘marketing budget.’ Your marketing budget refers to all costs for marketing, advertising, public relations, promotions and anything else you might blanket under that very wide-cast net called ‘marketing’ on a day-to-day basis.
1. What are your 1, 3 & 10 year goals for the business?
2. What are you going to focus on as your first step to achieve these? ie. do you have a marketing mix strategy?
3. Do you have the available and skilled resources to effectively reach these goals with the strategy that you have for generating and building brand awareness and leads to work with?
4. Do you have a system for measuring your marketing and resulting conversions in to sales?
Based on the latest research, expert opinions and years of marketing experience – the minimum you should spend is 2–5% of your sales revenue on marketing.
From a country with a much larger pool to analyse… The U.S.A. Small Business Administration recommends spending 7 – 8 percent of your gross revenue for marketing and advertising if you’re doing less than $5 million a year in sales and your net profit margin – after all expenses – is in the 10 percent to 12 percent range.
Get Professional Marketing Help
This might sound like a pitch, however if you stick with me you will understand why I say this.
Finding an advisor or marketing company to help you will also increase the return on your marketing spend as well as making the efforts more focussed and therefore effective.
Strategic Business Plan
All professional advisors in the business world should start here, but many are convinced to just get on with the job – instead of starting at the beginning. While it will cost a little more to “take stock” first, it will overcome the shortcuts that stop many businesses from excelling… because something has been missed, that was a fundamental to progression!
All consulting or advisory services specialising in sales and marketing as their sole occupation should have a much more thorough understanding of the marketing industry and tools, than companies that sell a product or service as their main offering. Hence they should be able to help shortcut the understanding of how and where to start you off on the right foot. Helping you develop a great business plan, strategies and guide you through the implementation phase should also be part of the remit. Different advisors come from different perspectives. Trying to get different contracted minds to align will be an uphill battle… so do your screening well at the beginning to make sure if you decide to use a few different businesses as advisors that they will be able to work together effectively.
Many businesses in the business advisors game will have good contacts in related disciplines. If you can trust one to help you start and like what they provide to you, it is a good idea to at least listen to them when they give you advice or offer their opinion on other services that you could use to enhance their offering.
Making even a single page plan and strategy document will allow you to have the basis for the golden rule of “test and measure”. Information technology has come such a long way in the past 30 years. Therefore automation and systemisation are also keys to the success of the marketing strategy and plan. Looking into and creating a great marketing mix is also a fundamental part of the go-to-market strategy and planning process.
A marketing strategy is a part of the overall strategy of a business, with the specific purpose of detailing HOW the business will connect with the existing customers and reach the potential customers and turn them into customers for the product or service that the business provides.
We’re jumping all over the shop right now, but it is important to think about all of these things when planning to grow. When a great base is set, it is always going to be an easier path later, and with the right systems set up will be much more conducive to scale and profitability. We have implemented digital marketing as an integral service offering within our business, because of the double effect it has for our business. Digital marketing produces such amazing results and the tools that are used to make these results happen also help us to be able to automate the workload and develop better strategies for us to be more efficient and effective in the future. Data is King, which is probably something you have heard a lot in the past decade or so. It’s true, and the longer you don’t employ data driven strategies the further behind your competition you become.
Unfortunately there has been a real disconnect with strategy and digital marketing. I believe the reason is simple, in that early adopters of digital marketing, didn’t actually have to think too much about strategy. Now the world is very confused with the mass of information and software out there, as well as the algorithms for the major platforms becoming more sophisticated, to make a better user experience for their patrons.
Digital marketing is still very powerful, but it is becoming harder and harder for businesses to find marketing agencies that will give them great results without spending a fair amount of money, simply because it is harder to get results now.
Strategy is also a major consideration. Many have been burnt by taking the cheaper option and therefore don’t get the fine tooth comb and in-depth analysis, planning and strategy implemented along with the services of marketing and advertising.
Digital marketing is only one of the tools; however it is extremely powerful!
Test and Measure is the golden rule of marketing. Again having things setup by a professional before you start any sort of digital marketing is a great idea. Many companies these days do not setup their online analytics (it’s free) – or even analyse the business data they have been accumulating in their business. Data is fundamental to making good choices on where and how to market your business to your potential customers.
It is essential that the management is involved in the process of planning and implementation; because simply, there are things that a business knows about their market that sales and marketing consultants don’t. It’s not really the job of an advisor to know everything. It’s their job to know how to analyse, plan, strategise and understand what tools work in what situations… hence it should be a collaborative effort.
To get the right advice or help you will need to screen the advisors very carefully. There are plenty of marketing companies that will try to help you, but there are many fewer who will help you to maximise your spend. Getting the most out of your spend with a business advisor or consulting company will depend on their ability to take their understanding and experience and apply it to your market. Working with you to develop the best strategies for reaching and developing your market effectively.
Competitive Advantage Coaching
Many companies don’t understand what sets them apart from their competition. Standing out from the crowd is essential for growth and scalability. The knock on effect of not knowing your competitive advantage(s) is that marketing and also selling is much harder and less effective.
In essence, you need to make sales to be successful. Making sales and marketing to those that are in a niche who are loyal to a particular thought pattern is much more profitable and targetable than competing for the cheapest price… unless that is your competitive advantage. Selling to those that only want your product and or service and follow your brand is what you want to aim for.
A “Competitive Analysis“ is the start of finding out “where and how” to find your edge in the market and then position your brand in order to sell more – more often. It is often more beneficial to get a professional to help guide you through the process of analysis and planning, as that is the primary job of this type of a professionals life. They will get to the answers much more efficiently and accurately than someone that does other things most of the time ie. has the job of working with customers to sell your products or services or running the business.
A very large percentage of companies that are growing each year have someone who they trust working alongside them in a consulting or coaching role… because an outside set of professional eyes are extremely powerful. They also work to help you NOT make large mistakes because you cannot see the ramifications of things you don’t know or are not looking at when you have your head down working in the business like most of us.
Positioning your brand well is KEY
1. Where to position your brand for attraction
You need to do effective branding and positioning of your business in relevant places such as industry magazines, trade shows, radio, TV, your company website and business listings websites, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Youtube etc. Your target market searches and has business or educational interactions with all suppliers of products and services – relevance is the key. Positioning and allowing your potential customers to become familiar and interested in you and your product and/or service before they’re in the buying cycle, places you in the perfect spot = a known and trusted solutions provider.
Allowing them to safely extract information to better themselves and their business from their interactions with you, is the best way to do business. It is also a key to great brand positioning. This allows a natural affinity with your brand to evolve before you physically get to them and have an interaction where you are trying to extract value from them.
2. How to position your brand effectively
Make sure you are creating messages to discuss the problems, empathising with it as a painful thing and talk about the ramifications of not solving it. Targeting the landscape of solutions and how yours stands out / differentiates from the competition is part of the art and science of brand positioning. The essential problem that you solve must be at the centre, while presenting the value of your solution (your Unique Selling Points – that differentiate your business from all of your competitors).
This narrative needs to be driven through and around where you want to do business. Multiple touch points is one of the keys to great Lead Generation and Brand Positioning; which is different mediums of reaching out ie. email, phone, social media, in person, advertisements (print or digital media) etc… which leads very nicely to our next point!
Impact of Online Reputation
This is probably not going to shock most of you reading this, but unfortunately many people don’t think through the implications of not managing a business’s online reputation until it has badly impacted their bottom line.
Most of these results are from the USA… purely because they do a lot more research with a lot more people. They are very easily transferred across the water – because we all live in a highly digital age!
Employers, clients, colleges and customers are increasingly using Google as their sidekick before making important decisions. What shows up in your search results could mean the difference between a job and the unemployment line, a new customer and a lost opportunity, an investor meeting and an unanswered email.
There’s no excuse for being unaware of your online footprint. In fact, it’s downright irresponsible.
Here are some hard hitting statistics – that prove the value of online reputation management:
Impact On Business Revenue
1) Businesses risk losing 22% of business when potential customers find one negative article on the first page of their search results. (2015)
2) Nearly half of U.S. adults said they have Googled someone before doing business with them. (2012)
The Effect On Hiring And Firing
The Alongside Difference
We believe in partnering with and helping people. If you orient your business around being helpful and putting the customers needs before yours (as long as those customers are your target market) you will actually do better business and be able to charge more for it – in most cases.
We are in business to partner with people to properly diagnose the root cause of the roadblock to their business growth – from a sales and marketing perspective.
Our aim is to lead businesses into growth, through the growth cycle and out into continuously growth outcomes.
Business Growth Simplified!
Wrapping it all together
Wrapping it all up… without knowing your business it is nigh on impossible to advise where and how to start… Every business is slightly different.
Following these points above as an initial guide will start to get you and your business further down the path of getting more benefit from your marketing efforts.
Yes we do have packages – like every other marketing company, however they all need to be modified for your business, your budget and your goals.
Give us a call if you would like some help to start or ramp up your journey of growth.
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About the Author
Matthew Benn is the founding partner of Alongside Business Consulting. He has been a senior BD and sales leader for over 12 years, as well as being a small business owner for more than 8 years.
He really enjoys the challenges and successes that come with developing people and growing businesses, hence has taken these passions and put Alongside Business Consulting on the map. Our aim is to help business owners take control of their destinies and build their businesses successfully… Business Growth Simplified.