We’d all like to get some quick wins from our marketing efforts, but what any budding entrepreneur must know is that by nature, marketing is about making a sustainable effort and long term brand building.
It’s about setting objectives, auditing the product/service’s ability to deliver, creating a strategy, putting collateral and messaging in the right place for the right targets and then regularly analysing and measuring outcomes against objectives, so that you can more finely hone your activity.
In fact, some of the best marketing plans run on 24-month stints which allows for short term tactics to blend with and complement a long-term strategy.
That is a tough lesson to learn when you are a smaller business just starting out, or you work for an organisation and are therefore answerable to a boss who has certain expectations. An enormous effort must go into building awareness and lining up new potential before the sales team can do their magic and bring the deal home.
Marketing investment = value returned
Another baulk is the fact that initial outlay to set up a good foundation to your marketing communications programme seems expensive, but it will be offset quite quickly by the smaller ongoing monthly budget of maintaining it. Try to consider initial set up costs like building your website or undertaking professional photography against the returns you will make in the future, long after the hard work has been paid for. The key is to do it right NOW, and you’ll be doing it for the long term.
Not only that, but you’ll be using your marketing communication tools over multiple pieces of collateral, not just one. When your positioning, messaging and visual identity is on brand and on target, you will be using it on your website, in social media, PR, direct response and so on, so you’ll really save in the long run.
Will digital marketing give me a cheaper return?
No, not in isolation. PPC, paid display ads and social media ads are among the quickest ways to generate traffic to your web site, making your website brand visible in search engines immediately.
But they have to work with other marketing strategies for long-term success otherwise you will have spent your budget in the first few months. You’ll have gained some quick wins, but you’ll have no means to sustain brand awareness and growth for the rest of the year.
Short-term marketing goals can be accomplished in a day or in a month, but they typically help build toward your long-term goals overall.
Your main goal is long term, organic growth, so you’ll be investing in digital marketing activities like SEO and content creation that both help maintain brand awareness and feed other activity such as PR and case studies. The biggest cost here are the intangibles; expertise in your field and the knowledge to provide key content. In this cost, your budget will go to professional services, but again, whatever they create will have multiple use. And once again, the key to building brand credibility and awareness that will last, is consistency.
Marketing and sales – the magic combination
The job of marketing is to position the product and build brand awareness, which then makes the short-term sales task that much easier. By the time the sales team gets in touch, the consumer has already been educated about the product benefits, so now the product or brand is familiar, they know the company because they have been made aware of them. There is trust, and there is recognition without which it is difficult to get the sale.
When marketing and sales work in tandem that you get great results.
Short-term tactics have their place
Introducing new products, re-introduction of a product and quarterly sales targets are all examples of when short term marketing tactics are needed but it is when they work to complement long term activity, that the sale becomes much easier.
Short term tactics just don’t work as well in isolation, and the biggest problem will be when your budget runs out in the first 3 months of the year, just so that you could gain some quick up-front wins and you don’t have a plan B.
It is the steady climb that will build awareness that lasts and ensure that your product is successful well after the sale is made.
If you’d like to know more about planning your marketing for long term success, give us a call on 01283 533196