Getting to your “more”

In my most recent blog, I covered the subject of marketing objectives, suggesting that very often they begin with or heavily feature the word “more” and challenging you to define your “more”(s). Hopefully you now have these defined, even if you aren’t 100% happy with them, so we can now move on to considering how to get there. Far too often I see businesses that choose their marketing programme based on a whim (what’s fashionable), what they have done before (even if they don’t know if it actually worked), or what the competition do. Clearly, none of these approaches is ideal, so let’s see if we can find a better way to get you to your goals.
This is what is often called your marketing strategy and plan – we’re setting the broad direction you want to take, some key milestones and defining in a reasonable level of detail the specific actions you are going to take for at least the early part of the journey.
But before we do that, I want to pause for a moment to consider what constitutes marketing activity. There can be a lot of debate about what is or isn’t in the marketing plan, and even more often what should be paid for from the marketing budget or managed by the marketing team. I have a simple check that I always use to see if something ‘qualifies’ as marketing or not and it can be summed up in a single short sentence:
“All marketing activity should change either what people think, or what they do.”
It really isn’t any more complicated than that, we want to change beliefs and behaviours. In fact, it’s often even simpler, because the effect that really matters is behaviour – changing what people do (this is where the “more” happens). Where the complexity comes in is in defining some of the elements of that statement:
Which people?
What change in their thinking?
What change in their behaviour?
Over what time period?
How will we measure it?
So, returning to your “more”; the first question is “what belief and behaviour changes” do we need to achieve to make your “more” happen? Do we need to grow awareness, improve credibility, build a fan base or encourage recommendations? Do we need to get more people to try the product or service, build repeat purchase rates, retain more customers, increase transaction size or get purchasers of one of our products to try another one? These are some of the common belief and behaviour changes, but there are plenty more.
A good way to identify these changes is to think about where you want to be (your “more”) and what is stopping that now – what isn’t happening that you need to happen? Although behaviour change is probably the priority, we may need a belief change to unlock the shift in behaviour. For example, prospects may buy a competitor product rather than ours because they believe it to be better, or they have always used it and don’t want to risk trying something new.
In my experience, once the desired belief and behaviour changes are defined, selecting the marketing direction (strategy) and specific activities (plan) becomes a much simpler task. Sometimes it will be obvious what to do, but even if not, you can use your belief and behaviour targets as a checklist against which to test potential marketing actions. For example, advertising, PR, social media and email newsletters will generally be more likely to influence what people think about your brand, while promotional offers are more likely to change what, when and how much they buy.
As the strategy and action plan take shape it can also help to construct a matrix, listing the desired belief and behaviour changes on one side and the proposed marketing activities on the other to check that the total plan gives a thorough and balanced coverage against the results we need to achieve.
For a confidential, no-obligation conversation about this or any aspect of marketing, please give us a call, or send us an email. If your marketing isn’t getting the results you need, our non-‘fluffy’ approach can probably help.