Your marketing efforts can't operate in isolation. It's as simple as that.
Why? Because your business needs to be a solid unit of individuals and activities that are all working towards the same goal in order to achieve the targets you've set.
Yes, there are lots of shiny new techniques, tactics, and platforms to try, but if your campaigns aren't anchored to an overarching marketing strategy, you are going to start sending out some pretty inconsistent and ineffective messaging to your audience.
The big picture of the marketing mix
When you design your product or service, you have to appreciate that this is not a self-serving activity in which you can indulge all your fantasies about what the end result will look like. You will most likely have a budget framework within which you have to operate, and also, your product has to be designed with the end user in mind – is every feature you want to add necessary, useful, and desirable? The only way to get these answers is through creating and understanding your buyer personas.
When it comes to how you promote your business, things could get a little bit sticky. Your sales department may have its own agenda when it comes to how they represent your product and what they deem to be worthwhile advertising efforts—these may not always align with your big marketing plans.
Make sure that you create promotional tools that can be used by your sales department and that are specifically targeted to the right audience.
You derive the price of your product based on what it will cost you to create it and get it out to customers, plus your target profit margin.
Your price has to reflect your brand positioning and the value the end user will get from the purchase. You cannot price up your goods without considering where you stand in relation to your competitors and in the context of the current market. You will be able to arrive at the best price for your product by considering your buyer personas, your ROI goals and the very real conditions that affect the affordability of your goods and services for customers.
No, you can't just set up shop at the back of your factory. Yes, it will reduce your expenses and make logistics considerably easier but choosing where you sell your items isn't purely based on cost.
You have to research and find out where your customers are most likely to do their shopping and what kind of environment they prefer to browse in. This could be a digital or brick-and-mortar store. The only way to find the perfect location is to do your research and make a decision based on all the other factors affecting how your business manufactures its goods and how your customers prefer to buy them.
Silos in digital marketing
So, here we see how, on a very basic level, all the cogs in your marketing mix are connected. Now let's put things in the context of a digital marketing campaign and explore why some businesses get this wrong by engaging in disjointed activities.
You wouldn't create your product without thinking about who is going to buy it, would you? So why would you launch into marketing tactics that don't support one another?
Example 1: Industry events/non-events
You've been invited to exhibit your business at an industry expo. You've spent the money on reserving your stall, printing some brochures, and you've deployed a few staff members to represent your business and answer any questions that the visitors may have. Sure, this helps to get your name out there, you may even meet potential clients who immediately engage with your brand and set up an appointment or make a purchase. But this can be quite rare, and the benefits may only be short-term.
To get the most out of these kinds of marketing activities, you need to bring out the entire arsenal of tools you have available.
Make sure that you utilise such events; gather data and contact details from visitors to your stand; invite them to sign up to your mailing list or offer to send them valuable content and quotes. You can use a digital touchscreen device or laptop to allow individuals to input their details, or a good old-fashioned clipboard and pen will do. Just make sure you get those email addresses!
Then, once the event is finished, put into action an email nurture sequence directly targeting the people who visited your stand. Make sure the content covers any pain points they may have raised during your interaction with them – you can find out what these pain-points are by giving them a short questionnaire to fill in on the day.
Example 2: Content creation chaos
So, you've heard that content is king and you've worked hard on publishing regular blogs, creating explainer videos and writing ebooks. But is anyone actually engaging with this content?
If not, it's likely to stem from a lack of strategy.
If you're producing content simply for the sake of SEO and not creating anything valuable for your buyer personas, you're not really helping your business; you're just trying to play the Google game, which, at best, is temperamental. Sure, you want to come out on top of the search engine results pages, but once the person doing the research clicks on your link, are they going to get anything worthwhile?
Every piece of content you put out has to:
a) have a buyer persona in mind;
b) add value and provide information;
c) fit with your branding and overall marketing strategy;
d) be published and promoted on effective platforms.
Example 3: The social media slap-up
Often, businesses without a marketing strategy have a very disconnected social media output. That's because they haven't taken the time to fully understand the features of the various platforms they use or the purpose that each is best for serving. Posting generic statuses or sharing irrelevant links will only put your customers off. There needs to be a sequence and an end goal in mind.
Furthermore, if you appear to be a different personality on every platform you use, your customers will get very confused. Your voice and content have to be consistent. If you are using social media to generate leads, who is following up on those? How are you reporting on the impact that social media is having on your revenue?
Your marketing strategy needs to be integrated and created as a result of thorough research into your ideal buyer personas, competitors and the general conditions of your market. Every effort you undertake will have an impact on other components within your strategy, it's therefore essential to have things in place that move visitors along the buyer's journey. Don’t lose leads in the various silos that are so easy to create if you don't make a plan from the outset.
Your channels, content and tactics have to speak to each other and unite towards the goal of making your business grow.