There are only so many hours in every day, and making time for marketing is usually on the bottom of the list for many SME owners. And when they do find time for marketing, or a lack of sales demands attention to marketing, many make the mistake of thinking that all marketing activities are expensive and can only be done by experts.
I have good news! The most difficult part about marketing truly is making time for it every single day. The rest is quite easy once you get started.
Once you've made a commitment to steadily growing your business through ongoing marketing activities, finding time will never be a problem again.
If you need help creating a marketing plan, or figuring out what this marketing thing actually is, let us know.
If they don't know what you have to sell, they won't know that they can buy. Realise the importance and value of marketing - the link between your products/services and you customers.
Read about marketing. The more you know, the easier it will get. Subscribe to marketing newsletters, follow marketing feeds on social media. You don't have to read (or do) everything, but it will be a regular reminder to make time for marketing.
Invest time and thought into an annual plan, and then just work the plan, rather than thinking from scratch everytime you remember to make time for marketing.
It is always quicker to work according to an existing plan, rather than having to figure out what to do every time you remember to do marketing.
Create monthly, weekly, and daily routines that are realistic and easy to stick to. Don't try to do too much at the start; give yourself time to get used to making time for marketing first.
Remember your marketing plan wherever you are. You can find content, stories, photo and video inspiration, recommendations and other wonderful content everywhere - you just need to remember to look, listen, and ask.
Think your marketing department won’t be affected by the launch of the Apple Watch earlier this week? Think again.
The impact of wearable technology will impact far more than just fashion and digital design trends. Even if the adoption rate isn’t as high as is predicted, the trend that will soon cause a flurry of frantic activity in marketing offices around the world is the impending change in information consumption.
Both studies based on formal research and those based on pure observation have proven that information consumption trends have changed significantly in a short period of time.
These days the most popular written pieces tend to be those divided by sub-headings, as it helps readers who have learned the skill of consuming short bytes of information at lightning speeds, to stick to longer form content. Even the decision on whether or not to read the full written piece is sometimes based on the value of information received from reading only the subheadings.
Long form content, although making a comeback this year, will always have a place, as people have an innate need to gather information. It is the format and length of lure that leads to informational long form pieces that has and will continue changing.
Major shakeups in the recent past for content creators (writers, marketers, PR professionals, journalists, videographers etc) include:
- Email, which required a less formal approach than handwritten letters and allowed for more visually striking communication
- SMS, which negated spelling and grammar to force sales messages into 160 characters
- Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram etc which forced everyone to acknowledge the importance of social relationships in communication
- Twitter, which brought the # back to life, made @ buttons on devices wear out quicker than ever, and chopped messages length to a tidy 140 characters.
Wearable technology, whether it is a smart watch or smart set of eyewear, has brought about a new disruption. With tiny screens, room for only a single message, adapted scrolling functionality, wearable technology demands extreme brevity like no tool before it.
For content creators, who spend countless hours producing perfectly poised materials, the looming change in information consumption is a scary business. What many clients don’t realise is that it takes the same amount of time, if not longer, to create a piece of content that is suitable for the brevity demanded by developing mobile technologies, than a longer piece suitable for print or computer.
Content creators need to become skilled in formats suitable for the extreme brevity that is demanded by wearable tech, and will also have to educate their clients on the need for messages in a variety of formats.
- This article was published in the August/September 2014 edition of BusinessBrief -
Many businesses view marketing as a support function rather than part of core business activities. Although true in many instances, this view might jeopardise the success of marketing activities, especially where outsourced service providers play a key role.
As much as the focus of marketing activities shouldn’t be “just getting it done”, the focus of outsourcing the marketing function shouldn’t be to “make the problem go away”.
In general, outsourcing is intended to add either time of expertise to the current pool of resources. Outsourcing the entire marketing function however places the business at serious risk, as strategic marketing aligned with business objectives plays one of the biggest support roles to the sales function which in turn impacts directly on the bottom line.
Adopting a strategic view on outsourcing some parts of the marketing function will assist in determining whether it is necessary to supplement current marketing resource(s) with either additional hours or strategic input. Either of these however still requires ongoing commitment from both the client and its service provider in order to provide maximum value and sustainability.
Listen less closely
Stephen R. Covey famously said: “Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.” To make outsourced marketing work for any business, both the company and client should develop the skill to listen to what is being said as well as to what is perhaps not being said. Negative or incomplete feedback might sometimes be a more accurate indicator of the true status than continuous neutral or seemingly positive feedback.
Implementing lessons learned is imperative in the ongoing clarification of mutual expectations needed to shape marketing strategy and activities according to prevailing trends and shifting business needs.
The ideal client / provider relationship is one where mutual freedom and trust is promoted, and where the suggestion and consideration of marketing activities that might not be in the comfort zone of the other party is welcomed, rather than avoided.
Keep it real
The marketing industry changes so fast that clients should trust their chosen service provider to advise on relevant best practices. It however remains the responsibility of the client to proactively provide the marketing agency with information and ensuring that all marketing activities remain aligned with business objectives.
Keeping in mind that best, cheap and fast is an impossible combination, the outsourcing of marketing strategy or activities for any period of time might bring about the surge of creative energy necessary to take a business from one point to the next.