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Annual Marketing Checkup

Advertising is essential to ANY company's success, regardless of industry. Marketing (or lack thereof) can determine how successful a company will be, or how quickly it will succumb to the competition.

For continued success and growth, it's important to review the company's marketing strategies regularly (at a minimum annually) to assess what's working, what isn't, and determine what improvements need to be implemented.

To achieve the best possible results, successful businesses spend time analyzing marketing data including:

Regular review helps make future marketing decisions that are proactive and successful; versus reactive to just get by.

The following should be analyzed regularly for the best chance of success when marketing a company's products or services:

  1. Target Market & Goals
  2. Branding & Logo
  3. Signage & Location
  4. Marketing Collateral
  5. Web Presence
  6. Local SEO, Presence & Reviews
  7. Social Media Presence
  8. Competition
  9. Referrals

Target Market & Goals

Determining a company's target market and goals are essential steps to marketing success:

  • knowing the target market is imperative to generating new leads and sales,
  • knowing the audience is necessary in planning methods to successfully reach the target,
  • and knowing the coversion end-goal is essential to creating effective steps to achieve this goal.

While this may seem repetitive for long-established businesses, it's still necessary to re-assess regularly as today's business landscape and industries change rapidly. It's never safe to assume nothing's changed.

Regularly review to make sure a company's target market and goals are always in-line with the marketing efforts put forth.

For Example:

If a home furnishing's target demographic is suburban women in their 40's, then marketing strategies must be enacted to reach those women where they are in their day-to-day activities. Marketing to anyone else, or anywhere else is usually wasted capital and resources.

Branding & Logo

Assessing and reviewing a company's brand image and logo are essential; regardless of whether the company is a start-up or long-established.

As with everything, times change and a company's branding must remain up-to-date, reflective of current trends, and integrated in every aspect of the business.

  • Branding is an important method to set a company apart from its competition, while making it easily recognizable to prospects and customers.
  • When analyzing a company's corporate image and logo, make sure the image is appealing and attractive to the industry's target market and audience.
  • Ensure the brand accurately reflects the company's mission, goals, and industry standing.
  • Research important aspects such as color usage and how each color affects customer perception.

Once a company's brand is established, make sure that branding is cohesive throughout all marketing collateral and efforts.

Branding should be integrated into all aspects of the company. Every piece of the company (from business cards, to pens, to bank checks, letter head and envelopes), are opportunities to spread the company's brand for increased awareness, lead generation, and sales.

Signage & Location

Signage and location often are underrated and forgotten in the day-to-day grind of business. However, a company's signage and location are often a determining factor of their success or failure.

A company can have the best location ever with regards to traffic. However, if the business lacks signage that's easy for customers to identify, and clearly directs traffic to the business; then consumers can be discouraged, give up, and go elsewhere.

The company's location should utilize every possible opportunity to promote using signage that draws attention to the business:

  • If the business has big retail windows, then use that space to draw consumers' attention.
  • If a business is allowed to put out signage on the side walk to draw attention, then do so.
The key to succeeding with location signage is to utilize all available and accessible company real estate.

Advertising on a company's own property is a cost-effective way to promote; making use of space already paid for and included within a lease.

Marketing Collateral

Reviewing a company's marketing collateral (such as business cards, brochures, flyers, pamphlets, and other marketing materials) is essential to continued success.

This allows for the opportunity to make sure all collateral is up-to-date, providing the necessary information and resources prospects need to decide upon one company versus another.

Depending on the industry, the questions for assessing collateral may differ. However, most all collateral should review basic marketing analysis factors.

For example:

Does all the collateral work together, and clearly identify the benefits of the products or services; versus only talking about the features?

Successful marketing collateral will work together, emotionally relating how the features solve a customer's problem. The solution is the benefit, from the customer's point of view; this solution (benefit) must be clearly identifiable.

Benefits to the customer are what entice consumers to purchase and make the sale, NOT ambiguous features of a product or service.

Web Presence

In today's world, having a web presence is essential to any industry. Whether the presence be a simple informational website, a custom-database-intensive website application, or something else; make sure the company's presence on the web is clear and easily found.

As with other marketing, a company's web presence needs to be reviewed regularly for optimal success and revenue generation opportunities.

Local SEO, Presence & Reviews

Local presence for "near me" and "around me" search results are essential for today's success in local & regional markets.

There are several Local SEO factors essential to being found by consumers searching "near me" or "around me". The following factors play a significant role in generating traffic, leads, and sales locally or regionally:

Having accurate and consistent Name, Address, & Phone (NAP) information is a major factor Google uses when ranking for Local SEO.

In addition, Google places heavy emphasis on Customer Reviews as a part of SEO and ranking of search results.

Social Media Presence

Since social media is today's version of "Word-of-Mouth" marketing, it's important to review and assess a company's social media presence regularly.

As well, for optimal success, all of a company's social medias should be connected to the company's website, or other web-presence, so as to optimize the potential of being found under any of the perspective social platforms and medias.

While social media is important, not all social media platforms will benefit each company or industry equally. Analyzing what social media platform best works for each industry and business is something that will take research and time.

Ideally, a business should be available on most any social media platform for the sake of coverage and claiming the company's brand. However, additional time and effort should be allotted to those social platforms which best benefits a business and industry goals by reaching the intended target market and demographic.

For example:

If a company's target audience is business owners, than more effort should be allotted to such business centric social platforms such as LinkedIN or Alignable, versus Instagram.

Competition

When performing an annual audit of a company's marketing tactics and efforts, it's necessary to check out the competition.

Watching what the competition does, how successful they are, and where they may improve; can provide insight into improving one's own business by capitalizing off of others' ignorance or failures.

Referrals

An often successful, yet highly under-utilized method of marketing, is asking for referrals from current, happy customers.

Many businesses fail to ask their current clients if they know of anyone else that could use their services; yet have many happy customers that if asked, would gladly provide referrals of colleagues.

Sometimes offering an incentive, such as a percentage off a month's service, can help current clients take the extra minute of their time to reach out and let you know whom they know that may benefit by using the company.

Often being referred by a friend or colleague will "warm up" a prospect, making them much more receptive and likely to discuss their needs more freely and in-depth.

Summary

Neglecting marketing is the worst recipe for business success. Even when times are financially tough, there are ways in which to improve sales and generate new business with various forms of marketing; albeit limited budgets require a more focused and well-planned campaign tactic.

Whether spending only $5.00 for some targeted social media ads, to other low-cost effective methods; there's always affordable methods in which to generate leads and sales via affordable advertising strategies.

By reviewing a company's marketing strategies on an annual basis, one will have fresh eyes to spot areas to improve advertising tactics, and increase a company's bottom line.


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