It’s true. Companies that are marketing-oriented just do things differently, and they are typically much more successful because of it.
We’ve all read about the ones that get the headlines, from Apple to Zappos. What about the rest of us?
In over twenty-five years of working in marketing, I’ve found that the most successful companies have some things in common. Here are a few.
1. They know their metrics. If you don’t know where you’re headed, how will you know when you get there? Marketing decisions should be driven by metrics. It’s really that simple. If you know by what percentage you want to increase revenues, and you know the lifetime or transactional value of a customer, and you know how many customers you have to reach before you sell just one, you can back out a marketing plan and strategy that will work. You can even figure out what it will cost you.
2. They know their top 3 target audiences. Face it. No company can be all things to all people, but generally, there are at least 3 demographics you can serve really well while making a nice profit. Go after those first. The rest will likely follow, and if they don’t it won’t matter anyway.
3. They know their top 3 messages. It’s about customizing the message to the audience. One size does not fit all. In an ad-cluttered and noisy world, each of us wants to hear a message we believe is just for us. You need to connect emotionally. We lead our clients through a “messaging matrix,” a 3×3 spreadsheet that defines what 3 tailored messages we will send to their 3 top audiences. It helps to guide all of our marketing efforts and keep us on track. When in doubt, we look at the matrix and ask if we’re in alignment.
4. They know their positioning relative to where they want to be. Where are you compared to your competitors? If you’re lucky enough to be in the “considered set,” you need to know where everyone else is. On an X/Y axis of quality vs. price, are you in the upper right quadrant of highest quality and highest price? Or are you somewhere in the middle? Where’s your number one competitor and where are they moving on the axis? Are you following or leading? What’s your trajectory?
5. They know strategy dictates content and channel, not the other way around. Have you ever created a social media account with no real plan for how you wanted to use it, what content you would post, or who you wanted to reach? Same with a website? Guilty? I have been. Digital marketing technologies are only tools. Strategy has to dictate how you use them. It’s like that old saying, “If all you have is a hammer everything looks like a nail.”
6. They know that they don’t know it all. A marketing colleague of mine says, “I don’t know what I don’t know, but what I don’t know I can test.” There are a thousand things you don’t know when you launch a campaign, but if you’re willing to adjust as you go, you can respond to the data you’re seeing (you did install analytics, right?) and “dial in” your marketing efforts. Smart marketers aren’t afraid to pivot.
7. They don’t play “paralysis by analysis,” and they ask for help when they need it. With big data, we have more information about our campaigns than ever before, which is both a blessing and a curse. The most successful companies don’t analyze things to death. They act. Was the campaign perfect? No. Did it move the needle toward their goal? Yes. Lastly, they ask for help when they need it. Digital is moving faster than any of us can keep up with. Sometimes, you need a little help from your friends. Yes, maybe even an agency.
Want the messaging matrix and a worksheet for positioning? Shoot us a note.
Is your company a successful marketing organization? Share your best tips in the comments!