When business is strong and sales are growing, it is easy to get comfortable in your marketing. Perhaps you’ll think to yourself: “If it isn’t broken, why fix it?”
The truth is, the marketing landscape is constantly changing, and you need to be persistent in assessing your approach to get the most out of what is working and what isn’t. Fight back against the urge to simply keep the status quo. Even if the thought of revamping is a challenge, it is a must in order to stay relevant and create a lasting presence.
Start by being alert to warning signs something may need to change, now or in the near future.
1. Your marketing results aren’t measurable.
Many companies create a marketing strategy without measurement plans set in place. Be sure your marketing approach tracks and trends where lead generation and revenue are coming from, this way you can understand what is succeeding and what isn’t. The results will educate you on where to put your focus for a future approach.
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Think about it this way: if you don’t have a scale to measure your weight loss, how do you know your diet is even working?
When you complete a sale or generate a new lead, you need to know where it originated from in order to better capture your marketing success. Consider if you have the means to attribute leads and sales to your various marketing channels.
2. Your website is outdated or underperforming.
Given the power of the Internet, your website is likely the very first interaction a potential customer has with your product or service, and thus it must be a hub for your marketing efforts.
People are going to click out of an ugly or hard-to-navigate site faster than they enter it. If your logo, content, and language are outdated, it is likely a lead will think what you have to offer is also outdated. Do a self-audit on your market and brand channels to refresh where needed for a growth-conscious design.
3. You’re trying to sell to everyone.
If you are speaking to everyone, you are speaking to no one. Without a clear vision of a specific and niche audience, your market approach will be unclear, and likely unsuccessful. Ask yourself if you know who your ideal customers truly are (their personas), and whether you are targeting the correct channels they gravitate towards.
If you are unclear on who you want to sell to and where, your marketing needs to be revamped.
For example, you may have been putting all of your marketing efforts into radio and television, only to realize your target market primarily lives on social media platforms. It’s all about moving the needle and being intentional, so create a marketing approach that reaches your target audience in the right places and at the right times.
4. You’re underutilizing social media.
You are likely present on social media, but are you engaging and active?
If you are not actively posting and communicating with others, you are missing out on major marketing potential. Plus, sales often happen in your direct messages. Even if you are a local business that gets most of your business via word of mouth, improving your online presence will build a stronger relationship with current and potential customers.
With an understanding of who your target audience is, invest time and resources in the specific media outlets, (Instagram, Twitter, Facebook) to create content which speaks and engages directly with them. Do not stay on the sidelines of the social media game.
5. You don’t know your marketing budget.
If you don’t have a clear marketing budget, it is time to re-evaluate and allocate funds appropriately. It can be easy to throw money here and there into various channels and towards specific events. Instead, create a plan for the year to look ahead for when and where to market.
Some products or audiences peak during specific seasons, be sure to consider that. If you don’t have clear visibility on what money is going into which outlet it won’t be possible to know whether your market approach is truly providing a return on investment.
6. Your industry is changing.
When an industry (or its advertising verticals) takes a large shift, your marketing approach will need to transition along with it. Consider the selling transition from brick-and-mortar stores to online, or the evolution of global market planning and how these changes impact your marketing approach. Utilize your current platform to retain current customers and educate them on the shift while growing your audience from within the new market strategy.
7. You are tapping into a new market.
If your business is expanding its product line and services, or you’re tapping into a new market, your brand and marketing approach will need an overhaul to go along with it. When your current marketing plan is not inclusive of the offering’s expansion, a new strategy is required to ensure the success of this shift.
Look into a brand refresh to go alongside the movement, this will be an alert to customers something is changing and acts as a re-establishment of your brand with the new portion of the business.
8. Your business ecosystem is being disrupted.
The digital revolution caused major ecosystem disruption for markets everywhere, and it doesn’t seem to be stopping. Seek to understand the shifts that have recently happened to your industry and business, and then calibrate your corporate marketing approach. This can be anything from changing your logo, to changing your product selling and promotion channels. This can also mean studying the performance of your competitors and getting curious about the direction they’re taking (or innovation they’re bringing to the table!)
9. Your sales and marketing teams don’t talk.
Marketing and sales departments depend on and support one another. Needless to say, it is vital for the two teams to be talking and working with each other. If they are not, it is time to reevaluate the way you approach marketing, and possibly sales.
These teams need to be sharing lead results, status and data. When they are integrated together in some form, it ensures marketing efforts are being evaluated and sales of the business have visibility behind which avenues of marketing drove the lead. It also maximizes your budget.
10. You see flat or declining numbers.
Marketing has a direct correlation to revenue, so if your numbers have plateaued or are sloping downward, evaluate the success of your current marketing strategy and then look at formulating a new approach. Don’t keep this review to strictly revenue, look at page views, media sharing and engagement and whether your audience would be considered qualified prospects. All of this data will derive what needs to be adjusted and where the focus should be placed.
Additionally, evaluate whether your content is building trust with current and potential customers and whether your marketing content is most closely focused on your best-performing products.
The bottom line
As a business owner, it’s more important than ever we stop buying into the belief if something’s working, we can set it and forget it.
If it’s not broken, track it. If it’s not broken, evaluate it. You don’t have to necessarily fix it, but quantify it!
It can become very easy to get complacent about your marketing strategy, especially when your business is not suffering. But, staying ahead of market trends and keeping a keen eye on these warning signs will ensure your business succeeds and continues to grow. Look to create a new marketing strategy based upon these changes and set yourself up to be constantly ahead of the curve.