Whether you’re working on a high-level marketing plan or the details of a particular marketing campaign, there are four steps that you need to follow if you want the marketing process to be successful.
Of course, the real starting point of the marketing process is always your overall business goals, since your marketing program will be designed to help you accomplish these. Once your business goals are defined, here are the four steps of a successful marketing process:
- Discovery. What’s going on in your marketplace? What are the best target markets for your product or service? Where are your current customers located? What is your competition doing? Discovery is all about doing your research and performing a detailed market, customer and competitive analysis. Taking the time to do this will ensure that your plans are based on metrics and reality rather than on gut feelings and wishful thinking.
- Strategy. All of the information you gather in step #1 is then used to help make your decisions as you create your marketing plans – your roadmap to success. How will you go to market? What is your overall marketing strategy and what are your individual campaign strategies? Before you move forward you’ll need to clearly define goals and objectives, determine the appropriate marketing channels, develop your messaging, plan your timing, etc.
- Implementation. This, of course, is the “meat” of the marketing process. Implementation is where you put your targeted, cost-effective marketing campaigns into action. Before you implement, though, you need to be sure that you have all of the pieces in place. Do you have the resources to complete the implementation in-house, or do you need to bring in third-party vendors to get the job done? Have you thought of all of the information you need to collect from responders in order to allow for back-end campaign metrics, and put systems in place to ensure this data is captured? Is everyone in the company aware of the campaign? Have you double-checked that the campaign phone numbers work? And so forth.
- Measurement. The measurement phase of the marketing process is where you take a close look at the results of the campaign in order to refine your strategies before moving forward. Measuring results enables you to make intelligent decisions regarding how to allocate resources for the next go-round.Did the campaign achieve its stated goals? If your goal was sales, for example, how many sales did you get? How much did each person spend? Which products did they buy? Which elements of your marketing program did they respond to? If you were running a test of some element of your marketing campaign (see The Value of Testing), which version got the best results?
I am always shocked by the number of companies that act as though the marketing process has only one step – implementation – and completely disregard all of the research, planning and back-end measurement that really drives success. Companies that do this risk losing money, reputation and customers.
If you need assistance with any of these four steps, give us a call. We’re here for you.