We all know marketing is important, but how do you really take control of it? Putting a plan and budget in place is only the beginning, but thankfully there are a few tricks which can make your marketing work harder for you.
1. Put the customer first
Despite what you, or any agencies may think, if your understanding of the customer isn't clear, you will fail. Developing this understanding involves regularly talking to them, monitoring their queries, their interests and their thoughts on you.
Look at who they follow on social media, give them a call or send out customer surveys. The bad news is it's not good enough to do it once. You need to do this regularly, at least annually if not every six months. SurveyMonkey is an easy, free-to-use tool for generating, sending and analysing surveys (and it doesn't require a quantitative research degree to understand the results!).
2. Refresh, review and refine
Adopt a 90-day review cycle for your marketing. So every three months you can have a quick refresh - what's worked, what hasn't, what opportunities are next?
As the adage says, time is money, so adopt an experimental mindset and constantly refresh and refine your ideas to make them even better. Field new ideas from everywhere in the business, look at your competitors and always ask any agency you work with for pro-active ways to market your company.
3. Entwine marketing with the business
Make sure your marketing goals match those of your business. Regularly checking that your activity is in line will make all of your businesses touch points help towards the main goals.
This doesn't mean you shout salesy messages on social media everyday, it means working out smart ways to reach targets. If you're gunning for sales targets, run a Twitter competition or special offer. One of the top three reasons people follow businesses on Twitter is for special offers and promotions - so give them what they want!
4. Check your data
If you have a website you can use Google Analytics for free. All you need to do is add a line of code to the pages of your website and you'll have instant data. You'll learn who is visiting you, from which sources, and to which pages.
Whichever method you choose (there are plenty of other monitoring tools to try), the most important part is to regularly check the data and to make adjustments. If one page gets lots of traffic, could you add other key messages there? Is a lot of traffic coming from an unexpected source? Identify your strengths and play to them.
You can use these tips as general good business practice, not just in marketing. It's a testament to how seamless all business components are becoming, as well as a reflection on businesses needing to tighten their belts and know how they're spending more than ever before.
These steps will help you take that journey, you just have to stick to them, or find an agency who believes in them too!