Devising a successful marketing plan hasn’t always been easy but your options were pretty straightforward. Depending on budget and market your choices were clear and experience along with a good creative agency would go a long way to delivering results.
Those factors of experience and creativity still exist but in the digital age we’re now confronted by a multitude of potential channels and measurement tools many of which are relatively untried and untested.
The variety of digital channels and the parallel phenomenon of shifting customer behaviours pose new challenges for today’s marketer. The need for organisations to have digital marketing experience has become increasingly important, almost essential, as we start a new year and many of us look to plan for growing the income and profit of our businesses.
For those who rely on 3rd party agencies for digital channel support it can prove frustrating and expensive especially if their promises fail to deliver the expected results and the rationale for failure is dressed in uber geek jargon.
My advice to any business owner or marketer is to trust their instincts, not to forget the basics of solid marketing principles and not over complicate plans by throwing in every new channel. If you set up a new social media platform account remember you must be prepared to deliver regular appropriate and original content. That account management takes time and resource and can detract impact of your marketing efforts from areas that will deliver tangible returns. It may also damage the brand if the execution misfires.
Key Tips for Multi-Channel Marketing Plans
- Be clear as to who is responsible for what. Establish clear roles, responsibilities and set out and communicate expected outputs. Don’t overlook potential internal departmental conflicts such as I.T. v Marketing.
- Don’t lose the overarching objective in the mass of opportunities and options. Increasing twitter followers looks good but is it delivering a return for the business.
- Put the customer at the centre of your planning and thoughts of how best to engage and enhance brand and convert to sales. Facebook might offer a rich source of demographic data but may not be the environment where potential or existing customers want to interact with your business.
- If you can’t or don’t know how to measure it don’t do it or a better option, find out how to.
- Use tools to support your efforts eg Google Analytics, Hootsuite, Followerwonk, AppAnnie
- Keep the boss informed. If you’re struggling to keep up with digital trends just imagine the difficulty those who don’t use the platforms on a regular basis will have in understanding what they do. Consider creating a simple FAQ or SWOT on each marketing channel to share with colleagues and the senior team.
- Don’t be afraid to experiment. It can be possible to test channels in a low cost simplified manner to gauge the mechanics and opportunities therein. Be sure you always follow no. 4 in such circumstances.
- Don’t see the plethora of choice as a problem but an opportunity. A positive mind-set can free you from debilitating inertia brought on by a lack of decisions.
- Keep agencies on a tight brief with clearly defined objectives and review progress regularly (at least monthly).
- Keep the radar turned on. Whilst there’s already an abundance of channels to spend our budget on technology is moving fast. Voice recognition and intelligent interaction with Apple’s Siri and Google’s alternative are just one example of how search technology is developing.
- Don’t get lost in the technology. Traditional marketing channels can and do deliver strong returns with well co-ordinated and executed campaigns.
- Don’t be afraid to use your networks to ask for help. LinkedIn groups and professional bodies can provide very useful intelligence.
Personally I love a challenge but with so much “noise” in the on-line and off-line marketing world it’s often hard deciding on which path to take. Such difficulties in selecting which channels to invest in is a very common problem, reassure yourself you’re not alone.
Meanwhile I’ll continue spinning, juggling and making those shot selections, doing my best to keep up.
David Laud FCIM, Chartered Marketer