Photo credit: Pexels, Sept 2021
First, let me give you some context as to how I got to my approach.
I didn’t really know what marketing was until I went to university. I’d not chosen to study the subject. Instead, I’d signed up for a degree in Politics and International Relations! But it turned out I could take some marketing and business modules in first year. I enjoyed them and ended up taking several extra modules over the next four years.
I did some work experience for a market research company in Glasgow one Summer. Despite my peers scoffing that I was working for free (back then volunteering and internships were less common) it was a positive experience and definitely helped me get my first (paid) job in marketing. It was also my first insight to the power of data and the benefits of knowing your customer.
After graduation, I started working in a marketing department of a large financial services company, which I did for about ten years (although changed companies a few times). This is where I honed my communications expertise and grew my experience in strategy development and planning. I also had significant budgets, which meant I had to monitor and justify my campaign spend and my marketing results. I was also fortunate to be funded through my Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM) professional exams and become a Chartered Marketer.
The years that followed were those of trying to juggle two little ones and keep my career going. I had 5 years running my own franchise (totally different to financial services, everything was done on a shoe string with a new ideal customer!) and another 5 years in teaching/education, where I delivered the CIM’s professional marketing courses and a number of undergraduate and postgraduate courses in marketing and business.
I want you to understand that when I say ‘I love marketing’ I genuinely mean it! And when I share my knowledge, skills or experience with you, it’s based on solid foundations.
Starting Belter Marketing last year was about helping others understand marketing, sharing my passion and getting better marketing results for business owners.
I know being a business owner isn’t an easy career option – it takes hard work, dedication and patience (the latter I’m working on!) But I also know if we can find useful tools or processes that make things easier (and have proven success) we’re usually willing to listen. With that in mind, I’m sharing my ‘tried and tested’ approach to better marketing results below.
That’s not to say it’s an ‘easy’ approach (all the good ones never are!) and this is more of an overview but it does give you some simple steps which, when followed, will lead to better marketing results.
I talk a lot about the ‘fundamentals of marketing’ or the ‘strategic elements’ you can’t ignore. Understand these before you start any marketing activity and you’ll ensure better results for your business.
Marketing is constantly evolving, especially with digital opportunities and technology, but don’t be swayed by the shiny and new. At least not until you’ve got your fundamentals and strategy right! And when you’re ready to look at the shiny and new make sure you find someone to help that’s an expert in that area, whether that’s Instagram reels, launch funnels or Clubhouse to name but a few examples.
So, here are 7 key steps in my approach to marketing:
1. Don’t start your marketing in isolation
Marketing should be aligned to your overall business goals and support your bigger picture, otherwise it’s not helping you get to where you want to be!
2. Define your marketing purpose
What are you trying to achieve with your marketing activity? This may change over time and that’s okay but be clear on your goals or objectives for the next month/quarter/year. Your marketing purpose could be focused on sales (and we all need those!) but it could also be on building your brand, raising awareness, customer retention, engaging new customers etc…
3. Think strategically
As a minimum, think about this in terms of the 3Cs – customers (nail your ideal customer and their customer journey), communications (be clear on your vision, values and key messages) and competitors (who are they and what does their marketing look like?)
4. Choose the right marketing options for you and your business
Be sensible about the marketing options you choose – consider the budget, time commitment you’re willing to make and the skills/knowledge you’ve available (whether this is you, your team or outsourced). An example may be realising you don’t have the capacity to be on every social media platform so you’re going to focus on the one or two most used by your ideal customer.
5. Check the connection
Do your chosen marketing options work for your ideal customer and take you a step closer to your overall business goals? If not, what needs to change or stop? This is your sense check before spending time developing the wrong content.
6. Content development
What content can you develop to add value to your ideal customers? What do your customers need help with? What do they need and/or want to know about? How are you going to deliver this content to them? A plan can help you implement all your content and deliver consistently.
7. Review and monitor
You’ve done the hard work and know what marketing is needed for your business and your ideal customers, now you need to monitor how it’s working. Make sure you’re looking at (and using!) the data and insights available to you. Identify what works well (or doesn’t) and change or stop where necessary. Do this on a semi-regular basis for the biggest impact.
If my approach resonates with you, I’d be happy to chat more. I’ve got tools, templates and coaching materials to support your marketing. You can email me firstname.lastname@example.org or contact me. Join the Belter Marketing Community for more marketing tips, advice and support.