Using both the right side and left side of the brain is critical in creating a really strong marketing plan. The right side of your brand houses creativity and emotions while the left side hosts the logical processes. The marketing campaigns that really stand out from the crowd tend to be those that have a high degree of creative or emotional engagement. They have done something different or made you look at the world in a different way.
While creativity is essential in marketing, it is only as useful as the amount of common sense applied to the idea. No matter how creative or innovative a marketing plan is, it is only successful if it drives increased sales for a business. Ideas that don’t inspire a consumer to act are as useful as throwing money into the wind.
Here are some of my top tips for SME’s to build a creative and practical marketing plan that will drive sales and challenge you to use both sides of the brain:
1. Customer Centric Plans: Make the consumer the central element to your communications. A lot of companies view the world from the view point of their product and service i.e. this is what I am offering and this is what this product or service can do. The key shift in thinking is to think about your products and services only in how they relate to the life and the world of your consumer i.e. this is what problem you have and this is how my product or service can solve that problem.
2. Seek first to Understand: In order to make your customer central to your plans you need to know them inside and out. Who they are, their lifestyle, their habits, their needs, desires, view of the world. Research your target market inside and out so you can see where and how your product fits into their lives. Without understanding your customer you have no way to emotionally or functionally engage them with your product or service.
3. Choose the best Marketing Tools: You have a lot of options to communicate your message to your customer; advertising, public relations, tradeshows, networking, online, promotions, gorilla marketing…the list goes on. The most effective way is to base this choice on your consumer. You go to where your customer is. With limited budgets and the desire to get maximum bang for your buck you should only go where you know your customer frequents. A typical example of the mistake people make is highlighted in Social Media. It is the buzz word of the day and business think “I have to be there”. They sign up to Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn etc. Before you go helter skelter and spend your valuable time across multiple platforms ask yourself the question…where is my customer?
4. Let your creativity run free: Once you have carefully reviewed all your options and chosen the best marketing tools for your business let your imagination run free. Brainstorm your ideas for each of your tools. Give yourself the space and freedom to create innovative ideas for your business. How can I use this tool in a different way than anyone else has used it? If you are not particularly creative get other people into brainstorm ideas with you. Ask your customers for their ideas. When you have exhausted all possible concepts then, and only then, start to get practical. What are the realistic options for you to pursue and which ideas will have the greatest impact on your business.
5. Set Objectives: For every marketing activity you decide to do set clear objectives for each one. Is it brand awareness, getting current customers to buy more, getting new customers to buy in or relationship development? Know why you are doing what you are doing as otherwise you will not be able to measure your success
6. Measure your success: For every euro or hour you spend on marketing it is so important to know what you are getting in return. Return on Investment is the simplest of measures and only takes minutes to complete. It is the measure of input versus output. If you input €1000 and get back sales of €1500 your return on investment is a positive 150%. If you measure all you activities in this way you will be able to make those hard decisions on what to invest in the future very easy as you know what is working well for you and what is not.
7. Return on Investment not Price of Investment: As SMEs with limited budgets it is tempting to invest in marketing activities that are low cost. The focus of your attention needs to be not in the price of investment but on the return you get as a result of that investment. If you spend €100 and get €200 of sales back that is a good investment. However, small investments add up over a year. If you have an investment of €2,000 and get €20,000 in sales back then that is far more valuable to your business. Regardless of what you spend, always evaluate the opportunity based on what you expect to get back as a result of the activity and not the perceived value of the deal upfront.
8. Keep Inspired: The world around us is brimming with inspiration every day. We are interacting with other businesses, other disciplines all the time and what works for a different industry or profession could potentially be changed and applied to your business. Look after the right side of your brain and let your imagination take flight regularly so you can bring back innovative ideas to your business all the time.
To find out more about how you can develop an excellent marketing strategy for your business email firstname.lastname@example.org
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