Secrets in Marketing Performance
What’s the buzz about a Marketing Makeover? No, It’s not a new Reality TV show… At least not yet, but by evaluating your current marketing strategies you can avoid one of the biggest marketing mistakes.
Now you may be thinking… “Oh, not us. We’ve got years of experience.”
Which leads me to ask, “Years of experience… or just one year of experience repeated year after year whether it’s working or not?”
Or maybe you’re thinking… “We’ve been successful for many years and we don’t need a marketing makeover.”
If you’ve got too much business… great, you can stop reading and flip the page. Keep in mind, “profit can hide a lot of mistakes.” Maybe you are doing well, but it’s still a good idea to make sure that you aren’t wasting any profits on poorly implemented and mismanaged marketing efforts.
Let’s take a closer look at one of the biggest marketing mistakes – copycat marketing – and how to avoid it.
First, a quick warning: For those of you that don’t know me… I am not one to sugar coat my marketing advice. So don’t be alarmed if some of my comments smack you in the face.
Imagine this scenario. It’s Tuesday morning, you’re sitting around the conference table with your marketing staff, (which might be just you.) The goal: Create a new marketing brochure. How do you get started? First, you spread out all of your competitors marketing materials to get ideas flowing.
You read a headline on one brochure that says, “Full line of Services” so you jot down “Complete line of Services” on your note pad. Next you look at the stock photos and think, we’ve got something similar and away you go – copying the main concepts into your new design. You finish the layout with elements copied from a competitor, with no way of knowing if the competition’s market piece was actually effective.
Or, maybe you opted to hire an ad agency to help with the design. They should be experienced to help you create a masterpiece. You give them your objectives and ideas. They create nice looking materials for you. You pay them well for their services. Everyone’s happy. Or are they?
The target customer might not be so happy. Why? Because the typical ad agency is in the business of creating “image” type advertising pieces that makes the company look good – without effective marketing messages or specific action steps to get potential customers through your door. So they design your piece with a big picture of your building, your logo, or your company president/CEO. Heck, maybe all three.
The problem is that your potential customer doesn’t care about your building, logo or even the CEO – they care about what’s in it for them. They want to know what the benefits are for your products and services. They want to be informed, entertained and educated. They are looking for solutions.
Face it. Copycat marketing hurts you and your customer. It’s the quick kiss of business death because you are relying on what your competitor created as a foundation for your marketing without any proof that what they did worked.
What’s the Solution?
Differentiate yourself from the competition.
There are many options you can use to stand out in a crowd, too many to go into with great detail here, so I am going to focus on one of the most important elements – your marketing message.
That’s the point of marketing in the first place. To give your prospects enough relevant information that they can make informed decisions. Key word = relevant. Relevant means “benefit”, and benefit means a positive emotional state of mind or intangible feeling for the customer.
Features describe you, your company, products or services. They describe the how, not the why. Benefits are the end result of the feature.
For example, “Open 7 Days A Week.” Is that a feature or a benefit? It’s a feature. The benefit is convenience.
What about “15 Years of Experience” – Feature or Benefit? Again, it’s a feature. The benefit is that it they can trust you.
An easy way to transform features into benefits is to ask yourself, “Which Means?” over and over until you get to the ultimate benefit of the feature. Remember, features are just as important as benefits, but lead with benefits and substantiate your message with features. Benefits create the customer experience and feelings that cause them to do business with you.
Gather up samples of your marketing materials and print out a few pages from your website. Put yourself in the mind of your prospect. Then identify the features and benefits in your marketing materials.
Do you have benefit headlines? Search for specific and measurable action steps. Look to see if your call-to-action is Call for More Information – which, in my opinion is too vague. Or does it clearly state what to do, what’s going to happen, and how the process works? Then score each of your samples on a scale of 1 to 10 on effectiveness – with 10 being great.
Look at your website. Does it communicate clearly to your target audiences or are you trying to send the same message to everyone – regardless of what type of visitor lands on your site? Are you collecting visitor information and building your prospecting list? Is the navigation clear? Is there a main marketing message and specific call-to-action on every page? When was the last time it was updated? Does it need an overhaul? My guess is that at least from a customer experience perspective, it probably needs a marketing makeover.
It’s not your fault. You hired what you thought were competent vendors – and you might have a nice “looking” site. Is nice looking what you really want – or do you want results, traffic and profits? Sorry, that’s a no-brainer.
It’s a crime what some companies receive for their Internet site & collateral marketing materials investment when the end result doesn’t effectively “communicate the value” of their products and services.
Regardless of the marketing medium – online or offline – the words used are what are most important. Graphics, pictures, colors, and formatting attract attention, but text is what communicates value. Text is what sells.
Craft your Unique Selling Propositions (USP’s). These are the unique benefit propositions that you are making with your marketing message. They help differentiate you from your competition. USP is just a term that was coined in the 1950’s by Rosser Reeves to describe the process of writing effective marketing messages. Over the years, every great marketer, including me, has used it to help focus the creative copy process.
Creating lists of your USP’s for all of your products, services, and markets, and testing them, are critical steps on your road to improving the results of a successful marketing makeover. Learn how to write great copy or hire a proven expert.
The secret is not to copy your competitor – and improve your marketing messages using your USP and effective copywriting strategies. Enjoy the benefit of adding value to your customer and profits to your bottom line by getting started on your own marketing makeover today.