Do Your Homework for Greater Marketing Success

By Cara Sloman, Executive Vice President

This blog is a summary of a piece I wrote for Forbes. Read the full article here. 

In the past, there were four main buckets for marketing: advertising, PR, direct response and events. But now, it’s a whole new ball game–there’s influencer marketing, social media, search engine optimization, search engine marketing, online and offline advertising, direct response, your own website and, of course, public relations. And that’s only scratching the surface.

With so many communication channels, tools and media formats, how do you decide what to do? We like to frame our approach by answering three key questions:  What’s your target customer’s persona? What’s their journey? And what’s the most cost-effective way to engage them along the way?

Who is your ideal customer?

Your first step is to create a customer persona. Creating this persona begins with looking at who your best customers are—the ones you wish you had more of. Then identify the key decision makers – the ones who promoted or drove the decision to purchase from or work with you.

From here, we determine what you want to know about this persona, including things like demographics, goals/motivations, challenges, hobbies and interests. The people in your organization who are closest to your key decision makers, most likely in sales or service, probably already know some of these things. Ask for their input and let them know that you’d like their help reaching out to these key decision makers to learn more.

Go into as much depth as you can with the data you have for the customers you’re basing your persona on. If there are gaps, that’s okay. Figuring it out is part of the process, and you can always go back and add material as you discover it.

What is your customer’s journey?

Again, your sales teams is likely to have some of this information but not all. We’ve found that this is where a MarTech tool can come in handy. Draw out the stages and touchpoints. How and when did they recognize they had a need? How did they go about identifying the best solution? How did they develop and compare their short list of vendors? How did they make the final decision to buy?

At this point, you want to contact the key decision makers and ask them to help you fill in the gaps. Do this in cooperation with those folks who know your key decision makers best. Invite them to meet for coffee or buy them lunch. Be sensitive to everyone’s time, but you ought to be able to reach out to your best customers for this kind of input.

Where will you engage with them?

After doing the work of creating customer personas and mapping their journeys (and for the record, this is not a complete view of customer journey mapping), you should now have a much simpler view of your marketing landscape.

Because you understand your customers so well at this point, you will know where to find them. Now, think about your own budget and abilities. It’s all right to not be on every media channel or at every conference. Identify the strategies that will get you the most ROI and can be effectively managed.

A bit of research pays off

We believe that good marketing is about knowing your customer. As a wise soul said, “Your customer is not you.” You need to invest a little time to understand who buys what you offer, how and where they found out about you, and what led them to make their final choice. Armed with this information, we’ve helped clients forge a solid marketing strategy customized to meet ideal customers’ needs. This way, customers get what they want—just the product or service they need—and you will get what you want: more sales.

Learn about how we can help drive engagement with your key customers.