Feeling good about your marketing strategy? Could be time for a second opinion.

You’re cruisin’ along feeling fine and all of a sudden, you get whacked by some unforeseen health issue. You see your doc, she asks you a few probing questions. All of a sudden you realize that you missed some red flags that could have been detected, sparing you angst and discomfort.

Same for your marketing plan. If you’re not doing a brand or product marketing health check once or twice a year, your ROI could be suffering – even though everything seems just fine. With changing market conditions, new technology, and the New Year approaching, resolve to do a serious assessment right now.

Done a marketing strategy self-exam lately?

Your health check is based on some routine “labs,” a series of questions that must be answered accurately and understood across your organization:

  • Your business model
  • The competitive landscape
  • Your target market (or markets)
  • Your brand’s value proposition
  • The measurable effectiveness of recent marketing campaigns

The good news is you can do a lot of this yourself. (Of course, if you need a second opinion from a specialist, our marketing agency is ready to help.) Like any good practice, ours will provide some structure to your exam by guiding you through a series of questions.

Has your marketing plan delivered a positive ROI this year?

Return on investment is always a challenge for marketers and the overall business in general. The idea is to check whether the money you put into your marketing strategy has generated positive results. We suggest the following data points as next year’s key ROI trackers:

Sales Numbers: Interpreting the numbers can be the fastest and most basic way to determine whether your marketing strategy is working. With Google Analytics, Google AdWords, HubSpot or other marketing and advertising software tools, you can get insights into website traffic and how your online advertising campaigns are performing. With better attribution marketing tools, you should be able to measure what traditional and digital channels are performing the best. If you are unable to track and analyze revenue attribution, this should be your first New Year’s resolution.

Customer Response: Customer response goes beyond the numbers to provide the “why” behind accepting (or rejecting) your brand promise. Online and in-person surveys, general customer service feedback and online commentary can all reveal what your customers think of your marketing, and which campaigns have the greatest impact on ROI.

Salespeople: Your field salespeople should be qualified to gauge the pulse of your customers, how they receive your marketing messages and the media channels that are best delivering your message. Salespeople typically have very strong viewpoints and more than happy to report on what they think is working and what’s not. If your target audience is unaware or unclear about your marketing efforts, you should revisit your plan and tweak your messaging. See if the sales team notices a difference.

Competitor Response: The actions of your competitors can often tell you a lot about the success or failure of your marketing strategy. If competitors rush to copy what you've done or try their best to one-up your initiatives, the strategy is working. If your campaigns go largely ignored or there is an immediate negative response, it may be time to take some new marketing medication. Tools like Mention and SEM Rush can provide insights into competitor digital advertising activities.

Who are you? Really.

Your company’s brand is its most valuable currency. Don’t be a “me-too” brand that blends in with the crowd. Think of your brand as a person. Who comes to mind? How unique or identifiable is this personality? Is this person bold? Refreshing? Trustworthy? Put a stake in the ground. Take a position. Hold the line unless your research informs you otherwise.

Quick tip: digital marketing self-exam

Try this…go to your 'About Us' page on your website. Then do the same for your competitors. Can you tell which copy belongs to which brand? Where are the differentiators? Think about your prospects. If they’re reading mission statements and About Us pages, why would they choose you over the competition?

Why should anyone buy from you?

Checking the needs of our target market against your value proposition is a vital sign of your company’s well being. You must keep exploring what their pain points are and the value they seek from a solution. Not only will this give you insight into how to improve you product/service, but it will also allow you to sharpen your value proposition – the reason prospects should buy from you in the first place.

Are you targeting the right audience?

Identifying your audience is one of the first things you have to do to communicate your brand’s unique value proposition properly. So…does everyone know whom your brand is targeting? Are your sales marketing teams on the same page? Your sales team is on the front lines engaging with prospects and customers. They are perfectly positioned to the brand’s unique value proposition as it relates to your audience.

Is your communication consistent across channels?

Aggressive and authoritative on social media. Pastorally calm across your website. Pure vanilla in your email marketing. Once you’ve established your voice, stick with it whatever the medium. Sure there will be slight variations (e.g., conversion language). Keep switching your brand voice and you’ll lose customers or be treating them for whiplash!

Consistency also applies to visual assets. If you’ve updated your logo or color palette, make sure all assets are up-to-date; otherwise, you risk looking less than professional.

How are your advertising campaigns performing?

We’re almost out of questions. But it’s tough out there. And getting people to interact with and remember your brand can really be stressful.  So please complete your marketing self-exam, by looking at the following critical areas:

Social media:  Do you have a strong following? Does your audience engage in conversations with you? Do they care what you have to say? Are they re-Tweeting?

Reviews: Would your audience recommend your products to a friend? There are some effective social listening tools like Meltwater that can monitor what prospects and customers are saying about your brand online or their buying experience. Listen with the intent to understand. And don’t be adverse to address negative reviews. Engaging negative reviews head on speaks to the integrity of your brand.

New vs. repeat purchasers: Do people buy from you once and never again? Is your customer lifetime value strong? If you have Google Analytics setup or use a marketing automation tool like HubSpot, you’ll be able to analyze the percentage of visits and sales from new and repeat customers.

Outside referrals: Do news sources or authoritative blogs cover your product or service?

Ready for a second opinion? It’s on us.

For more detailed diagnosis of your brand or product marketing performance, let us examine your website, SEO, PPC or social media results. We’ll give to an honest assessment of how you could improve your ROI. It’s free – and it’s good for you!

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