(POPPITS WEBSITE Mockup | Photos Courtesy of zö agency)
Before we get started — let’s just say, marketing is FUN! And if it isn’t fun and it isn’t growing your bank account, then you’re not as well acquainted with marketing as you can be!
With that being said, let’s get clear on what marketing is and what it isn’t. Although your dictionary may define marketing as “the use of media to communicate information about a product or service” — insert static robot voice, here — we believe it’s actually more existential than that. If marketing is communicating something into the world, we think what is said should be worth saying. Easier said than done, right? Coming up with a compelling message is not easy, but we assure you, it is possible — and it begins by looking inward. Before initiating a marketing plan, you must first get clear on who you are, what you do and why it matters to the people that your brand exists for. Compelling messages don’t just give information, they tell a story. Agencies like us here at zö are masters at this! Blending together all the right elements and designing them to flow in a series of essential steps; successful marketing plans include the following list of ingredients that we have curated just for you. If done in their proper sequence and inspired by your soul, these following specialties — working in harmony — can bring to life a winning marketing plan.
Branding and Research
A good marketing plan starts with branding, and branding starts by clarifying two core things: identity and story. Why? Identity helps us find our fit in the world, and story gives meaning to information. Identity and story become the base foundation we build our brand on, and once we are clearly able to articulate both, we use them to inform everything we say in every part of our marketing plan. Dig deep into your company’s story so you can use it in this process. Harness your archetypes. Do some research on your market, your competitors and your consumer so that you can come to understand them really well. A lot of factors go into this, but at the end of the day it comes down to understanding yourself, your customer and how the tension between the two can connect you even more deeply when a brand (your voice) is authentic and meaningful to your customer.
Delivering on the promise of your brand is essential to a successful marketing campaign, and that’s where creative work comes in. After we’ve searched our own souls to clarify who we are, what we do and why it matters to those we exist for; creative work, advances those ideas into the world. This can include design, development, the use of imagery, video, audio and other content that will then be shared with the world in the places where our people consume information. These varying expressions of brand remind our people who we are and advance our ideas into the world. As we’ve experienced, this is also how product gets sold. As Simon Sinek has said on countless occasions, “people don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.” Creative work can help you visually express what your brand stands for and connect with your customers on an emotional level. They can also be used to drive conversions and increase your return on investment (ROI). Standing out in a crowded marketplace takes creativity and hard work, but it’s worth it.
Next, you’ll want to pair the best media channels (e.g. — digital, traditional, etc.) with evocative design, then leverage thoughtful campaign strategy in informing the scope of your marketing campaign. As is always the case, good strategy begins with insight. We could talk about which media channels are better than others or what constitutes as good design, but before we can even get to that conversation it’s important that we recenter the conversation around strategy. But how do we develop a good strategy? We start by identifying the problem we’ll be speaking to. What problem is our customer experiencing that we can solve for them? Additionally, what deeper, more human needs might be ailing our customers that this problem helps us see with greater empathy? Second, what makes us motivating or interesting in people’s minds and how can we position that as a competitive advantage? Third, what themes or truths do we see play out in culture that can help us better understand the cause(s) of their problem in a new way? Thoughtfully and honestly navigating through the discovery and articulation of these three things will birth the core message of our strategy.
In his book Good Strategy Bad Strategy: The Difference and Why it Matters, author, professor emeritus (and fellow Bendite) Richard P. Rumelt describes strategy as being “like a lever that magnifies force.” Marketing campaigns, then, can be highly active — and still unsuccessful — if we don’t have something to say that’s worth saying. If a marketing campaign is gonna win, it will ultimately be because we were able to shine light on our customer’s problems in such a way that they couldn’t help but notice and be moved by it.
Analysis and Reporting
We know that marketing without data is useless. In fact, evaluating your marketing efforts post-campaign and telling the truth about where you shined and where you didn’t is a critical part of any successful marketing strategy. By taking the time to review your data and pinpoint what’s working (and what’s not), you can fine-tune your campaigns to produce better results. The best companies are the ones that don’t shy away from being accountable to their results: owning where they fell short and celebrating where they outperformed!
Exit strategies are an important thing to consider and should be planned in advance. No business owner who undertakes this grand journey of entrepreneurship ever plans to see it end, but the reality is that at some point it does. That’s why planning out your exit strategy is so important: it gives you the room to imagine your future, while clarifying how you’ll know when you’re done. If you haven’t given much thought to your exit strategy, now is the time to start.
Deploying the Art of Masterful Marketing
Marketing is a form of art and can be a complex journey. But remember, people aren’t thinking machines that feel — we are feeling machines that think. Mastery over marketing may not come quickly or easily, but it can come. Focus on who you are, focus on the value you offer and focus on why it matters to those your brand exists for. If you do that, you’ll do great things.
At zö agency, we are the marketing department for small to midsize businesses. We’re here to take your limited resources coupled with overwhelming options you have on your plate, and cull them into an ROI (return on investment) that allows your company to grow at the pace it can manage. Simultaneously we take the burden of making such decisions off the weary shoulders of YOU, the change maker, so you can do what you do best. And when we do what we do best, you shine. Without overextending yourself, you suddenly find yourself in the light, growing and prospering, with less effort than ever before. You have new found time to energize your own enterprise while the wheels of change effortlessly roll in the background, ambassadored by our loving tribe.