November 15, 2016

3 Key Tactics for a Consistent Marketing Message

For today’s increasingly multi-focused marketer—you know, the one being pulled in all directions like you—it’s a challenge to keep an energetic, strong, consistent marketing message working flawlessly, day in and day out.

Demands on your time, brain power and energy can interrupt focus on marketing strategy and tactics. Added mental noise from every form of media, companies vying for your attention, the constant stream of new or improved products in the marketplace as well as trying to keep an eye on the competition can be distracting. It’s a battle to keep up with fierce competition, pricing challenges or changing regulations, not to mention meeting the needs of demanding bosses, unsympathetic sales force and retail partners, and fickle consumers.

The question becomes, “How can you continue to keep your marketing message transparent, genuine, authentic and competitive?” We can help.

What’s the problem?

Modern marketers wear many hats, and everything’s moving faster than it ever has before. In order to reach their consumers, some marketers are experimenting with virtual reality technology to tell more immersive stories, while others are using precision targeting on social media to reach specific audiences.1 And, once you reach them, we know that consumers’ attention spans are down to eight seconds, less than even the notoriously ill-focused goldfish which has an attention span of nine seconds.2

At some point you may start to question your own marketing message. It can get diluted, it doesn’t seem fresh any more, it’s falling flat, or the competition is doing it better and/or faster.

Rather than getting discouraged or convincing yourself that your strategy, message or tactics need an overhaul, focus on three key areas. When you are stretched too thin to give it your 100 percent focus every minute of the day, allocating your precious time to these three ideas can help your message remain not only intact but powerfully effective. If executed well, they can maintain the integrity of your marketing message in spite of obstacles, and help you maintain your sanity.

1. Choose a path: a purchase journey supported at every step

A consistent presence online is extremely important when leading your customer through the purchase journey. Active social communities where people can engage with you and learn about your product or brand build trust. An informative and easy-to-navigate website with fresh content, such as a company blog, will give consumers a reason to come back to it. Paid online ads or other search engine marketing efforts will reinforce your message as your target audience surfs online.

An educated sales force armed with tools that make their communications seamless will also assist the sales process. Arm them with apps to use in the field, leave-behind materials, and talking points that are clear and concise, wasting no time in getting straight to the point.

Educate your customers as they shop with thoughtfully developed in-store materials that make your product easy to choose. Customers are also increasingly going online to research while they shop in person, another reason to establish a strong online presence. A study by Google revealed that 71 percent of in-store shoppers who use smartphones for online research say their device has become more important to their in-store experience.4

2. Listen: your customers expect it

Develop innovation processes based on customer input. Use social listening tools and active social community engagement to gather this valuable feedback. The feedback will then allow you to hone in on the information or content that people are responding to best.

Nurture relationships with industry media. Strive to be a partner with something of value to provide the industry, and it will pay you back tenfold.

Cultivate relationships with brand advocates and other influencers to spread the word about your product. Leverage testimonials to earn the trust of new consumers, featuring them on your website and print material. Shoppers take note of other peoples’ opinions, with 66 percent of consumers surveyed by Nielsen reporting that they trust consumer opinions posted online.3

3. Add value at their fingertips

Communicate with your customers in the way they want to be communicated with and make it easy. Remember that you’re dealing with a short attention span, so it is vital to engage your audience quickly and interactively, and get straight to the point.

Provide fresh content on all of your platforms and tie it back together, offering something of value to your customers and giving them a reason to come back to you.

Make the call to action clear and simple. Be up-front with what you are asking: if you want them to join your mailing list, provide their feedback, or buy online, tell them that quickly and clearly before you’ve lost their attention.

Stay strong

Remember, once you have a plan, stay strong. Marketers — which includes you, your superiors and subordinates—can fall into the trap of overthinking, over-tweaking and trying to anticipate your customer’s every thought and reaction. Do your homework, make a plan and run with it.

Spending too much time and energy front-loading and bulletproofing initiatives and campaigns to try to guarantee success is a recipe for disaster. With today’s digital and social measurement tools, you can see what’s working and what isn’t in almost real time. You can change things as you go, focus on what’s working and discard what isn’t. Keep things moving forward and fix problems as they arise.

When you seek feedback, be careful what you’re asking for. Marketers are problem solvers, so if you present your work as something that needs fixing, solutions and changes will be offered. Instead, sell your ideas up the decision-making ladder with confidence and passion. As you do this, opinions will present themselves as improvements, not energy-sapping redirection or rejection.

If you need help navigating this fast-paced digital world, find positive people and companies that can help you develop strong strategies and support you right through to the end. Find a partner that can help with tactical execution, measurement analytics and reporting. In short, a partner to take some of the load off your back.