There are more ways to digest information, communicate and advertise than ever, which creates a cluttered environment. At the same time, products and services are commoditized. There’s many ways to get what you want immediately — two clicks on your phone and something is delivered to your door.
“That’s why businesses, especially those locally owned and operated, have to step away from what they have and focus on why they do it,” says Heather Wirtz, chief experience officer at Richwood Bank. “When you’re developing that voice, that brand, it’s about the experience and why you’re the right choice.”
Smart Business spoke with Wirtz about how marketing and financial health connect.
What marketing is most effective today?
It’s important to realize there are no cookie-cutter answers. Marketing depends on what results business owners are looking for. Who do they want to reach and what do they want to say? Some companies don’t want more customers; they want to retain the ones they have. Many businesses put together a pretty, but ineffective marketing campaign because they didn’t ask the right questions upfront, in order to maximize their marketing dollars with the right targeting.
Try this exercise: Think of your three favorite customers. Why do you rate them so high? Is it their age? Is it the way they act in your establishment? Do they come in a lot or spend a lot? Once you’ve identified that, you can target similar customers with engaging marketing that cuts through the clutter and gets them to pay attention. It’s also important to identify the pain points that get your best customers in the door. If they’re spending money, it’s to alleviate something that’s not right. Are they low on groceries, or switching insurance companies because their agent left or the rates went up? Then the advertising message can hit the emotional core of the pain they feel.
Social media and digital advertising aren’t always the answer, although dollar for dollar they can have more impact than expensive TV or radio ads. But sometimes methods like direct mail can better reach the right prospects. All buyable advertising is effective in certain circumstances — it’s a matter of knowing those circumstances. If your organization uses a digital channel, however, it needs to commit. Many companies create a twitter account that just sits there. Own it, while understanding that channel may not be popular a year from now.
It can take creativity to get people’s attention when they want to hear about something. For example, country artist Drake White was performing at the Richwood County Fair. Two weeks prior, a country concert was held about 20 miles away. The fair had a custom Snapchat filter built, which invited everyone to Drake White and was geofenced around that concert. Drake White ultimately had the best attendance in the fair’s history.
How do marketing and finance correlate?
Streamlining your current marketing will ensure you get the biggest ROI for your investment, and possibly even find ways to minimize your spend. But it also means measuring what marketing success looks like from a financial standpoint, whether an increase of sales by 20 percent or growing the customer base by 10 percent, which in turn translates to the bottom line.
How should companies prioritize budgets to create a well-defined and designed marketing strategy?
Don’t plug (or post) and walk away. Track and monitor your results and then refine as needed. It’s not a matter of likes or shares. Is your phone ringing more? Are you seeing more people? An audit of the sales process can be helpful, looking at the point of sale and customer relationship management solution to better track the activity. If your company is a restaurant or retailer, you’ll know if the advertising is working within days of putting an offer out. With banks, car dealers or real estate firms, it can take months for someone to switch or decide on a large purchase. It’s a matter of watching the activity more than sales.
Marketing has to be tied to your bottom line. With the right help, you can go from lost in the clutter to noticed to accepted and approved. Then those customers, based on their unique experience — whether online or in your location — will either retain and recommend, which is the best marketing you can receive, or reject and rant.
Interviewed and written by: Jayne Gest
Published with permission by Smart Business