marketing strategy Tag

A brand reputation is an extremely fragile concept. As Warren Buffett said, “It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it.” We all make mistakes, and even some of the greatest and most popular brands have had their own share of disasters, with Volkswagen’s cheating on emission tests, as well as the Coca Cola’s MagiCan campaign are just two that come to mind. Despite suffering significant reputational setbacks, these companies managed to put things straight. Of course, this process can be more challenging for smaller brands but with a good strategy, it’s possible to fix your brand reputation.

Own your mistakes

Online dating sites cater to every age and income bracket. For many years, niche online dating sites specially catered only to ethnic and religious groups. But today there are sites for every kind of single person. Online dating sites use many integrated marketing tools and techniques to get visitors to the critical point where they feel it's worthwhile to join. The tools they use and the messaging that drives their marketing depend heavily on the audience they hope to reach. When Jerry Miller launched the FarmersOnly.com dating website in 2005, he filled a niche for people to connect to others in similar circumstances. Farmers, ranchers, and people who live in the relative isolation of small towns can browse hundreds of profiles of people just like themselves. FarmersOnly.com  has quickly carved out a unique place in an overpopulated online dating market. Miller was working in agricultural marketing and heard the same story from many farmers: Dating was tough. Nobody else understood the relentless hours and how everybody knows everybody in their small rural communities. If they didn’t marry their high school sweethearts, they had a serious problem. So he started FarmersOnly, where over 4 million people have created profiles  in the hopes of harvesting a relationship.

imc tacticsIn both integrated marketing communications and traditional marketing, strategy gets a short shrift. Most marketing plans I've seen either dive right into tactics after defining their objectives, or they mistake strategies for objectives. It's always a squishy subject - let's start with a good definition. A strategy is the "what" - the overriding method for reaching your goals. Tactics are the "how" - the action items aligned with that strategy. In IMC, strong strategies are a critical success factor to the campaign for several reasons:
  • Strategies help with alignment. A strong strategy can be implemented across channels.
  • Integrated marketing communications require constant, iterative testing of IMC tactics. With a good strategy, you can constantly change up your tactics without changing direction. Tactics or linked tactics may fail to produce, but your campaign doesn't have to fail overall.
  • Messaging is a strategy in itself. Developing strong messaging that is translatable across channels and targeted toward the chosen personas is the foundation of great IMC campaigns. A core or integrated statement helps to drive alignment throughout the campaign.
  • Strategy is easier to communicate than specific IMC tactics. And again, if a tactic fails you don't have to tank the entire campaign.

I have a client who is always thinking about not only what to market, when to market and how to market...but what's going to happen on the operational side when a campaign hits. Although we all have a tendency to think of this person as a "debbie downer" when we're being creative-y and inspired, she's the smart one. Without good customer service you might as well be flushing your marketing money down the toilet. I had a an experience with a window washing company a few months ago. Great social media campaign, well-placed ads, etc. But after I booked them, they showed up hours late and then decided to take lunch after working for about 45 minutes. When I called the manager to let him know I really didn't have all day for this, I got a bunch of excuses and insinuations that I was being a pain. Needless to say I won't work with them again. I also left a review on Yelp that shows up very high on their search results. All that marketing went down the drain in my case. It's sometimes hard to experience your own customer service. In some cases you may have been working with an office manager or other employee for years, and built up a bit of denial. Here is a short checklist to make sure that your customer service capability can meet the new marketing demand. 

Don't feel dumb if you ask this question. We took a few weeks in my masters program at WVU to dive into this very question. In marketing, almost everything is squishy and this is probably the squishiest part. I bopped around my favorite sites and didn't find anyone with a really concrete definition of "strategy" vs "tactic" (even the dictionary is pretty ambiguous) so let's work with this one: 

It's January 9th and I'm having a hard time believing that it's been over a month since I asked you to create your "best tactics" list.  CRA-ZEE how time flies during the holidays. So, did you do it? Have you trashed any old things that you really couldn't tell were creating customers or revenue for you? Wondering why the hell I asked you to do that and never followed up? It's really hard to focus on strategy when you're juggling a million things a day. But you have to. Sometimes it's just easier to review the tactics that worked and build your strategy from the ground up, then pull strategies out of thin air. The purpose of this exercise is to look at the tactics that worked and decide on the overall strategy these tactics contribute to. THEN you can brainstorm more tactics that fit into that strategy. Thereby giving you a much more targeted approach that has a higher likelihood of success.