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Crimes against your marketing budget

I have been involved in the marketing of companies and brands for the past 15 years and have worked on a wide range of businesses, from large consumer-facing corporations like MTN, Nike, Liberty Life and various brands at Unilever, right through to smaller B2B companies. Having focussed my career primarily on the food industry for the past couple of years, I found the food industry had many similarities to non-food entities regarding their struggles in the marketplace, “How do I break into an industry and get customers to notice my brand and product?”

Marketing is an area that many businesses struggle with. It is the easiest discipline to do, and yet the hardest to master. You are an expert at producing world-class machinery, setting up production lines, selling raw ingredients or even cleaning suppliers, but as soon as you sit down to tell someone about the value you can add, you go blank. It is easy to ramble off a list of products and services your company offers, but how do you translate the true value you can offer to your clients?

I want to share a couple of learnings and common mistakes I see many businesses make, and hopefully, give you clarity on how you can overcome them in your next marketing campaign.

Here is a phrase that I have heard all too often: “Marketing does not work for my business!”

I have seen companies use this phrase after having placed advertising with print and/or digital publications, often for a 6-12-month duration because they were met by an amazingly effective sales agent. I once heard one of my clients say: “Maybe I should employ that sales lady from the magazine, I didn’t get any sales from the publication, but she was able to sell me on a 12-month contract. Maybe I should employ her to run my sales.”

Before I approach a new client with a marketing strategy, I always do an audit to see what they have done to date. In many cases, I found that the mediums they deem as “ineffective,” were often, the correct medium, but the messaging used in the campaign was where the problems lay.

Most clients, especially B2B clients, will conduct their marketing activities on the back of reviewing a list of the available mediums and publications. “Something is better than nothing.” Is a phrase you often hear. From my experience, I have seen some common mistakes made by advertisers. I am going to highlight some of those to you now and should you be found guilty of committing one of the ‘Crimes against your marketing budget,’ don’t worry, there is hope.

Wrong medium

When selecting the medium, it is important to understand two main ingredients: 1) your target audience and 2) the purpose of the mediums itself. If you are targeting an exceptionally large audience, radio ads will be a perfectly acceptable medium, however if the audience is small, radio would be the last place to go. A niche publication, direct marketing, or a clever PR campaign can produce amazing results.

Unattractive design

The importance of aesthetically designed artwork cannot be overstressed. We live in a world where people are inundated with advertising and visual stimuli. If we are to attract our customer’s attention, we need to invest upfront in a great logo and brand image, along with beautifully crafted advertising content.

Underdeveloped brand proposition

What we know about modern advertising is that people view brands/companies in the same way they would a person. What B2B companies often forget is that they are not doing business with an inanimate object, but rather a person, a mother or father, a wife or husband. These people have dreams and aspirations, beliefs, needs and even pain points. When you, as the business, understand this about your customers, you can easily humanise your brand and build a proposition that speaks to the customers’ needs and aspirations. Don’t sell products, sell solutions to problems.

Incorrect, unclear, or ineffective messaging

Your ad should entice the buyer to engage and act. When developing your marketing messaging, there are several strategies you can look at:

  • Create a direct connection to the customers’ needs
  • Create a value proposition that is hard to turn down
  • Show clearly how you are different from all your competitors
  • Create urgency, act now

When these elements (a beautiful design, clear messaging, a strong value proposition, placed in the right medium) are correctly combined into a single coherent piece of communication, you are left with a marketing campaign that jumps out at your customers, grabs their attention, and compels them to act. Marketing is a lot like the food production process, when you add quality ingredients to the mix, your product is always going to be a winner. 

If you need help to develop your 2021 marketing campaign, please drop us a line. We are here to help you along your journey to success.