Recently, marketing guru Al Ries posted an article on AdAge.com asking “Do You Have Everything Except a Marketing Strategy?” It’s a great read focused on the strategies (or lack thereof) of large cap companies and political candidates as they work to increase sales or votes but it doesn’t really address the strategic challenges entrepreneurs face every day. Specifically, small businesses rarely have the stratified corporate structures of a Fortune 500 conglomerate or a presidential campaign, so his advice against top management developing the corporate strategy doesn’t mesh with the realities of smaller firms since “top management” and the “marketing team” can typically be one and the same.
So how do you create a successful marketing strategy in an economy where running a business is usually less about long term growth and more about how you keep the doors open and the lights on? For starters, you can’t do it alone. Look at it this way…
What if you had to have your gall bladder removed? Would you watch a few videos online or read a couple of books on the procedure and then feel comfortable doing the surgery yourself? Of course not! You would find the best gall bladder surgeon you can afford and ask him for help. This way, you ensure a trained professional does the job and your body is healthier in the long run.
Still, many entrepreneurs look at marketing as less like a major medical procedure and more like a facial scrub. They reason that, because they are able to make a few sales (what’s that old line about blind pigs and truffles?) and they “know their business better than anyone else,” they can manage their marketing on their own. When, if they had seen marketing as a significant health issue, they would have sought out an affordable marketing agency to help them through a complicated process and, ultimately, made their business healthier in the long term.
But how do you know if the money you’re spending on an agency or a strategy is providing the biggest bang for the buck? Many advertising or creative agencies will tell you that as long as you keep paying for ads that win THEM awards or increase the number of “likes” you have on Facebook, then your money was well spent. But if your sales don’t increase, how can that be true?
That’s why Technetium came up with the concept of the 4A model. When we develop a marketing strategy or advertising campaign for one of our clients, we look at ways to Build Awareness of your Brand, Create Affinity for your Brand, Generate Action from Current and Potential Customers and Develop Analytics to Measure Success and Develop Strategies. You can learn more about the 4A model here. It’s the one time, with the exception of NASCAR, that going in circles isn’t a bad thing. Without all four elements working in harmony, you’ll never be sure if your money is well spent. So ask yourself, can you afford NOT to have a team of marketing experts working tirelessly to help you manage the health of your business?
If not, call us. If you’re not sure, call us. (Don’t worry, we’ll give you an honest assessment, not a sales pitch).