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In Marketing, You Eat the Pie One Bite at a Time

By: Drew McLellan


It’s the middle of January and by now most people have gone back to life as they knew it prior to January 1st. They aren’t getting up at 5 am to jog or only eating grapefruit rinds and prunes or chewing on licorice instead of smoking.

No doubt there’s been all kinds of studies done on why we both set and violate our new year’s resolutions each January. I think one of the reasons why resolutions are so seductive and yet so elusive is because they’re too ambitious. We don’t resolve to work out once a week or lose five pounds or reduce our cigarette consumption by 20%. We want to go whole hog. We’re going to work out six days a week, lose 50% of our body mass and stop smoking tomorrow.
No wonder we cave so quickly.
I think the same logic applies to that marketing plan you wrote in the past couple months. It was a thing of beauty—with colored Excel spread sheets, infographic-like charts and a litany of marketing tactics, each one designed to make one of your specific target markets fall to their knees.
If you have the resources (time, money and people) to execute on all of that, more power to you. Go get ‘em! But if you’re the average marketing director or business owner, you are awash in great ideas but bone dry when it comes to the resources to get it all done.
I’d like to suggest a less overwhelming way to tackle your marketing for 2015.
Prune: Look at everything you are currently doing on a consistent basis and have been doing for at least twelve months. Rank them on their effectiveness in relation to your sales goals. If you can’t measure a tactic’s effectiveness, put it at the bottom of the list. Whatever tactic is last, eliminate it and direct the time and effort towards something else.
Listen: Call up five former clients who were at one time good, steady clients. Ask them to candidly tell you why aren’t buying from you anymore. Be ready to probe and dig a little to get to the truth. (You’ll have to overcome that Midwest nice thing). If you hear the same thing more than twice, consider addressing that issue or missing element. If you resolve that issue somehow, make sure your entire client base and past client base knows about the change.
Take your best shot: Review that marketing plan you drafted. What’s the one tactic that you believe can have the most significant (and measurable) impact on the company’s bottom line? Keep in mind, it might be new sales, or growth from existing clients. It could also be something that reduces customer erosion or returns. Whatever it is and however it adds to the bottom line, implement it immediately and completely.
Don’t worry about the rest of the tactics for now. Get this one launched and a part of your routine. Once that is done, then you can consider adding another tactic to the mix.
Monitor and measure: This is where a lot of marketing falls flat. If you can’t measure it, how can you possibly know if your investment of time and resources Is paying off? People give this lip service but few will spend the time or money to actually implement a measurement program. Yes, it does take some upfront costs and time to build out the tactic in a measurable way—but isn’t that a better expense than just continuing to do something because you “think” it’s effective?
Eliminate something, listen to past customers for clues to what’s missing, add one new thing and measure it all. That’s a bite-sized way to tackle your marketing for this year that will help you stay on course!
This article was originally published by Drew’s Marketing Minute
Published: February 24, 2015

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Drew McLellan

Drew McLellan has owned an advertising agency for almost 20 years, serving local, regional and national businesses. He also coaches hundreds of agencies on business best practices through peer to peer networks, workshops and consulting.  Drew is often interviewed/quoted in Entrepreneur Magazine, New York Times, CNN, BusinessWeek, and many others. The Wall Street Journal calls him “one of 10 bloggers every entrepreneur should read.” He blogs at both www.DrewsMarketingMinute.com and www.BuildABetterAgency.com.

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