5 key benefits of holistic marketing
Marketing. Love it or hate it? Lots of business owners we talk to see it as a necessary evil. Some enjoy it but simply don’t have the time. Others don’t get it at all. Which is fair seeing as there are so many different facets and meanings to the word marketing, especially when you consider the rise of the internet and advances in technology.
For us, the most effective way to think about marketing and the approach that pays off in the short and long term – is to think about marketing holistically. In simple terms this means taking a helicopter view of your business so that you are clear on the brand you want to create, the people you want as customers and how to be distinctive. Always as yourself - WHY US?
Let’s break it down into 5 key areas:
This requires taking a step back to analyse the big picture. We use a good old fashioned SWOT analysis here, some competitor analysis and then get really clear on who you are trying to reach (target audience); their wants/ needs and how you can offer solutions with your product or service.
Bringing the outside world in, protects you against risks that you may not have considered and allows you to take advantage of the opportunities you see in the market. Ultimately, you want to build everything around your brand’s core strengths and what you know about your prospects and customers.
If you try to be everything to everyone, you end up becoming nothing to everyone. The market is cluttered with brands fighting for our attention and it takes a lot to cut through the chaos. Especially if you are solely operating online.
The most successful brands are crystal clear on their target audience, whether that’s B2C or B2B, and then develop a purposeful brand idea and positioning that is interesting, motivating and ownable. Your brand can then more easily flow through the entire business and across every customer touchpoint, so when people interact with your brand it is consistent, recognisable and memorable. The best way to build brand awareness and recognition.
Strategic brand plan
We like to take a helicopter view to start with and a snapshot of the year, before diving into the nitty gritty detailed quarterly marketing plan. This is a good way to keep everyone in the business aligned and supports day-to-day decisions. To write your annual brand plan, here are some questions to ask yourself:
- Where are we? (Situational Analysis)
- It’s worth considering the key points from your situational analysis that highlight what is driving and inhibiting your brand’s growth, and what threats and opportunities exist. Include your commercial forecast here too.
- Where could we be? (Vision & Goals)
- Think about your vision and three chunky goals that you want to set for the year, that work towards you achieving your vision. Think high level, as an example: ‘Increase new business sales by 5%; monitor high value orders/purchases and focus on life time value initiatives’
- Why are we here? (Key Issues)
- Focus on the top three issues getting in the way of you achieving your vision, which you should put in question format. I.e. How will we build the internal capabilities needed to truly scale?’
- How can we get there? (Strategies & Goals)
- Three strategic solutions that match up to each of the questions above. Then set goals to measure your brand’s performance against each strategy. To match the goal example above, the strategy would be ‘Continue to attract new customers’.
- What do we need to do? (Executional Plans)
- This execution section maps out the specific plans for each of the customer touch points. Think marketing, sales, service etc.. – keep it high level here and then you can jump into the detailed marketing plan, as below.
Tactical marketing plan
Holistic marketing is all about being able to plan, monitor, analyse and optimise all of your marketing activity effectively. Once you’ve done the upfront thinking, it’s important to dive into the detail and plan against your short and long term brand and commercial targets.
To create your tactical marketing plan, here are some things to consider:
- Target audience
- Channel choice
- Messaging hierarchy
- Tracking & measurement
- Reporting & optimisation
Think about where your customers are and focus your efforts. There’s nothing worse than trying to be everywhere, with no clear direction, and spending time and money on wasted opportunities. Doing the upfront work will certainly help you plan more effectively and support your brand and commercial goals. Be conscientious with your budget and think about what results you need today and what activity will drive longer term brand gains.
Track, measure, optimise
Every marketing plan will look very different as it entirely depends on who you are trying to reach, what budget you have and what you are trying to achieve. Keeping all of your activity under one roof has huge advantages. Being able to create consistent brand messages and track the performance of your entire marketing mix, allows you to make informed decisions going forward and continually aim to bring down your cost per sale.
Make sure that you have the right tracking, tools and dashboards in place to support your business’s growth ambitions. The beauty of marketing is that you can see what’s working and do more of it!
This blog article was written by the BID's marketing lead Candace Gerlach and Founder of The Conscious Marketing Group.