January may feel like a bit of blur. Christmas only seems as if it was yesterday and you are already waving bye bye to the first month of the year. But it’s not too late to focus on a handful of changes that could really make a difference to how you market your company in 2012.
Here’s what we think you should have on your radar.
1. Invest in content
We find that a lack of good quality content is the single biggest marketing barrier that our clients face on a day to day basis. Content more often than not ends up in a rush job with that empty feeling of “things could have been so much better”, or it is written by your marketing agency with very little client input provided. It is important that you realise it is you that live and breathe your products or services so you are in the best position to shout about them. Sure, a marketing agency can make it sound good but you must provide the “meat on the bone” so that your target audience realise you understand your industry. Good content will also help with your google rankings. Google reads the first 100 words on a webpage to determine where you should rank dependent on the content. If that content is poor then you will not rank highly for the products or services that you sell.
2. Give people the opportunity to provide good content
Are the people who hold the knowledge in your company closely linked with the people who are responsible for creating and publishing your content?. When creating any form of promotion it is important that this question is addressed. The people in companies who often deal with the end user are not the people that work with marketing agencies and where their skills may not lie in piecing all of the elements together, their direct interaction must filter through to the marketing team.
3. Take control of social media
More than a few marketers are already losing sleep this year because they are under pressure to do something, anything in fact, with social media. It is too easy for those around you to pick out this particular type of marketing activity due to its newcomer status and put pressure on you to adopt activity in a knee jerk fashion. On one hand they are right; you probably should be doing something because social media does offer some pretty great opportunities. It’s just not that simple though. Many social media activities have started up quickly only to run out of steam and ultimately wither and die. This doesn’t help anyone. Customers do notice and it harms the credibility of social media as a business tool, and possibly that of the entire marketing function. Social media holds huge potential for firms attempting to improve their creative marketing efforts. An agency can help you to take advantage of popular platforms such as Twitter and Facebook, as well as other lesser-known platforms, to create a strong social media presence. Once you are set up on various social media channels you will then be able to start searching for communities who matter to your business. You can then engage with these communities by joining the conversation and providing them with useful content, which will help to build trust with potential customers and improve the likelihood that they will want to do business with you. you can also use social media to improve your google rankings for certain keywords by using those words when posting items on social media channels.
4. Get out of the office
The downside of digital marketing’s increased ability to be reactive, is that people get used to working in this a reactive way all of the time. This can mean that less research, (which can be considered slow and expensive compared digital campaigns), is done as part of the marketing planning cycle. This is a false economy. If you want to create products and services that sell, you need to know exactly what customers are thinking. Time spent on exploring possible ideas before leaping in head first can ensure your marketing activity has a far more measured approach as oppose to “all puff and know wind”
5. Review marketing technology
Clients often look at what they did last year and do pretty much the same the following year. To some extent this is a good tactic, you know it worked in the past so their is no reason why it won’t work in the future. The only problem with this tactic is that you don’t embrace any of the new technologies which are constantly evolving the world of marketing. Some of these changes may not be right for you so I don’t think it should completely be a case of “out with the old , in with the new”. I would suggest that a percentage of the marketing budget should be used for looking at new opportunities in order to take your companies marketing activity forward.
So, will 2012 be a good year? I suppose there are reasons to be cheerful and reasons to be cautious. I would suggest that it is best to proceed with an open mind and always be looking at new marketing opportunities but don’t forget what has worked in the past. Marketing companies are their to help but nobody knows your company better than you.