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By Lizzie Phillips

 

Sunday, December 29, 2013.

 

With Christmas over, you might be feeling a little deflated about what the New Year will bring.

 Everyone wants their business to succeed and what better way to plan for the year ahead than with a fantastic marketing strategy? Whether it’s online or offline marketing, You Tube or Twitter, marketing campaigns share the same principles. Sit back with a turkey sandwich whilst Lizzie Phillips, author of Lizzie Phillips’ Marvellous Marketing Manual, shares her experience of how to get the most from your marketing in 2014.

 Whilst January can often be seen as a time of doom and gloom – Christmas is over and magic has gone, I see it as the perfect time to focus on the future and a sales and marketing strategy for the year ahead.

 I like to use the principles of the Four Rs when planning a campaign:

   Right Market

• Right Message

• Right Marketing Tool

• Right Time

 Before applying these in any form of business investment, you need to think about what you hope to achieve and the likely return of investment (ROI). My rule of thumb is always a return of ten times the amount of money invested but I understand that this won’t be the case for every industry.

In some businesses you have a range of products and services. Be clear whether you want to promote your company as a whole or whether you want to be specific. My approach has always been that it’s quality which counts, not quantity. You might just target a few items but, if they hit the right spot, you’ll get a much bigger response than you would through a blanket approach.

Once you have identified which product or service you want to promote, you’re ready to tackle the Four Rs. I’m going to use the example of a car dealership to show how the same principles can be applied in any marketing campaign.

 

Right Market

A car dealer might only sell cars but he’ll have ten or more different models in his showroom. And each model will come with different options – air conditioning, electronic windows, surround sound, five-door and so on.

Depending on the model or even the specifications, you will have a different target market. It’s all about drilling down into your target market and matching your campaign to that market. Many people ask me if I would recommend Twitter for their company. My answer is always: if your target market is on Twitter, then ‘Yes’ but, if not, focus your energies elsewhere.

 

Right Message

 

Creating the right impression is always important and no more so than in a marketing campaign. Once you have identified your target market, it’s important that your marketing message is produced with this audience in mind.

For example, the car dealership would communicate differently to a mother about a family estate car than it would to a younger customer about a first car. Whilst the model may be the same, their needs are different. The first-time car buyer will want cheaper insurance and a car which is economical to run while the mother will be more concerned that it has space for buggies, that it accommodates child seats and that it’s reliable.

I find defining a customer persona before writing your marketing message helps find the correct tone. Here’s an example.

 

First-Time Buyer Fred

 Fred passed his driving test last year. With university on the horizon he needs a car. His budget is small so he’s looking for a second-hand car. He enjoys working on cars so doesn’t mind adding extras like air conditioning and a music surround system later himself. He doesn’t want anything too ‘girly’ but the insurance must be affordable. Fred is going to be travelling back and forth from university and home so the car needs to be reliable and safe and he wants plenty of boot space as he’ll be bringing his stuff home at the end of every term.

You can see that by getting into the head of Fred, you can tailor your message to his specific needs.

 

Right Marketing Tool

With so many marketing tools out there, it can be difficult to know which one to choose. Again, the right one will depend on your target market. If your market is older, you’re not likely to have social media on your list. In fact, more traditional marketing techniques like telemarketing and direct mail are making a comeback because we are flooded with so many online messages every day.

Whichever tool you use, be sure to think about your target market.


Right Time

There’s an argument that marketing is all about being in the right place at the right time. I think you can improve these odds by sending your marketing material out at the best times.

For example, telemarketing receives a better response on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. The optimum time for email marketing is Tuesday, 11am. Social media messages to corporations are best timed between 10am and 2pm; to individual consumers, between 5pm and 8pm is best.

Again, it’s clear that it all depends on who you are sending your marketing message to.

If you’re planning for the year ahead, think about your campaign three months in advance – that extra planning will help you to monitor and measure the effectiveness of your marketing.

 So remember: get the right market, right message, right marketing tool and right time and you’re on your way to getting the best possible return of investment.

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