As 2014 comes to a close, here are some marketing lessons I have learnt this year.
Death by analytics
If there is another term as dreadful as “viral” to a marketer, it would be analytics. Knowing how your business perform is great. It quantifies your effort and gives you valuable insights on how to improve the way you market your products. But as marketers get too obsessed with numbers, we quickly end up on the slippery slope of the marginal return curve. I have seen good marketers glued to their dashboards and strategizing on how they could achieve the next milestone, the next KPI or meet certain metric.
While it is always good to know your email open rate, click throughs and PTAT numbers, you may want to also take a deeper look at your customer as a person rather than a data point. Doing so can have incredibly positive impact, not only on your marketing but also on your business overall.
It is always surprising to find marketers who don’t know their customers outside of just being a number, an invoice reference or a demographic group. Go dig deeper; find out how your current customers were introduced to your business. If they became your customers as a direct result of your marketing, which part of your marketing resonated with them? Are there any trends that are moving your customers towards you? What were the key considerations or influence that made them discover you?
Such granular analysis coupled with your regular analytics will give you better business insights and make your next marketing effort more effective.
Don’t put all your eggs in the digital basket.
Digital is great. It has excellent reach. It is measurable. It is cool. But please don’t make it your only priority. In this age of email overload and social media spam, it might be refreshing to reach out to your jaded customers in a different way. Consider going offline. Organize meet-ups, workshops or even just a plain old greeting card might be what you need to go where your competitors aren’t.
When everything moves so fast and exit our consciousness in seconds, having quality time with your customer and being a tactile physical presence could be what it takes to move from the junk folder to top of mind.
Instead of putting that $500 into your next Facebook ads, consider setting aside some time answering your customers’ comments and questions on your page and select a few of them for casual chats over coffee. You will be surprised how quickly you can turn them into loyal, engaged customers. At $5 a pop for a coffee, you can have 100 advocates rather than 5000 likes on your Facebook page.
Don’t plan your entire year before Christmas.
You might have a good year and coming off bullish but don’t give in to the temptation of planning 2015 in 2 weeks. Unless you are in a specialized field where your customers and suppliers stays relatively unchanged throughout the year, business is dynamic and any extensive planning now is not just a waste of time but it’s a setup for failure which will ultimately impact the morale and energy of your team.
Set goals for the next 6 months but keep them loose enough to adapt to inevitable changes. Just like ship engineers, we can’t build a business that is too rigid or it will break at the first impact with a big wave. Most ships bend and sway with the wave but still keep its overall structural shape and integrity. Business planning should be done with the same considerations.
If you are looking to make 2015 the year for amplified marketing and impact with maximised revenue, be willing to enter some uncharted territory. As technology progresses, so will media and the marketing that depends on it. Keep up with new trends, learn new skills and try new tactics. It is going to be an exciting year.