Let’s get practical. In every marketing team, there are five core elements that make for an effective process. And these elements are the basis and become more sophisticated as your company grows and evolves.
Here we go. To be successful, your marketing team needs:
- Competitive landscape
- Strong brand
- A well-oiled marketing machine
Now let’s dive a little deeper into each and understand why each are essential and how you can put them into action.
Such much of what your business is can be defined as content.
PPC ads = content
Internal communication = content
Presentation slides = content
The essence of your brand and what your organization stands for is held up by content.
But I’ve gone a little off piste…
At the center of content is a content strategy. Defining which pieces of content you need to focus on to achieve your goals. The metrics and goals can vary, depending on your overall company strategy, but luckily content marketing can be pretty versatile when it comes to effectiveness.
Here are some stats about what content, according to the Content Marketing Institute, can achieve:
From sales revenue, to product launches, to driving attendance at events, content marketing can be the vehicle to achieving those outcomes. And it’s not just true for B2C. In fact, content marketing in B2B is even more successful.
Content communicates what you company stands for, what it’s trying to achieve and what it sells as its product. All of which are naturally essential for your business.
But putting time and resources into any activity is pointless if you can’t measure the effectiveness. In comes the solution: analytics.
It’s easy to get swallowed up in the wilderness that is analytics. So many things to analyze, to question and to pick apart.
The first step is to create a helicopter view of which metrics really matter to your marketing team and whether they’re improving. Pick four or five to start with like:
- Website traffic
- Number of conversions
- Event attendees
- Revenue generated
- App downloads
Once you’ve got the reporting down for the most important metrics, you can start to dig a little deeper into the why.
This may mean investing time and money into tools like Google Analytics, Salesforce, Marketo etc. so that you can pin down exactly why more conversions occurred on one day compared to the next.
Competitors can be a great source of ideas and inspiration. They can also be a great learning opportunity. You can watch from the sidelines which approaches flop or need improvement.
Paying attention to your competitors is a shortcut to finding and testing out new ideas.
Map out your key competitors, let’s say 5–10, and focus on what each does well and not so well.
The areas to pay attention to, in particular, should be the product itself, the brand, the website, and the content produced. Then add anything you see as a core differentiator for your company, whether that be customer service, events, social media or something along those lines.
Once you’ve mapped out these key areas you care about, you can start to see where your business is excelling and should capitalize on. It’s also a chance to recognize your weaker areas and understand how you can bring them on the same level as your competitors.
Your brand unites your company, is the point of recognition, and the opportunity for loyalty and trust.
Which is why investing in your brand is so important. It has the power to make or break a company.
But how do you start?
It begins with your company’s foundations: the values, mission and vision. The first step is to get these locked down and known among employees.
The second step is to be extremely critical. Everything your company produces should support the foundations.
How does your writing style reflect your values? Does that latest press article align with the company vision? Does the website imagery echo your values, mission and vision on every page?
The third step is consistency. In order to be recognizable to your audience, you need to repeat the same message through various channels and angles.
The easiest way to ensure consistency is by creating brand guidelines. This means everyone in your company — who may not always have brand as their priority — can stay on brand. The handbook should include:
- The values, mission and vision explained
- Logo with correct and incorrect usage examples
- Color palette, with explanations linking back to your values
- Tone of voice
- Imagery guidelines
Once you’ve ticked this off the list, to tighten consistency further, templating is your friend. To have the same current run through all your brand assets, create templates for PowerPoint slides, social media banners, merchandise, emails, business cards, envelopes … you get the picture.
A Well-oiled Marketing Machine
Your team and processes is what ties everything together and can make or break a meticulous marketing strategy.
There are some common threads in every successful marketing team which are:
For a team to work effectively together, they need to understand each other and their expectations. There is no silver bullet here, but steps towards making this possible could be a communication workshop, prescribing a clear feedback structure, and granting clear ownership on certain tasks.
A group of people striving for the same goal encourages cooperation in order to achieve it. Overarching goals make the team feel that their tasks matter in the bigger picture. Make sure every member of your team knows your team goal and how their responsibilities contribute to it.
A Growth Mindset
As your business evolves your team needs to adapt. That means continuously thinking of the future of the business and gathering inspiration and the skills to get there. Push your team to keep deepening their knowledge and exploring the latest strategies and tools.
A Basis to Grow
Of course, effective marketing in practice is more complicated than these five elements. But, combined, they are a solid basis where you can build on and expand to other areas like clear product messaging and events. Content, a strong brand, analytics, a competitive landscape, a strong brand, and a well-oiled marketing machine are the core to any other marketing initiative you choose to pursue.