Do you know what a lemming is? It’s not a pastry or a poorly designed car. It’s a small furry rodent found in Artic regions. The only reason I know of the lemming is due to a widely exaggerated misconception about lemmings. You see, the reputation lemmings have is they travel in packs, but in a single line. A lemming will follow the lemming in front of them, doing whatever they do. If the lemming in front of them turns left, they turn left. If it turns right it turns right. If it goes as far as falls off a cliff, the one behind it will as well.
Correct or not, it has presented an anology that has been used in business over the years and I would like to make the point we see many businesses doing this with their marketing as well.
Here is a common conversation we have with business owners.
us: “So tell us what marketing activities you have done in the last 6 months.”
owner: “Well I had an ad in the local coupon pack.”
us: “Did it work for you? What was your goal for doing it?”
owner: “I don’t know….”
us: “What was your reason for doing it?”
owner: “I don’t know… I guess because my competitor did it.”
Often times business owners take actions with their marketing efforts solely based upon the actions of their competitors. Why is that wrong? Well, even though you are competitors and may offer customers similar products or services, there are many more things different between your businesses. Potentially your budget, your ideal customer, your geographic target area, your capacity, your services, your profit margin on certain products or services, your business model, your business goals, your vision, etc.
Instead, we advise companies to stick to the following for their marketing activities:
Follow your goals
Understand what you are trying to accomplish with your business (as well as your marketing) and stick to it! Set goals for yourself and determine the best ways to accomplish them in the most cost effective way. Know what your competitors are doing, but try not to let that influence the decisions you are making for your business – because as we pointed out above, you may not understand why they are making those decisions and as a result, may not be the right ones for you.
Follow your audience
Make sure you know where your ideal client is looking for the type of products and services you offer, and how they like to be communicated to – then go it ‘em. Be creative in how you reach out to them. Understand under what circumstance do they have a pain you can fix with your product or service and reach them then.
Follow your plan
Almost weekly businesses are presented with new marketing opportunities and new ways to spend their money. Develop a plan and weigh each marketing tactic against that plan. Is this the best way to spend these dollars? Do I know what I can expect as a result of spending this money? Does what I expect align with my business goals?
A little bit of thought and a little bit of discipline with your marketing can go a long way to help you reach your business goals. If you would like to discuss marketing planning or evaluate some of your marketing tactics further, please give us a call.