Every person and organization is searching for the holy grail to grow their businesses.
In this quest, some wander into the wilderness never to return. Others get lured in and brainwashed by practitioners with flashy stories and silver tongues. And still others invest in one platform because they think it might be what they need to grow their businesses.
The Marketing Communications World Often Distracts People with Very Visible Tactics
It’s so easy to get caught up in the tactics. I don’t blame anyone for doing so either.
At the end of the day, it’s the only thing we see. In the case studies, we hardly have access to the conversations held over countless cups of coffee behind closed doors unless we’re a part of them. We only have access to the results and we’re wooed by them. There are agencies and organizations doing amazing things out there.
And so, we’re tempted as individuals and companies to give it a shot impulsively.
Social media is one of those things.
We’re all connected to it, and we’re all probably following a brand or two who is just absolutely killing it. It inspires us to get our organizations on social. We rush on without a full strategy to anchor us and so we set sail without a map to guide us.
Tactics Are Not the Answer
[bctt tweet=”Tactics are not the answer to your sales problem.”]
Tactics are not the answer to your sales problem. They’re not the answer to your lead problem. They’re not the answer to your awareness problem.
Tactics should be like worker bees. Worker bees work in perfect harmony. They all have a specific job and they all carry it out without hesitation. One worker bee doesn’t support the entire colony—it contributes.
Behind all bee colonies is a queen bee. This is how these bees know where to go and what to do.
For marketing, tactics need to be directed by a solid-rooted strategy. The quality of this strategy determines overall success. It also will efficiently and effectively send each tactic on a specific mission.
Strategies Need to Be Rooted in Research
Everyone knows they need a plan of attack, but how is a strategy built?
Really, a strategy is a bunch of answers to essential questions. You’ve probably been a part of one of these conversations. You sit down and define your goals, whether it be revenue, downloads, impressions or guests at an event.
You have a lot of questions to answer after that. In order to figure out how to achieve that goal, you need to outline a path to get you there. This is where the frustration happens. You seek the answers—that will ultimately influence the type and tone of your tactics—but they seem to be just out of reach.
The Two Questions You Must Answer
In order to build a truly meaningful strategy, you need to have in-depth answers to two fundamental questions:
- Who are your ideal customers?
- What are their thoughts, challenges, objections, habits, journeys and personalities?
If you can successfully answer these, you’ll have the key to unlock every door and you’ll know exactly what you need to do.
Question 1: Who Are Your Ideal Customers?
No—you can’t be the person or organization for everyone, nor should they be.
Every person or organization has a select few kinds of people they work best with. For agencies, this could be a certain industry, business model or annual revenue. For a real estate agent, this could be a certain set of buyers, sellers or general region.
Imagine An Agency Consultant
Think of an agency consultant. Their job is to help agencies become bigger, more profitable, more efficient and, overall, more successful businesses.
Right out of the gate, we can gather that their primary audience is agencies. If we stopped there, however, that agency consultant’s marketing efforts are going to be really hard to get right. They could try to put together a strategy, but it would be a shotgun effort. Time consuming and inefficient. Unfortunately, this is where a lot of organizations stop. They identify the highest level and try to develop the strategy.
We have to dive deeper though.
If that agency consultant takes it another step further, they can pull out the traits of their ideal customers. For them, it could be the specific discipline of agency. For this case let’s say digital marketing agencies. Now we’re starting to flesh it out a bit more.
But we still have to go deeper.
We can pull more from this. Maybe they have had the most success and profitability working with digital agencies with 10-20 employees. These were their best cases and best fits for their services. We’re starting to uncover a specific kind of agency, but who is the specific point of contact here?
Usually these 10-20-employee digital marketing agencies send a business development director or their second in command to seek a consultant. These are very specific points of contacts.
We’ve now narrowed down one ideal customer type. We have the exact business type pinpointed and the most likely point of contact who gives that consultant’s services the yay or nay.
Rinse and Repeat—for Three-to-Four Ideal Customers
You’ll go through the refining process modeled above three-to-four times. Any more than that, and you’ll be spreading yourself thin. It’s better to focus on your top three or four and put all of your efforts into them.
We now have clear direction moving forward. It’s time to answer the second question.
Question 2: What Are Their Thoughts, Challenges, Objections, Habits, Journeys and Personalities?
By this point, you’ve identified your ideal customers. We’re 50 percent of the way there. Now, it’s time to get to know these ideal customers.
As I like to say, you need to know your ideal customers like your closest friends or family.
Knowing Them Like Close Friends or Family Answers Questions
We’ve already established that tactics alone are not the answer. Just because you’ve designed a beautiful Facebook graphic doesn’t mean your ideal customer is going to see it.
Even if you have identified the type of customers you work best with, and are targeting, you need to understand how they go through their days.
I like to use my dad as an example. If you want to reach him, you’re not going to do it with an email marketing campaign. You won’t catch his eye on a billboard, a Facebook graphic or a direct mail campaign.
If you knew him like I did, you’d know that the best place to reach him would be by placing a story in the newspaper. He reads it thoroughly every, single day. If you knew him like I did, you’d know that you could reach him on his favorite radio talk show.
You see how specific we’re starting to get?
If I had to develop an angle or campaign to reach him, I’d know exactly what to say and what not to say. I’d know what his objections are, any challenges that might stand between us and what his full buyer’s journey looks like.
If You Can Get to Know Your Ideal Customers This Well, You Will Have Every Answer
Only by knowing our ideal customers like close friends or family, can we create a strategy that actually works.
If we know them to this depth, we suddenly have the keys to unlock any door.
- Where should we spend our time and efforts? We know where because we know where our ideal customers are dwelling on a daily basis. We know what they read and what they trust.
- What message should we develop? We know what because we know the core beliefs of our ideal customers. We know what to say, what not to say and what will get through to them.
Where An Agency Fits Into This Process
Alright—so you need to uncover your ideal customers and get to know them like best friends. If you can do that, you can rule the world.
Uncovering and getting to know them, however, is a pretty big undertaking. There’s a lot of pressure to get it right the first time around.
It might seem like a shameless plug, but the right agency can be an incredible partner to help you with this. With the right experience, they can make a serious difference in the process and end result.
An Agency is the Guide
An agency should be your guide in this process. They’re not there to talk down to you—they’re there to help encourage fearless discovery. A good agency can help tease out serious insights that your organization otherwise might miss.
They’re diffused third parties who’ve done this before and have a way of helping you get it right.
How to Find the Right Agency for the Job
You should seek leaders—not tactical mercenaries if you’re looking for an agency to aid in this quest. Obviously they should not only be fluent in this kind of language, but have a process that will guarantee success.
Take Time to Get These Answers
It’s tempting to dive into strategy and tactics without fully answering these questions. You might see some success, but you’ll never live up to your full potential.
Investing in this process is a game changer for you or your organization. You’ll have clarity and know how to be laser-focused with every effort.