Developing a winning marketing strategy

Thought Leadership on Branding/Growth Strategies presented by Catalpha Advertising & Design

You’ve got a lot on your plate with managing your business and innovating products or services to stay ahead of the competition. Without a marketing plan and a new business effort, there won’t be a need to manage your business because leads will trickle away. Hiring a branding and marketing agency takes a lot off your plate. They create and execute marketing campaigns every day. It’s what gets them up in the morning.

But let’s put the cards on the table. The effectiveness of marketing depends on information and effort of both you and the branding firm. A successful client-agency relationship requires communication and collaboration. A great firm will spend time getting to know your company (pain, best prospects, sales goals and competitive advantages) as well as understanding your competition.

The most effective campaigns come from conspiring with our clients and being provided quality information with nothing held back. For example we were called in for a client who was told by their major client that their orders would be reduced significantly unless our client updated their image. Honesty of the situation was pivotal in our strategy. A partnership in creating bold targeted marketing guarantees increased sales.

Hiring an agency is a big step in building brand equity and solidifying long-term business success. As an agency owner who has worked with dozens of clients on hundreds of branding and marketing projects there are five key attributes to share with your agency to maximize return on your marketing investment.

Share your current marketing spending

Provide all the data of your marketing efforts. What you are doing and have done over the previous 4 years. Tell your agency the results of the efforts and budget allocated to each campaign effort. Provide access to the response rates of each effort. Too often I hear from companies that they haven’t updated their website in 5 to 10 years. They prefer to market the same way as they have because they don’t use Facebook or other social media, not realizing the opportunities they are missing to engage with their customers.

By providing complete details of your marketing campaign, your agency can help your explore opportunities that will increase ROI. For instance guiding SEO efforts to increase organic traffic to your website, adding call-to-action on your website to capture leads earlier in their buying process.

Who’s on your team?

Examine your team with your agency and the processes they use to perform their job. The agency has to understand the responsibilities of each member that is affected by the campaigns in order to plan effectively. Knowing the experience of each employee, the tools and systems that are in place to handle leads through delivery of product or service allows your agency to create a plan that can be managed my your staff.

New marketing efforts may require implementing new tools. Smoothing out internal processes prior to using a new marketing channel can eliminate communication issues or the need to implement stopgap solutions to handle the increased business. I find being pro-active rather than reactive makes it easier to keep customer satisfaction high.

Website analytics is critical factor

Catalpha_Winning2Give your branding agency access to Google Analytics. A website is a critical component in every company’s arsenal of marketing tools. Your agency needs to determining how your site is helping convert leads into sales, how visitors behave on your site, which pages get the most traffic, which have highest bounce rates.

In the last year we have seen mobile traffic increase on our site to the extent that more visitors are viewing on mobile devises. Is your website responsive and is the content sized and delivered in the order that is conducive for mobile viewing?

Most of my clients avoid looking at SEO reports or Google Analytics. We want our clients to understand the reports. It allows them to recognize trends and effects of the marketing campaigns. As I mentioned client-agency collaboration is key to achieving maximum results from campaigns. There are other tools that provide competitive analysis your site to your competitors. These can guide in refining web pages and content delivery.

Related: 4 Marketing Analytics Tools That Are Shaping the Industry

Regularly review campaign results

Many businesses’ see sales fluctuate with the seasons. Budget allocation takes that into consideration. Tracking sales to spending allows you to react to unexpected results or special offers from media outlets. Tracking allows you to see whether sales patterns are following the norm.

Sharing sales results with your agency allows them to understand your business and be able to provide spending advice to help you achieve your goals. Would increasing ad budget during slower sales months help or be a waste of funds? Would shifting budget to your better months from slower months return bigger sales gains? Both of these questions should be discussed and considered regularly.

Calculate the lifetime value of your customer

This is a big tell for your agency. It allows the agency to determine where sales potentials lie. This is part of the demographics of your customer profile. You estimate it by multiplying the average value of a sale by the number of repeat transactions by a single customer. Then, multiply that total by the average customer retention time. This also helps the marketing/branding agency to optimize the amount you’re spending to acquire each of them.

Knowing your customer lifetime value helps in defining a marketing budget to needs. Knowing the ROI that is needed to justify a marketing effort allows the agency to recommend what marketing will deliver the results you need to grow your company. The life tome value lets you see whether the cost of converting a customer from a digital campaign is the best use of your budget.

Patience and planning

Don’t rush into anything. Take the time to provide the information that will allow your branding and marketing agency to develop a strategy that will grow your company. We ask our clients complete our creative form or provide their own creative brief along with sales figures and all industry data they have access to. If you want to see an example of a creative brief contact me. I will be happy to one of share ours.

It is also important to have your team is on board with the plans. They play an important role in fulfilling your company’s brand promise.

Whether this is the first time you have worked with a branding agency or you’ve used one for years, make the most of the partnership by sharing the results of campaigns and keep them up to date on industry trends and happenings. A good agency will be watching your industry – but you still are the expert in your market just as your agency is the expert in branding and marketing.

Following these six rules lets you take full advantage of your agencies expertise and knowledge. So get working on your great marketing plan that will build your business. If you have any questions or need help give me a call.

Catalpha Advertising & Design, Inc. image for SmartCEO

Want to read more about creating a powerful marketing plan?
– Why is some marketing bad?

– 3 must-haves in a 2014 marketing budget

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