Are you still throwing spaghetti on the wall? Have a strategy. Here’s a recipe for Effective Marketing
Have you heard about how Italians -masters in pasta dishes- pull a strand of spaghetti out of the water and throw it against the wall to see if it’s ready? In this case the saying goes: when it sticks it’s ready!
Sometimes we tend to do just this in our brand marketing efforts. Your customer engagement and repeated behavior show that you did something good and eventually you get rewarded for this with engagement, sales growth, and loyalty.
Is there a recipe for marketing?
The answer to this question is YES. There is a marketing recipe and it can be summarized in one word; Strategy. The “S” word has so many misinterpretations that sometimes it looks like a commodity bought from your grocery store shelves. There are several ads from individuals, claiming they will sell you the same exact “strategy” they followed with one of their customers and it proved to have dramatically increased their sales. This is quite funny if you think about it. The reality is this: strategy is not a “one size fits all” plan of action or policy design. There are realistic objectives and effective ways to reach them. First you identify your goal, then plan and execute.
Back to the marketing recipe; Get it ready to perfection.
If you want, for instance, to cook the perfect pasta there are several ways to do so. Remember what we said? One of them is to throw spaghetti on the wall and see what sticks. It’s easy, maybe a little time consuming and expensive, sometimes misleading in terms of results and it will for sure get your brand’s kitchen messy. Successful brands are successful for a reason; they have clear objectives, leading to a set strategy and they are consistent -across the board- with their efforts in this direction. They take proven methods over experiments, they collect information, research and trail runs before acting.
Now that your objective is clear -you aim to cook pasta to perfection for your guests- let’s take a closer look at the steps you need to take to achieve your goal:
1. Put your apron on
You’ll need passion and a deep understanding of what you are about to do. Put together your unique (or not so unique) offer and build the differentiating factors around it. Be determined, aim for high quality long-term results and don’t get discouraged by possible setbacks. If you had never used the stove before, you wouldn’t attempt to cook a meal for a large group, would you? Know your capabilities and the process which you are getting into. Initiate the journey to please the people you are about to serve. Always keep your audience in mind -not your sales growth-.
2. Use high quality ingredients
Your content is your ingredients. You cannot use low grade content and expect a tasteful and successful outcome. Plus, your audience will notice if it doesn’t meet the industry standards. Search engines and social media are also very sensitive to this type of input. The quality and originality will show how well you have done your homework in identifying your customers’ needs and if you have a good grasp of their profile.
3. Use the appropriate pots and pans
Would you boil your pasta in a skillet? In a cookie sheet? The channel you use to promote your content counts. Different channels should be employed to address different marketing needs. Several brands produce better results on Facebook or Instagram, others on Twitter. It’s all relevant to the nature of the product or service appealing to different audiences and of course your brand’s goals.
4. Measure your ingredients
It’s the art of utilizing only the right amount of ingredients for the people you are about to serve. You cannot feed an army with one pack of pasta and you don’t need ten packs for three people. That simply means that you don’t need to overextend yourself, your brand and your resources to too many marketing activities. It’s not necessary to use every available tool out there to get the job done. Select what you use and in what amounts. Precision is the key word here. One way to master this is by knowing your audience’s demographics, interests, behavior and buying habits.
5. Taste your own food first
Always put yourself in your customers’ shoes. If you were the end recipient of the product/service, would you use it? Does your offer add value? Do your practices nurture a long-term relationship? How is the look and feel of what you’re about to serve? You can’t tell, unless you test it and make sure that it will instill a nice and memorable experience.
6. Serve it in a beautiful plate
The devil is in the marketing details and presentation is one of the most important user experience factors. Is your content’s appearance neat? Is your message flawless? Are your media professionally designed? Is it entertaining? Is it engaging? The digital community loves pictures and videos. Give some eye candy to the group. Try to use more than one senses in your marketing. It is almost guaranteed that it will make your creation taste even better.
7. Sit next to your guests – Ask about their experience – Be talkative
Customer engagement is a two-way street. It’s a give and take relationship. You made it and served it. As a good cook and host, it is highly recommended to sit close to the guest. Share the same table because it’s only proper and because you need to see how they interact. How did your audience like it? Did they enjoy it? Did they really love it? Talk to them. Collecting customer engagement facts, feedback and comments, is one of the most important tasks in marketing. Have your ears open and your pencil ready, the process doesn’t stop there; next step is to address any concerns and answer some questions.
8. Take notes for next time
Your audience speaks and gives feedback. Charts, graphs, data and analytics do too. Effective marketing incorporates a closer look to this valuable piece of information. If you cooked your pasta to perfection, but at the end of the cycle, you realized that you could have used an extra pinch of salt, what would you do? Simply, you pencil it in your recipe’s notes for next time. Any flaws and mistakes can be fixed, but only if they are acknowledged. Your audience is more forgiving than you think. All you need to do is put your best effort, ethics, and consistency in following the recipe to make effective marketing happen.