“How do I define my marketing strategy?” I recently received a personal referral from a contact within my networking circle and was connected with the Marketing Director (MD) of a local company in the service industry. The MD had been tasked with updating their sales materials and during our first lunch meeting asked me “Can you make my new brochure?” To me, the answer wasn’t as simple as “yes” or “no.” The best solution to the MD’s problem was likely not an updated brochure, but something more comprehensive. Before we went any further, I needed to take a few steps back and ask some background questions. With further exploration into the company’s needs and marketing goals, I uncovered some important information: Q: Who is the brochure given to? At what point in the sales process? A: Potential clients who had already scheduled a consultation meeting, at the time of their appointment. Q: What content should be included in the brochure? A: MD was unsure because the company sold products from a secondary company. It was unclear which company’s logo to use or what the content should be – services, specific products, service team, etc.? Q: What is the goal of the brochure? A: The goal of the brochure was unclear. The MD thought it may be to help close the deal with new clients, but with them being handed during a scheduled appointment, it seemed unnecessary. Q: How much does the entire project cost and what is your marketing budget as a whole? A: There was a budget of $6,000 for the brochure. The total annual marketing budget was $10,000. A quick assessment revealed that a brochure with an unclear brand, no concise company messaging, that cost 60% of the annual marketing budget was only being given to prospective clients as they were coming in for a signing meeting.
The Find: More than half of their marketing dollars spent were used to reassure clients that they could provide them with a product or service.
Following the initial meeting and assessment, I developed and implemented a plan to focus and fully develop the marketing strategy for the brochure:
1. Discovery Meeting with Owners/Decision Makers. The goal for this project was “lost in translation” between the decision makers and the marketing team. As such, it was imperative to clear up the desired focus for branding, logos, and messaging for this project.
2. Present Time Frame, Project Calendar, and Budget. Once the focus was established, I was able to tap into my network of providers, including graphic designers and print companies. A project-specific calendar was developed that included deadlines for each step. Finally, a budget, including the total project fee, was established from real quotes, at $3,500 for all services.
3. Work with Client on a Weekly Basis. In order to complete the project, it was important to maintain contact with the client to collect needed information and photos, and receive approval on each progressive step of the process. As the project manager, I was able to serve as a “go-between” the client and vendors, directing and implementing their project goals and allowing everyone a single point of contact.
4. Adjust Project Management as Needed. In every project, it’s important to recognize that things don’t always go as planned. Being directly involved in the process, a crucial part of my role was to adjust the plan as hiccups, schedules, and business developments arose. For instance, the project required an additional three weeks when compliance approval took longer than anticipated. The calendar was updated to reflect new deadlines and I was able to manage and balance the needs of the vendors with the expectations and goals of the client. In summary, our four-part strategy for developing and implementing a marketing sales piece proved effective in time and cost savings. As a result of these steps, we were able to evaluate all sales and marketing efforts and to effectively develop a campaign to more strategically reach their target audience. The success of this project also led the company to hire me on a six month retainer to develop their entire marketing strategy. As a marketing consultant, I often get asked very specific questions, such as “Can you make my brochure?” The problem with a question such as this is clients are often so focused on one particular tree, they forget they are standing in a forest. My job is to help you see the forest and to understand, develop, and implement the broader picture of your marketing strategy. As a result, the answer to a specific question is usually more complex, as my goal is introduce your company to the benefits of a sound marketing strategy versus simply doing what you’ve always done.
The answer just might be: “I could save you a lot of time and money with a comprehensive strategy.”
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