In my opinion, bad marketing is so easily done that just because you are guilty of bad marketing doesn’t mean you’re a bad marketer. ‘Bad’ marketing often happens when you don’t really know who you are as a company, what sets you apart from others or the value you bring customers. Crucially, you don’t understand how to articulate what makes you special and vital. In the early days or in times of change and adaptation, this is natural and almost bound to happen.

In order to take a step back and evaluate how to apply a stronger marketing approach to your business, it may be time to ask yourself the following questions:

  1. Does your company/brand have a clear mission and vision? What is it? 
  2. Do you and your employees know why you get out of bed in the morning and do your job? I.E what are you working towards achieving and completing? 
  3. Do you have a business plan—a clear roadmap of what goals you want to accomplish as a company?
  4. Is your strategy ready? Do you have clear, prioritised, hierarchical goals? 
  5. How will you measure success?
  6. Are you brand-ready? Do you know what your value proposition is? What makes you different from your competitors?
    It may be worth analysing your competitors, their selling points and what edge you have ‘over’ them. 
  7. Why should consumers choose you? What is your USP? 
  8. Finally, are you budget-ready? Because for clients there can be so much confusion about what the right budget is.

The reason these questions, especially the last one, are so important is because brands should view marketing as an investment, not an expense. Consumers today are empowered with technology to make buying decisions faster and easier. They’re reading and listening to what people have to say about you—whether you like it or not. There’s more diversity both culturally and generationally, so the market is more fragmented. And trends in marketing have an average 32-month life span.

When it comes to marketing, and life in general, if you fail to plan, you plan to fail. Your plan should consist of a brand promise that sets you apart from anyone else. Your plan should also target an audience. Stock up on well executed, creative ideas that will keep your audience coming back to your page/website/marketplace. 

You need to align your business, branding and marketing strategies—not only when you’re just starting with your business plan, but after a yearly check-in. Let’s face it: Providing great products and services is wonderful, but customers must know those products and services exist. David Ogilvy always said, “If you can’t advertise yourself, what hope have you being able to advertise anything else?”

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