Transform from Dot Marketing to Dash Marketing

OK, first a little definition before I get into my point.What is your Strategy

Dot Marketing – I think I made this one up but let me give you my definition. Dot Marketing is the practice of focusing so hard on a single item, (the Dot), that you can’t see the bigger picture and miss incredible opportunity. Perhaps you are familiar with the parable of the Fly who is so fixated on the window, (insert pile of Crap here), that he continued to beat his head on the glass until he dies, however at the same time five feet away there was a door wide open that would have allowed him to reach his goal.

Dash Marketing – The process of working a marketing plan through a complete life cycle. You know the dash, you were born on this date – your were deceased at this date (1959-2011).  In business and in life the dash is all we have. We can view it as a journey that will change and adapt or we can view it as a prescribed time in the future to end what ever venture we are on. The point is that is a period of motion and does not stay in the same spot  until it ends.

I see many businesses today fully focused on the Dot marketing. They jump from one trend to the next and are always blaming to last media for their slow growth. Dot Marketing, Target Marketing, undeveloped Marketing, what ever you want to call it is just a little short sighted.  Most businesses forget to develop a marketing plan for their product or service which includes who the target audience is, and how that audience will react to certain media.  They buy the marketing package because they like the sales rep or because it is what they think everyone else is doing and forget to check if it one has the right audience and two if the audience size being offered is a good value for the investment they are about to make.

By ignoring these two simple pieces of marketing they often find results that are not up to expectations, they design marketing campaigns that don’t fit the audience and they blame the media for their lack of results. This causes a negative feeling and a very powerful mistake in marketing.  They focus on the negative results and decide that the audience or vehicle are broken and move on to the next DOT. For this reason I often recommend a Marketing consultant or coach for most small business.

Developing a complete Marketing plan and labeling your target audience is crucial to your marketing. But if you do not evaluate your marketing buys to determine how it is a match to your targets how will you ever get the results you desire. It is like being a local merchant who sells windows only to a 50 mile radius and buying PPC ads programs on Google for everyone in the United States and wondering why all the clicks you get are not buying your items.

To transition to Dash marketing practices you must develop a marketing plan that includes:

  1. Business Goal or objective
  2. Time Table for achieving
  3. Target Audience
  4. Target Market Assumptions and Facts
  5. Routine check ups and adjustments

Realize that every marketing plan has a life cycle and that every product you carry as a product life cycle.

I am a firm believer that all media works in marketing. However businesses often over pay for the audience based on target and audience size, and they do not create customized marketing for that vehicle and that audience.

Dash Marketing takes the entire life cycle into consideration. Dash Marketers understand that once a product response starts to grow and explode that they can introduce new and exciting marketing that helps it grow even faster and wider. Conversely once a product or marketing campaign slows they need to adjust the marketing campaign to see if it can recreate energy or if it is time to change marketing strategies, brands, products etc…

To move your business from a Dot marketer to a Dash marketer, start by reviewing or building your marketing goals sheet.  What do you want to accomplish. Then evaluate to tools you are currently using, do they match, does their audience really fit who you are targeting? You might consider a Marketing Consultant that will give you honest opinions on what they see in the marketplace and how your marketing is on or off course. Design a multiple messages for different audiences and evaluate response. (Remember the media works or they would not have an audience, you just need to figure out how that audience reacts to that media and customize your message to them properly.)

Last, Stop focusing on the DOT. Take a look around and look for opportunities that you may not have thought of before. With  the development of Social Media, Mobile Marketing, Localized PPC search, Local Directories etc.. there are many opportunities to get your message out to unique targeted categories of audience.

Have you forgotten the basics in Marketing?

I read a great article this morning written by Steve Howard, author of Powerful Marketing Minutes and Corporate Image Management,
11 key marketing trends. In a vast world of marketing opinions this article hit me as very intuitive, and well thought out. It tackled the question that many of us are asking ourselves about the new marketing world we live in today.

The tip that caught my attention was number 6) Marketing fundamentals

— Marketing Fundamentals are as important as ever. Too many marketers and organizations have gone astray in recent years jumping on the bandwagon of “hot” marketing trends like customer generated content, viral marketing, and mass email marketing.

The marketing model mixing 1) product, price, place, and promotion with 2) positioning strategies based on customer needs, wants, desires, likes and dislikes and 3) an understanding of customer perceptions of the product and corporate brands to create a compelling value proposition to customers is not broken.

It has merely been misused in recent years by a) inexperienced neophytes who think naming a product is equal to branding, and b) by senior managers more focused on quarterly profit statements than on building brands that open vast marketing opportunities unseen and untapped by competitors.

Those who focus on knowing and understanding what customers truly value will create sustainable businesses that deserve customer loyalty. Those who do not will continue to fall by the wayside.

Product, Price, Place, Promotion, four simple marketing basic that we often forget when the next trends come swooping in a create the panic to catch up.
Do you have the right Products, at the right price, where the target consumer wants to get them, and have you told them about it?
I can recall hundreds of business visits I have made where the store had a fantastic product that I had no clue they carried. How often do we as business owners go to trade shows and buy inventory in a great new product line but then come back and not promote the item? Instead hoping that our current customers will find it their next visit and just have to have it.
So let’s take a step back here from Steve’s marketing tips and get a solution for these key marketing practices in todays media environment.

  1. Product – Do you have the right product? In todays information super highway It is hard to understand how a business can not know what their target consumer wants? It seems that with a simple Google search you can find trends and analysis on almost anything. But maybe the most organic approach today is best, use twitter and Facebook to ask your consumer base what they want and need, imagine being at the next trade show, snapping a picture with you phone of a new design and posting it on Facebook seeking feedback. (of course I assume you have developed a Facebook fan page and base of targeted consumers) Todays Social network are a great sounding board for likes and dislikes. A business must invest in the relationships prior to these tactics but can you se the potential?
  2. Price – Again with the world of information at your finger tips and Social networks filled with people sharing information you can determine both market value and competitor pricing with the click of a mouse. No you just need to decide on a pricing strategy and implement.
  3. Place – Location, Location, Location – the most basic marketing principle most often ignored. Location or place has become complex, with the growing inventory of shopping outlets online and the ability for companies to literally buy locations on the internet, place has changed. If you are a bricks and mortar store front location is still crucial to your goals and future. But on the web, you can be in any location you wish and can target consumers at the very place they wish to meet you. The challenge is that the locations are often changing, so you need staff or expert help in how to place your business in the multiple locations that your target consumers are at this month.
  4. Promotion – Wow has this category changed in the last 10 years. Don’t let the new technology scare you in promotion, think of the added connections you now have to promote your products at a value that still will give you ROI. I understand that in the past you could not afford to place a new product in your newspaper or TV ads because you would never receive the ROI needed for that single product to make it worth the expense. However with the internet and social media, you can now have independent marketing campaigns for every one of your products, targeted, geographically, social economically, behavioral etc…. and the cost can range from Zero to a couple hundred dollars per qualified lead.