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When someone says the word “marketing”, what comes to mind? My guess is you start thinking of marketing tactics like advertising, PR, social media, events, etc., but that doesn’t describe the whole picture. For the last 15 years, I’ve been advising companies on how to solve their marketing challenges and I would frequently hear things like this:

“My PR isn’t working.”

“Should I be on Snapchat?”

“Millennials aren’t on Facebook anymore, so should I stop advertising there?”

Time and time again, my clients would spend so much time focusing on marketing tactics and frequently describe them as either working or not working to grow their business. Every entrepreneur or company needs to find a way to prioritize which marketing activities to spend their time and money on, but I believe your choice in marketing tactics doesn’t make you successful or unsuccessful.

Marketing tactics are like the tip of the iceberg. These tactics are the things people see happening above the surface, when in fact, it’s the things happening under the surface that determine whether your marketing will succeed or fail.

Each of my clients have been different over the years, but every one of them has the same end goal; to get more exposure and therefore users and/or sales. So let me share with you the three secrets I’ve come up with to help AMP up your marketing.

1. Audience:  Know Who You Are Targeting

I recently was working with two entrepreneurs to help them with their content marketing. The first thing we did was an exercise to define the different potential people who were buying from them. We worked together to define distinct descriptions by answering questions like:

  • Who are they? What is their age, location, job title, life/career stage?
  • What are they like? What adjectives would you use to describe them?
  • What are their biggest problems?
  • What are they searching for and where?
  • How are they looking to feel?

They had always described their target audience as one person, but as we went through this exercise, they realized they were really selling to 3 or even 5 different people with each person looking for something different.

This realization was important because all of a sudden, it helped them realize how they should be prioritizing their messaging and their marketing activities. You don’t need to be marketing to every person who can buy your product. You only need to market to the people who are most likely to buy your product. This is a much better way to prioritize how you’ll spend your resources.

You don’t need to be marketing to every person who can buy your product. You only need to market to the people who are most likely to buy your product.

2. Message: Make Sure It Matters

Think about the last time you bought something new. My guess is that something was said (or read) that made you think, “Yes, that’s what I’m looking for!” or “Hmmm, that sounds interesting.” If your marketing message is boring, confusing or not being delivered to the right person, your marketing will fail. That’s why I believe powerful messaging is the most important part of marketing to grow your business. It’s the thing people will pay attention (or not pay attention) to. Powerful messaging also makes people want to share it (and isn’t that the holy grail of marketing for something to go viral?!).

If you don’t think your message is working for you and want to get it right, I suggest listening to the words your target audience is saying, read what media is saying, follow hashtags you want to be part of and see what people are talking about. Your messaging should repeat back the things people desire most. If one person is talking about something, other people likely want or believe the same thing.

Your messaging should repeat back the things people desire most. If one person is talking about something, other people likely want or believe the same thing.

3. Promote: Maximize Your Reach

The final part is to reach as many people in your target audience as possible with your message. People can only purchase something if they have heard about it. Now, this is the step where it’s time to prioritize tactics. For example, advertising is more expensive, but you can quickly reach a lot of people with your message. PR or social media is more affordable, but it can take time to build momentum and one placement doesn’t necessarily mean a large spike in sales. These are all trade-offs that need to be evaluated, but I wouldn’t say any one tactic is better than another. In fact, they all work best when you are doing them all together because it’s often said you need to reach someone 8 to 12 times before they purchase.

…[marketing tactics] all work best when you are doing them all together because it’s often said you need to reach someone 8 to 12 times before they purchase.

The next time your find yourself frustrated that your marketing isn’t working, I would suggest looking at whether you were reaching the right people with the right message and whether you reached enough people before you go ruling out an entire marketing channel. Good luck!

Melissa Todisco is a former PR professional and marketing consultant who recently started a new job as the VP of Marketing at Concentric – an advanced analytics company helping organizations make smarter decisions through rapid what-if forecasting.

Photo by Sabrina Bot

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