Small Business Connection

How to Become the Obvious Choice: Understanding Creative Marketing Strategy-- Part 1 (2 parts)

Dec 6

Written by:
12/6/2012 12:27 PM  RssIcon

The scene is all too familiar. John Jones--ambitious, creative, hard driving---starts up his own small business and builds it up into a thriving concern. Along the way, he hires the best qualified people he can find to help run the business.


At some point, though, it starts to turn sour. The sparks of creativity and innovation that brought in customers and propelled the growth of the company slowly sputter out. The business stagnates. And John Jones wonders why.

Many business owners find themselves in the same fix as John Jones. They start strong in setting up their businesses. They succeed initially on the “new” of the enterprise and the passion the owner has in revealing and serving up the product or service to customers, but then they stagnate when they run into difficulties adapting to changing marketing trends. Efforts then are often centered around a “hit or miss” approach that leaves John Jones scratching his head and guessing about questions such as:
  •    How can I be sure my advertising, promotions, and PR are repeatedly on target?
  •    How can I be sure to avoid the "moving target" syndrome, and get what I need from my advertising
  •    How can I be sure my message is consistent in content, look, and feel every time out?
  •    How can I be sure to avoid the "moving target" syndrome, and get what I need from my advertising agency or designer the first time without a lot of "yes, buts" and costly trials and errors?

Using the "Guess that looks okay. Go with it" approach or following the "Gosh, I don't know. It just doesn't feel right" path won't take you where you want to go and will waste a great deal of time, effort and money. These "shootin' from the hip" marketing practices leave you, your staff, and your design team twisting in the wind, frustrated and demoralized.

What does "feel right" mean anyway?

Small to mid-sized companies often gamble with their marketing strategies. They operate as if there is no real right strategy…just right outcomes. And these right outcomes dictate which strategy was right. Every business school uses case studies that reflect on a business or industry’s marketing strategy during a certain time period. We're to emulate the company that got it right, and ignore the one that got it wrong. It’s as if one company could see the future, but the other couldn’t. So is there any such thing as a right strategy? 

Egad!! We need a silver bullet…

Any successful marketing endeavor depends on a concise, well-written creative strategy.
A creative strategy is not a marketing plan. It is a set of principles used to guide a marketing program so that everything in it is measurable, consistent and congruent. Furthermore, everyone involved in internal and external communications should agree on your creative strategy before any work is done on any project. This includes logo (if you don't have one), direct mail and email pieces, newsletters, web sites, ads, commercials, social media, etc, and even extends into the scripts, dialogues and presentations used by sales and customer service. The reason's simple: a consistent, creative strategy maintains the congruency of your “pre- and post-purchase” message. It prevents a customer "over promise and under deliver" situation. Every inconsistency confuses your market. Each time you produce something that looks different from past pieces, you have to re-educate your market as to who you are. Consistency and congruency are among the least used, but all-important "correct" principles of effective marketing.

Part II:  Five Crucial Elements for an Effective Creative Strategy


Copyright ©2012 Results 2 Profit

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