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Don’t Follow the Pack, Follow Your Plan

Posted on the 22 February 2013 by Steveonline @steve_online

messaging Don’t Follow the Pack, Follow Your Plan

With the internet being such a convenience to modern society it’s really easy to start messing around in Google, putting in a few dozen search phrases, and ending up on a wild goose chase that ends up in you buying some BS Clickbank course on “How to get a Million Twitter followers overnight” or some other absurd internet guru junk to drain your wallet dry.

bs Don’t Follow the Pack, Follow Your Plan

This is an example of BS Internet Marketing. Avoid it like the plague!

The majority of the Internet Marketing industry is rubbish. Re-hashed eBooks now being done as spoken word on video and sold as “training courses”. Trash. My apologies to those who create those programs and then rip-off unsuspecting entrepreneurs because they know how to ride the internet with more savvy. Actually no, I’m not sorry. You are not really marketers, little more than con artists pretending to be something with made up backgrounds and overzealous claims. If you ever end up on a website with a million checkmarks, a video that can’t be stopped, adsense / clickbank earning charts, etc. just close your browser and stop wasting your time and money.

As someone who has actually made a career in Marketing with B2B Fortune 500 customers, I’ve never been given an eBook for a product training session and told I’ll strike it rich. Sorry. It just doesn’t work that way. The only one getting rich on that is whoever is the kingpin of affiliate marketing Tier X, the rest eat the crumbs. And in the end, you’ll have maybe a handful of additional followers from my previous example.

If you don’t think it’s odd there are dozens of forums (some are HUGE communities) telling random people “How to Get Rich” with all of these eProducts that cost $6.77 and go up a dime every sale I have a bridge in Brooklyn to sell you. Not far from Barclays Center, you’ll love it!

Design your marketing plans and stick to your guns. Do not let the internet side track your real world business objectives that deserve your full attention.

I really believe this and have been implementing this my entire career. A typical marketing wireframe for a campaign I will lead might look like this:

  • Budget & Timeline
  • Target Identification
  • Message Creation
  • Delivery Method
  • Additional Actions
  • Follow-Up
  • Results

It’s really a simple philosophy and if you stick with your plan the results will speak for themselves. Sure you may encounter situations along the way that need you to make adjustments. Parallel strategic goals might also be discovered giving you twice the available message to your targets. The variables are endless, but the path remains the same.

budget Don’t Follow the Pack, Follow Your Plan
Budget & Timeline - This will determine a great deal of marketing campaigns before you even address the remaining issues. If your budget is huge no worries, that’s just not the norm. We are always on tight budgets to get the job done so it’s a careful balance and it can change your Timeline dramatically. Are your cold calls in house or outsourced? Do you have a design team for the deliverables? Is a printer involved? TV/Radio requires additional time for the stations to do their part on any campaign. Is this internet only (ie Social Media) and if so what is manual and what is being paid for and how long will it take. Every marketing campaign will undoubtedly get sidetracked from one of the many variables during your campaign so plan ahead and allot for additional time. Worse case scenario, you have additional time on your hands on the back end.

Target Identification – For some companies this in itself can be a business model. I have personally employed market research companies on many occasions to handle target identification based on a set criteria and then worked with the results. For the budget conscious you can do all the legwork yourself, especially in today’s social age with a combination of online services and a little ingenuity. First identify your ideal marketing target. Is there a gatekeeper involved? No? Can you contact them directly? Figure out your line of communication to your targets and then build your database around it. Use tools like LinkedIn to get an edge and maybe even find new targets you were not originally anticipating. Doing your own research can go a long way when you know exactly who you are going after. Local business? Hit up the Chamber of Commerce. Corporate business partner? Hit up the parent companies BP database you might be surprised how much info will be there. The market research aspect is something I spent years on and have developed my own methods, with time you will too.

messaging Don’t Follow the Pack, Follow Your Plan
Message Creation – What do you have to say? We would all like to just shake a club, oooga booga BUY ME, and make the sale. That is unlikely! Your message needs to be catered to your targets so they feel like this is exactly what they need, not that they’re just another prospect on a list (even if they are don’t ever let them feel that way). Whenever I’ve been on a campaign that has not been as successful as we hoped it always had a similar Modus operandi that a client wanted their set message regardless of who we ended up contacting and was unwilling to alter it under any circumstance. It happens sometimes and like they say, the customer is always right. Make sure your message is current, on point, and has visual appeal. Without those, you’re done before you start.

The first 3 items: Budget & Timeline, Target Identification, and Message Creation will undoubtedly be the most crucial parts for a successful campaign. It’s no different than building anything, you need a strong foundation for the rest of the work to really shine.

Delivery Method - Direct Mail, E-Mail Campaigns, Telemarketing, Door to Door, Internet / Social Media interactions, Magazine Advertising, TV / Radio Advertising, Paid endorsements, Webinars, and Trade Shows are usual suspects in HOW you are going to deliver that message you just created, to the target of choice, and within that budget or timeline constraint. The next step is to plan out the implementation and what is needed on your end for the marketing campaign to be a success. Similar to message creation you may need third party help to make it happen.

Additional Actions – Is this a multi-touch approach? Does a cold call have a follow-up deliverable to help establish the next call? Make sure the people you choose to handle your additional actions are up for the task and ready to get your deliverables out on time and to the right people. Nothing is worse than forgetting to send someone an email or hard mailer with more information, call them back, and they say “I never received the information from you.” … and you check your records and they’re not blowing smoke, it never went out! Make sure your process is streamlined and if it’s important enough to your success do it yourself! Putting that bit of sweat equity in will only drive you further into wanting to make a success out of the entire process.

Follow Up Don’t Follow the Pack, Follow Your Plan
Follow-Up – Depending on your campaign type the follow-up timeline will vary. Telemarketing for instance the caller will be directly asking for a future window to follow-up with lighter interests and tire kickers or they will be setting solid appointments for the good lead opportunities that come from their engagement. Some forms will require no follow-up until they contact you; ie. magazine ads, tv/radio, etc. Just make sure no matter what marketing mediums you use that you have a process in place for how you are following up with your leads. Be it the first touch after they contact you, or the third while getting deep into the selling cycle; having that follow-up system ready to go will be a huge benefit and keep you organized.

Results – All results need to be measured for an accurate overall review of your marketing campaign. Not only the good but the bad and the undecided need to be recorded and in many cases will be the base target group for your next project if you plan on making a secondary play for their business. Detailed reports, excel charts, spreadsheet data, accurate lead forms, you need copies of them all from the people working on the campaign. Without a full picture of what you did, you cannot learn to improve your next campaign.

 Try using these 7 steps for your next marketing campaign and see how you can improve your results. You may think a little deeper on some of these topics and translate that into a more successful campaign.

This is just a little insight to how I’ve been working over the past 15 years with my clients, partners, and employees and the marketing approach I take. Looking forward to sharing more and going deeper into each of the 7 parts of my plan on future posts. We have only scratched the surface here and identified some of the main points in building a successful marketing campaign.

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