Marketing Calendars Revisited

In honour of September and all things new, fresh, and well-planned, I’m linking to my post on marketing calendars, “Marketing Calendars: the Friendlier, More Gentle Cousin of the Marketing Plan.”

Sometimes we all just need a reminder of a tried and true oldie:

Marketing Calendars: the Friendlier, More Gentle Cousin of the Marketing Plan

Have you ever been told, “Your business needs a marketing plan?” Did you politely smile and slowly back out of the room? I’ve done the same thing (and I’m a marketer).

They’re right, of course, in that everyone needs a plan, a goal, a well-thought out way of getting to their destination. I do, however, cringe slightly at the thought of all business people slogging over a 20 plus page document, only to complete it and file it away for review in 12 months. How helpful is that?

It’s not.

A marketing calendar, however, is a working document — something that lives on your Google Calendar or on your cork board. It lives. It works. It does the heavy lifting. The marketing calendar is where you plan what activities you’re taking on, when they need to go out, how they’re getting done, who’s doing them, and where they’re being sent. See? They’re the action genre of the marketing world.

Anything this helpful must take forever to plan and write, right? Nope. That’s the beauty. Read the Full Article

So You Know Your Target. Now What?

I  received a very frustrated call from someone a few weeks ago who had spent time and money defining her target customer but was now realizing that it wasn’t enough. She seemed to have a lot of data but no way of converting it to sales. I completely understand her frustration.

It is true that we need to spend some time looking at who our targets are. But that is just the first step. That information needs to lead us somewhere or it’s useless.

For instance, say you’re determined to find the perfect wine. You spend weeks driving to wineries for tastings, you read all the wine experts’ opinions you can get your hands on, you buy several random bottles in a quest to find the hidden gem. In the end, you settle on the best bottle. You don’t buy the bottle or ever drink that wine again; you’re content just knowing the answer. Has this information helped at all? Not really. You haven’t put it into play. It’s just information sitting around gathering dust.

That’s exactly what a defined target customer is without a plan. Information gathering dust. Sigh.

Dusting Off the Target

Here’s what we’re going to do. I’m going to lay out 3 things you can do today to get this information back into play. Once you start, this process will become easier and easier.

  1. Decide Where Your Target Lives: Do they go to network meetings? Do they join clubs? Do they attend sporting events? Make a list of at least 10 places. This step is often overlooked but is truly key to deciding where to spend your marketing money and time.
  2. Decide How You’ll Talk to Them There: Choose three places from step one and list two short-term ways and two long-term ways you could reach your customer in that place. Don’t worry about what’s possible. Don’t filter right now.
  3. Make Plans to Talk to Your Target: This is the filter phase. Does your target attend a particular type of networking event? Research those and sign up for one today. Do they go to watch local sports? Read the paper? Spend a lot of time online? Set aside 30 minutes to make a few calls/do some searching to find how much attendance/sponsorship/advertising might cost. You might be surprised at how do-able some marketing activities are. If they turn out to be crazy expensive, look for cost-effective ways to get the same result.

I would be remiss to not mention that whatever you decide to do, take a moment to define how you will know the activity has been a success and how you will measure that. Number of business cards? How many click-throughs? How many calls from the ad? It’s important to know beforehand so you can collect the right data as the activity is in full swing.

Please let me know how it goes! Twitter | Facebook | Comments (below)

Segmenting: Subtargeting Your Target

At the Think Session last week, I had one participant ask how she could target the 20-30 year old market. I have to admit — there was a few seconds of silence in the room.

How do you target the 20-30 year old market? Where are they? Well, they’re everywhere and doing everything, we soon discovered. Our “where are they” list included getting married, travelling, working on their corporate career, studying in university, apprenticing at a trade, having children, postponing adulthood, learning new extreme sports, buying a home, and the list literally went on from there.

What can someone do when their target is, well, untargetable?

Segment. Daydream about what your ideal customer will be doing in their 20-30s. How much money will they have? What will their priorities be? How will your product or service make their lives easier or better? Pick the best subset of the larger target and go with that.

Still nervous that you’re leaving too many potential customers out of the “net”? Don’t be. Targeted marketing works better than floppy, messy marketing and is easier to measure. Besides, there’s nothing saying you can’t have more than one target.

Once you have the first segment’s marketing program humming away, go back to your segment list and pick another. Just make sure you don’t mix them in with the first group. Treat them as a separate target (because they are) and build campaigns just for them.