The architect Frank Lloyd Wright once famously wrote that “less is more only when more is too much.” The question for businesses and marketers as we enter 2014 is how to know when more is too much.
The digital explosion offers as many challenges as it does opportunities for businesses of all sizes, but especially for SMEs. Each day, there seems to be another social platform to plug your business into and how to manage your profile on Google+, Circle, Instagram, Storify and Pinterest, let alone YouTube, Twitter and Facebook can leave even the most tech-savvy marketer a little baffled. The temptation over the past couple of years has been to generate as much content as possible and spread it liberally across your various social platforms, whilst also using it to engage with media, online and offline, as well. And that’s before you’ve factored in a blog.
The focus in 2014 is not only going to be on quality of content over quantity, but also in refining your marketing communications activity and honing it into one or two campaigns that can reach across your online and offline marketing channels.
The temptation on the first day back in January is to jump in with both feet and hit the market with activity whilst it’s still digesting the last of the Christmas pudding and New Year champagne. It’s worth, though, spending some time early in January, either as a team or with an external moderator (waves!!) to explore what it is you are actually trying to achieve.
- Revisit how you describe your business and its proposition, focusing not on the key words that you think are important but those that you think will be important to your customers. They’re often not the same!
- Take some time to discuss what you offer that your competitors do not and what they offer that you do not. Ask yourselves who your customers are and what they really want from you.
- Look for the words that you would use to describe both the values and personality of your business – and then write down what the proof or justification is for the claim you are making. It’s all very well saying you offer great customer service – where’s the proof?
- And finally….ask yourself what success for your business would look like. Where will you be at the end of 2014 compared to now – be as specific as possible and then ask yourself which products or services, which markets and which customers are going to help you achieve that.
Then – and only then – are you really ready to build your marketing communications programme and to look at the campaigns that will encapsulate those objectives and target markets in a way that also enables you to reach across online and offline media and platforms in an integrated, consistent and targeted manner. That’s where the creativity comes in but without the planning first it will be little more than creativity for the sake of it.