Lots of people jump straight into talking about activities when they talk about marketing planning. I think this is just a familiarity thing - it can feel more comfortable discussing tactical here and now stuff rather than the (more often than not) brain ache inducing strategic ‘where are we going?’ type considerations.
An old boss of mine used to explain the relationship between marketing goals, strategies and tactics like this:
- Goal – get to London (he was based in Edinburgh)
- Strategy – use the train as you can work onboard
- Tactics – look up train times and book tickets and seats online
This illustration of how Arm & Hammer’s marketing goals, strategies and tactics relate to each other is also a good explaination and shows how they went from baking powder to toothpaste production.
But if you really do want to work backwards and start with your marketing tactics here’s my A-Z crib sheet of marketing tactics. This list, of course, is not exhaustive but is a good starting point.
A is for attend events as opposed to events you hold yourself, like breakfast meetings or seminars. What events should you be seen at/lurk at?
B is for blogs – yours and other peoples. Write them, comment on them and link to them to grow your online reach.
C is for celebrity endorsements. Great if you can get them, sometimes all you have to do is ask. Your broad online reach can help (the WIIFM factor).
D is for direct mail. It might have been around for eons and the price of a stamp akin to a king size Mars Bar nowadays but nothing can beat the impact of receiving something welcome on your doormat/intray (all the more exciting when bundled in with the usual bills and invoices).
E is for email marketing /events/ ebooks. Take your pick, they’re all good, though some cheaper to execute than others.
F is for Facebook – page or profile? Fans or likes? Do you really need a website or will a top of the range Facebook page do you? And, conversely, do you really need a Facebook page? Keeping it interesting and relevant takes application.
G is for Google Ads which are easy to get started with. Depending how much you want to spend a nice Google person can give you advice over the phone about the science bit. Facebook ads are just as easy to work with. Set your budget and your timeframe and jump right in.
H is for hits. They don’t count as much as visitors who don’t count as much as unique visitors. Know your online metrics to know what online activity is working.
I is for introductions. If you introduce yourself and give your business card to 5 new people a week that’s 260 new contacts per year. For free.
J is for joint promotion. Seek out someone you can create a complimentary offer with. You need to have the same target customers and be slightly relevant to each other.
K is for keywords – SEO marketing starts with understanding what your key words are. This can be harder than it sounds and is like painting the Forth Bridge – it’s never finished.
L is for loyalty programmes. You can really have fun with these and you don’t have to spend a lot of money. It’s all about encouraging repeat purchase.
M is for mobile phones messaging. Nice article here about how it works and best practice.
N is for newsletters. An oldy but a goody. Very cost effective way to give customers reasons to repeat purchase and to entice prospects in to buy. I like MailChimp but Constant Contact is also great.
O is for online advertising, eg on Facebook or Google ads as above, but also purchased space on target websites. Here are some great examples of creative online ads I like.
P is for PR, press releases and getting on the phone. Again, they’re all good but you can’t beat the outgoing phone calls, in my opinion.
Q is for QR codes – they’re cheap, very easy to set up and can be fun. They’re also a quick way to make yourself look a bit modern (if that’s important to you).
R is for radio advertising – especially local. Nothing beats the immediacy of radio for getting a message out there.
S is for story marketing – we all love a geniune and compelling tale and they can be a great way to build the attention, interest and desire of prospective customers.
T is for Twitter. Start the conversation.
U is for understanding the metrics. See H. Set your goals before you do anything else so you know, later on, whether you’ve achieved anything.
V is for video testimonials. A strong (and short) video clip from a customer or person of influence has immense power. Create a bank of them so you can keep your website/Facebook page/YouTube channel fresh.
W is for website (although see F too) - add in datacapture elements asap to build your own list to market to. Use the right, action orientated calls to action to get sign ups.
X is for X Factor. I hate it but I know others love it. Marmite’s love it/hate it campaign shows how strong polarised opinions can be to get people talking.
Y is for YouTube. Also see V for your content – the one thing you need. Otherwise it’s free and another great social media tool to use.
Z is for zap – photography competition. These are great on Facebook pages because photos are the real reason Facebook became so successful. People love to comment, especially on location and scenary images.
I’m sure I’ve missed some fairly obvious marketing tactics off this A-Z so go on, please let me know what you’d add!