Today’s small business owner has to juggle many different routes to market. The challenge is maintaining brand consistency across the board. If you’re concerned that you are sending out mixed messages, take a few minutes and conduct this easy assessment. First, jot down the marketing channels you’re currently employing. Your list may look something like this:
- Your website
- Media relations
- Digital advertising
- Reseller, partner and VAR marketing
- Direct mail
- Trade shows and events
Next, gather up examples of the content you have created for each channel. To illustrate the point, let’s take a closer look at your website. Not only is there content on each page but you may also have a blog and I certainly hope you have Search Engine Optimization efforts underway too. Also take a look at any online directories or third-party websites where your company may be listed.
After you have sample content for marketing channel, check for consistency. If your press release boiler plate copy doesn’t even mention your latest product release and your VARs are using collateral you wrote three years ago, chances are you’re out of sync. It can be especially hard for entrepreneurs and small business owners to be “on-brand” all the time. It may be that your business is in perpetual motion, evolving at what may feels the speed of light as you try to stay a step ahead of the competition. Another challenge is the concept of keywords… the language that your target buyer uses to search for your product or service is also a moving target. Whatever the reason, it’s easy for marketing materials to become off-brand or even obsolete if you’re not paying attention.
Thankfully, much of the material marketers produce today is in a digital format and can be updated for next to nothing. But tracking all those matierals and ensuring that they are in sync can be tedious It’s helpful if you have someone who is tasked with keeping an eye on this, an organized marketer, designer or even someone who runs the front office. If this task falls to you, get started with a simple spreadsheet where the column headers ook something like this:
- File name
- Format (xls, pdf, doc, etc.)
- Date last updated
- Owner / Creator
- Recipients (If this item was created for use by others such as a VAR sell sheet)
As your business changes, so too will our marketing materials. In a world of re-tweets, link-sharing and social marketing, being consistently on-brand is more important than ever.