Marketing. It’s such a commonly used word these days, but what actually constitutes your marketing plan as effective? If marketing meant the same to every company to ever exist, major industry game players today, such as Coke, Google and Apple, would be executing strategy and similar tactics to businesses who have failed in their marketing efforts. In today’s world, most business leaders and CEO’s know they need to differentiate their business from their competitors. However, in order to do this, these leaders need to hire efficient and effective Marketing Directors to put together and execute a strategy that will drive traffic and conversation back to the brand, ultimately resulting in leads and new sales.

But when it comes down to it, that’s much easier said than done. Right? Bottom line: your company’s Marketing Director needs a strategic plan to help your business stay relevant in a digital world that’s inundated with constant feeds, news, data and information. So let’s get dig deeper into how to make your company’s marketing strategy stand out from the rest.

1. Know what you are selling and who you are selling it to

This sounds obvious, but as a marketer, you must be fully knowledgeable about what it is that your business actually does. What makes your company tick? Identify the need and the want of your consumer. Ask yourself who is your ideal consumer and why should they be interested in the product or service that your company is selling/offering? Once you have a clear understanding of the 5 “w’s”, you will have a more narrow and focused vision of whom your marketing efforts should be targeting and in which direction they should be flowing. It’s also important to research where these demographics are located on the Internet and go where they are. Some marketer’s have the notion that their key prospects will flee to them. I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but unfortunately that’s not how it works when developing a marketing strategy. As marketers, we must find where our prospects are and find ways to go to them in their space without saturating their digital mediums with hard-sells. And here’s exactly how to do that:

2. Create relevant content and stay human

When you think of the term “storage space”, you probably no longer think of your closet downstairs housing old winter coats; but instead, you think in terms of gigabytes. You think of the cloud. Why is that? Because we are living in a fully digitized world today. With the vast array of social networks and online communities available to us these days, it can be hard to stand out from the rest of the “digital noise and clutter” clogging our feeds. Marketers need to be able to create relevant content that is tailored to their key demographic and customer. Use the information on what you do know about your target audience, and develop content based on the customer’s wants and needs. Draw your consumers in to YOUR brand, little by little. Gain their trust over time. Talk to them! Have conversations. Position your newly curated content as a way to engage and actually communicate with these people, NOT as a hard sell. Make it known you are actually a human, and not just a brand speaking. I assure you, little by little; you will begin to develop the trust of these people, your targeted audience, and what started as a conversation could ultimately turn into a sale or new client. In the end, don’t lose sight of your consumer and how to translate relevant content into something they will actually take the time to read and engage with.

3. Be creative and think “outside” the box

As the Bearnaked Ladies might say, “it’s all been done before”. A solid marketing strategy and plan is one that does not mimic those of your competitors or other industry game players. To ensure that your strategy is not plagiarized, trite, or even old news (gasp!), a successful brand thinks creatively and outside the box to lure people in. Marketers need to put their selves into the shoes of the customer. What would actually lure your ideal customer to your website or social media accounts? What can you do to get people calling or e-mailing you for more information about your company? People are not interested in a hard sell, but rather an emotional connection and appeal. The connection is more likely to come from doing something out of the ordinary that might spark your consumer’s attention. Approaching marketing with a non-traditional eye will make you stand out from your competitors and draw in more interest and buzz as to what your company is doing. Get people to talk. Publicity is publicity. Own yours and own your marketing strategy.

Creating and implementing an all-star (and all-encompassing!) marketing strategy for a brand is not an easy task. However, knowing your key target demographics, creating relevant content, remembering to always stay “human”, and thinking creatively will help craft a stellar marketing plan and drive prospects to your front door.