marketing strategy importance

Sure, I get it. You’re am accomplished marketing ninja who knows their craft. For example, you understand the difference between marketing strategy and tactics, or price vs value.

You’ve done the heavy lifting to get to know your audience, buying drivers, communication channel preferences, customer service expectations, and all the rest. In fact, the very mention of me suggesting things could be better is little more than a big stab to your marketer ego.

But, hear me out.

The reason I stress the importance in understanding your audience is that too many business owners take this vital building block of marketing strategy for granted. After a time it’s easy for complacency and assumption to replace data and insight. After completing the work it’s easy to convince yourself you know everything there is to know about audience segments and how to market to them.

Here’s why you can’t afford to make that mistake.

Measuring the Marketplace – What’s the Big Deal?

People change.

I firmly believe the underlying drivers that influence people to buy haven’t really changed in generations. However that doesn’t mean the nature of those triggers, and context of how they are are presented, are set in stone.

It’s the same deal with marketplaces.

Supposing your SME’s target audience is ‘construction workers between the ages of 20 and 40’. Or, imagine your company’s communication is directed at impressionable middle-school teenagers (yes, I’m oversimplifying. But it’s to make a point. Bear with me…)

These are cookie-cutter, specific audiences that you more or less “get to know” over the years. Through a combination of time and familiarity the quality and efficacy of your marketing improves, as do your results.

Which is great. Well done you.

However the marketing execution cannot ever be “cookie-cutter” because, even within specific demographics, the people themselves are continually changing. Continued innovation, buying model disruption, and customer expectations have changed consumption patterns, spending patterns – and even thinking patterns – drastically.

You can have a great product and a great marketing strategy. But if you aren’t communicating optimally (content-wise, or target-wise) it’s probably because you either skimped on good ol’ market research – or your research is out of date.

Which brings me to my next point.

Why Ongoing Market Research Should Be Your Morning Coffee

This should be a fundamental step in your morning marketing routine.

Is it sexy? No, absolutely not.

Is it fun? Not even close. Personally I’d rather have root canal surgery.

But is it necessary? You can bet your HubSpot subscription it is.

Not only that, but it will go on to impact your entire campaign outlines and marketing strategy. Don’t believe me? Here are a few game-changing stats you may not be aware of that show how behavior patterns are changing:

Diminishing ‘Brand Halo Effect’
Consumers are putting way more emphasis than before on brand authenticity – they need to trust you. They want genuine products and genuine customer support and aren’t falling for traditional brands’ false promises. This is why so many consumers now actively review products and trust reviews in return. 71% of consumers who’ve had a good social media experience with a brand are likely to recommend it to others.

Instagram is Content King
Instagram has overtaken Facebook by 58 times and Twitter by 120 times, with a per-follow engagement rate of 4.21% as reported by top brands.

Low Attention Span, But Higher Engagement for Long-form Content
This one’s contradictory but makes sense. Consumer attention spans are decreasing, yet high-quality articles longer than 1,500 words will likely have 68.1% more tweets and 22.6% more Facebook likes compared to shorter, less informative content. This ties into the first point of a brand promoting “genuine” and informative content over some motivational quote image that’s been re-shared a hundred times.

‘Millennial’ as a Demographic is a Fallacy
Yes, I said it; and I realize it may be a pretty unpopular opinion. Whatever you think of them, you can’t call Millennials a marketing demographic. Think about it: there are about 2 billion people born between the years of 1981 and 2000. What’s the big differentiating factor from other demographics? That they’re more “tech-savvy”? Give me a break. Today, everyone and their grandma is using some kind of social media channel, or making purchases online. In fact, the oldies are quickly catching up with “Millennials” – 68% of Baby Boomers now own a smartphone, up from 25% in 2011.

Email Still Rules
In the USA over 50% of internet users check email at least 10 times a day. For many, it also happens to be their preferred way to receive brand updates. Email as a marketing channel may not be getting much marketing love any more, but don’t assume for a second it’s ineffective.

Video Over ‘Trendy’ Content
We may know infographics are widely shared and contribute to a wider and deeper brand asset library for repurposing across numerous touchpoints. But did you know 83% of consumers still prefer traditional blog posts and video over ‘trendier’ content such as infographics or podcasts?

Old is Gold – Direct mail
With so many technological innovations diverting the attention of marketers and business owners, it’s easy to forget about the more ‘traditional’ marketing tools. For example,