iii 15-Steps to Effective Marketing Luftig Warren
Have a Plan 1
Conduct an Internal Audit 1
Analyze your Industry 2
Define your Target Market 2
Conduct Client Surveys 2
Analyze your Competition 2
Develop your Strategic Marketing Plan 3
Determine the Educational Timeline & Buying Process 3
Gather Evidence 3
Develop your Strategic Message 3
Develop your Tactical Marketing Plan 4
Standardize your Sales System 4
Develop & Implement a Lead Generation System 4
Develop a Continuing Education System 4
Track Results 5
15-Steps to Effective Marketing
Have a Plan
There’s something about performing a task solely for the sake of performing it
that drives most people crazy, myself included. Behind everything we do, we like
to have a sense of purpose and organization. Without that organization, the
wrong things get done or worse yet, nothing gets done. There’s a saying that
goes, “the best decision is the right one, the second best decision is the wrong
one, and the worst decision is doing nothing at all.” Marketing is no exception.
But, to do it effectively, you must have a plan.
This guide divides the marketing process into three phases. Phase 1 is Research
and Analysis, including steps one through five. Phase 2 is Development,
including steps six through ten. Phase 3 is Implementation, including steps
eleven through fifteen. Most marketing firms spend little time on Phase 1, skip
most of Phase 2, and go straight to tactical implementation in Phase 3. However,
without laying the proper groundwork and spending significant time on the
strategic marketing plan, the tactical marketing will not be effective.
decision is to do
nothing at all.”
For some, this guide will be all you need to get up and running. For others, you’ll
need some assistance to get your marketing plan in place. Whatever you do,
remember this: the worst decision you can make is to do nothing at all.
* * *
Step 1: Conduct an Internal Audit
Start by collecting and organizing relevant data about your business. Chart your
sales over the last few years, your total clients, and recent client activity. Identify
your current marketing and sales processes, and your company’s perception of
your client’s expectations. Record your company’s views regarding your client’s
buying process. Finally, assign values in the areas of importance, emotional
intensity, duration, and frequency to key factors in the clients’ decision-making
process, and rank them in order.
1 15-Steps to Effective Marketing Luftig Warren
Step 2: Analyze your Industry
Is your industry growing, stagnant, or declining? This is critical – if your industry
is stagnant or declining, there may be no point in continuing to develop your
marketing plan. What opportunities exist? Threats? What innovations are on the
horizon that could change the industry? What technological advances will affect
the future of industry? Create a SWOT analysis by listing the Strengths and
Weaknesses of your company and the Opportunities and Threats in your
Step 3: Define your Target Market
“Identify what the
need to see, hear,
or learn to make a
Determine who your primary target market is. If you haven’t targeted your
audience, your marketing won’t be effective. Be as specific as possible. Take into
account demographics, location, age, gender, economic status… the more
specific you are, the more effective your message will be because it will be
tailored to appeal to a unique audience.
Step 4: Conduct Client Surveys
Create and conduct surveys of current, previous, and potential clients to find out
what matters most to them, what frustrations they have regarding your service,
your product, or general industry dissatisfactions. Dig deep to discover the core
issues. Check any assumptions you made during the first step against the data
you acquired and revise your plan as necessary. This is the foundation for all of
your future marketing efforts.
Most businesses skip this step in their marketing development. Even those who
conduct client surveys typically ask ineffective questions, resulting in useless
data and wasted time. Luftig Warren specializes in developing and conducting
targeted and specific surveys, asking the right questions so we end up with
critical information about your clients. Without asking the right questions, your
marketing doesn’t stand a chance.
Step 5: Analyze your Competition
Create and conduct competitive surveys to find out what your competitors are
saying and doing, identifying areas of weakness and opportunity. Make note of
where the competition fails to address important client needs. Consider what
your company can do to address client needs that the competition ignores.
2 15-Steps to Effective Marketing Luftig Warren
3 15-Steps to Effective Marketing Luftig Warren
Step 6: Develop your Strategic Marketing Plan
Once you have completed your client, prospect, and competitive surveys,
develop your strategic marketing plan. Create competitive positioning maps,
determine your unique selling proposition and overall competitive strategies. This
should be comprehensive and heavily referenced from the data you compiled in
steps one through five.
Step 7: Determine the Educational Timeline & Buying Process
Define your target market’s buying process, from the moment they start thinking
about buying what you sell to the time they purchase. Once you have defined the
client buying process, determine what type of information would help facilitate
your prospects decision at each step. Identify what the prospect would need to
see, hear, or learn to make an educated decision at each point. Then develop it.
Step 8: Gather Evidence
So you think you’ve built a better product or provide services superior to your
competitors? Prove it. You need to gather evidence that supports your claims.
Otherwise, your prospects simply won’t believe you.
Step 9: Innovate
After you have determined your target market’s hot buttons, analyze your
business and see how your company responds to each point. Wherever you do
not meet your prospects’ expectations, innovate; make a change for your benefit.
Innovate until you eliminate every frustration your target market has identified.
Step 10: Develop your Strategic Message
What you say and how you say it are just as important as where and how often
you say it. Develop your strategic message so you address your target market’s
critical issues and how your business overcomes any frustrations they have.
Make sure to avoid generalities and statements made so often, they’ve become
commonplace and meaningless (ex. “highest quality”, “best client service”, “best
value”, etc.). Use simple, direct, and emotional language to spur prospects to
“Make note of
Step 11: Develop your Tactical Marketing Plan
Now that you have developed your message, it’s time to develop your tactical
marketing plan, or how you will deliver your message to your target market.
Using the customer and prospect feedback you gathered in step four, identify the
top 3 or 4 delivery vehicles to deliver your message effectively. Integrate your
tactical vehicles with the educational timeline and buying cycle you developed in
Step 12: Standardize your Sales System
Most sales systems are haphazard at best. From the receptionist to the sales
person to the executive vice president, everyone has a different way of handling
a lead. Standardize the entire sales system, from point of contact to the sale, so
that every prospect hears your entire sales message, is treated the same, and is
never dropped between the cracks. This eliminates the need to “re-invent the
wheel” every time there is a change in the organization. If your organization has
a system in place to handle every client, there is consistency at every point of
Step 13: Develop & Implement a Lead Generation System
Write your “lead generators” to hit as many of the hot buttons as possible that
were identified and confirmed by your customer surveys. Develop 5-10 lead
generators and assign a code to each so that you can determine which works the
best. When deployed, this information will then be captured when leads contact
you. Create a database to keep track of all of your potential customers. Use the
Luftig Warren Marketing Evaluation Guide to evaluate all of the marketing tools
before money is spent.
Once you have created your lead generation system, test it with a sample of your
current clients. Revise the “Lead Generators” based on actual feedback. Next,
test out a sample of 5-10% of your prospect base, depending on its size. Test the
response and make any changes necessary.
Step 14: Develop a Continuing Education System
Create a system to regularly communicate with your prospects (and ultimately
your customers) in order to further facilitate their decision-making capabilities.
Any lead that isn’t converted into a customer should be added to your “Hopper
System” so you can communicate to them regularly at every point along the
“Educational Timeline” in step 11.
4 15-Steps to Effective Marketing Luftig Warren
5 15-Steps to Effective Marketing Luftig Warren
Step 15: Track Results
Keep track of your results. How much you spend, and how much return you get
on your investment per dollar spent. Establish reasonable goals and compare
them to your actual results. Determine your effectiveness and revise your
marketing campaign where and when necessary. Use an ROI sheet to determine
your campaigns effectiveness.
* * *
Vince Kostelnik is a senior marketing advisor for Luftig Warren, specializing in strategic marketing
Luftig Warren is a business consulting services firm‚ specializing in business growth strategies and
tactics. Luftig Warren applies a comprehensive understanding of marketing principles to solve clients’
specific business challenges in three key areas: revenue growth, new client acquisition, and client
For more information on implementing a full marketing system into your organization, contact us or
visit us on the web at www.luftigwarren.com.