In a tough climate an effective marketing strategy is essential. Here are a few of the key areas Oyster focus on when reviewing the very basics of a marketing strategy.

1. Study the route to market

Grab a pen and paper and write down what marketing and sales tools you use and how you are using them – are they up to date? Look at the sharp end and ask how each tool is expected to generate interest and create sales – do you rely on your advertising to draw enquiries? What tools do you use online? Do direct sales push the product effectively? What tools do they have to help them? What job is your online marketing doing? How do you clean and improve your databases?  Our starting point is always to check that the basic marketing logic in place.

If you have one, how do the sales team employ marketing literature? If you haven’t done so recently, sit down with the sales team to discuss how marketing works for them, what customers are saying, what’s their toughest hurdle, what would they like to see as a marketing tool to help support them.

2. Study your target customers

What are the characteristics and needs of a true customer? Does your marketing approach really meet their need? Are you ringing the right USPs or are you over complicating the message? Where do you sit on price and why?

Understand your audience – what key things are they looking for? What do they want from you and your products? Are you really communicating these?

3. Brand

It’s who you are! How you look and how you use that look across all your communications is a core part of your customers’ perceptions of you, your service and your product. A strong brand is great for business and the reverse is true of a poor one.

Don’t be scared to update and review your brand – yes there’s a cost but very often it’s the best value for money investment you can make in the marketing of your organisation. A brand update is a strong message to the market place.

4. Effective online marketing 24/7

Web technology provides a powerful, affordable marketing tool that works for you around the clock. How your website looks is just the starting point: 
- Is it well optimised? 
- Does your emarketing system allow you to track response and traffic, pick out specific customer actions and enhance emarketing campaigns and databases?
- Are you fishing? Using blogs, enewsletters, updates, online opt-in forms?
Modern online marketing is phenomenal and if you use it correctly you can reach a huge range of people, refine your targeting and reap big rewards!

5. Effective social media

Social media has to be of interest to be effective – thinking particularly of Twitter and Facebook. Are their aspects of your service or product that will be of ongoing interest to potential customers? Such as sharing tips or links of professional interest or late deals and special offers – what ever it is, it has to interest your followers. If you don’t think your business has an obvious area of interest to followers of Twitter or Facebook, then think laterally – who are your audience? What might tickle their interest? For example if you are linked to the boat market you could tweet about ocean racing, world events, great video footage etc. Find something to hang your campaign on – if you’re talking to them you’re halfway there.

6. Integrated marketing strategy

Is your marketing communications all part of one logical marketing approach? 
If you’re using telemarketing, schedule it behind a relevant direct mail piece – use emarketing stats to monitor client activity (see point 5) and feed it to sales – plan advertising themes and negotiate supporting PR on the back of it to coincide with sales campaign themes – give your sales team up to date information about marketing comms – use an intelligent database system so you target the right people with the right message – check the timing and logic of all your campaigns to get them working together.

If you would like to chat about any aspects of your marketing or design do give us a call on 01243 389713or email mike@oysterdesign.co.uk