I get it. Marketing is the sexy beast of the business and communications world. I mean, who would want to do accounting and finance, when you could create tantalizing designs, hilarious commercials, and give people dollars off left and right? And who would want to spend the time speaking the economics of supply and demand when you could be on site at a photo shoot or creating the next YouTube video that is sure to go viral? Who doesn’t want to be reminded of the final product wrapped in the glorious wrapping paper of Christmas past?

Frankly, many of us in the creative field think of marketing in the same way. Like the LMFAO song says, “[we’re] sexy and we know it.” Yep. everyone wants to be like us.

Or do they?

For some reason, people are oblivious to the road – the thoughtful, time-intense journey – taken with every creative project. And for some reason, I think we, marketers, must forget he labor-intense, spastic, frantic, desperate road we took take to get to awesomeness. To be honest, sometimes that journey is a perpetual state of hell that you only wish you could escape anytime today, yet, the vortex of creative thinking and fast-approaching deadline laced with ungodly amounts of caffeine keeps us coming back for more. But, as usual, I digress.

The point is, marketing is work. And in order to get a great outcome, you have to be willing to put in the work.

So let’s spend a minute discussing 5 key elements that goes on behind the scenes.

  1. Business goals. Take time to know what you want to achieve. And let’s set the record clear right now. You don’t just want a Facebook like and you don’t just want your video to go viral. That sounds great and all, but friend, you need to dig deeper. Your goal is much bigger than that. So think why is this important. Let give you a hint. It’s because you want more people to know about you and eventually buy from you. This is what you want to strive for. And you should go even deeper. How much do you want or NEED to sell – and in what timeframe… Now we’re talking. As a consultatnt, before I get into the nitty gritty of anything, I take a step back to this very question… what do you want to achieve. This sets the foundation for EVERYTHING going forward. Why? Well, what good is a bullseye without a target?
  2. Budget. What type of money do you have to spend? This is in no way, shape, or form a superficial question. The budget let’s me know what amount of money we have to spend, which in turn determines the marketing channels to use, designers to outsource, and frankly how much work you may have to do on your own. If you have limitless budget, well then, you can go all out. Agencies, top designers, billboards, commercials, social media, catalogs, email campaigns, and the list goes on. However, if you’re working with a modest budget, you’ll have to be a bit more selective with channels and/or have to pull a lot of the weight on your own. You may find your best bet is to make social media and old-fashioned networking your best friend. Or you may find yourself creating emails using MailChimp. And frankly, if you don’t have the skills produce quality outputs, I say leave it alone or take the time to acquire the skills. In the world of marketing, it’s either time, money or both. Your budget will often determine the balance. (Find free marketing tools here)
  3. Research. It happens all the times. Research is one of those step that happens throughout the entire marketing process – before, during, and after execution. Things you need to research include competition, audience, what you have to offer, marketing channels, other parts of your business. And this is where the infamous SWOT analysis comes into play. Do you know you’re strengths and weaknesses. What about your opportunities and threats? Whp’s out there doing the same thing you’re doing? Why would the audience want to buy from you? Why wouldn’t they want to buy from you. How do you look different from the competiton? How do you look like your competition? What other factors may affect reaching your goal.  Is black the new pink (i.e. what are the hot trends?) What is you audience willing to pay? How much disposable income do they have?  Where do they spend theirt ime? What other things are going on within your organization that are also competing for your audience’s attention. What are the current marketing trends? You want to ask these and so much more. Plus, you should keep track of and recap the performance of your marketing efforts both during and after executing. In a nutshell, at this time, you’re looking to see if you need to make quick changes, whether or not you met your goal, and whether your efforts should be repeated.
  4. Strategy. In its simplest form your strategy outlines:
    1. Objective and goals: What are you planning to achieve? Sell $5000 in shoes? Increase clientele by 50%?
    2. Tactics: What marketing channels will you use? Will you have a giveaway or contest? Will you offer a discount? How long will your offer run?
    3. Location: Where will you tactics be executed? Right dead smack in the middle of the shopping mall? In the local beauty salon? Online? All of the above?
    4. Message: “Come in today and…” “Save $5” “We provide the best… this side of the Grand Canyon”
    5. Voice/Tone: How will you talk to your audience? Will you be witty or does your audience and/or brand call for a more sophisticated tone?
    6. Timing: How long will your marketing campaign run? Two weeks? A month? A year? (Try to always have a place of end date or frequent check points.)
  5. Getting ‘er done. Once you’ve outlined your strategy, it’s time to put the pedal to the metal. This is where writing, design, video production, proofing, editing, Facebook posts, blog posts, website goodness, and all that other good stuff happens.

Now that I think about it, I agree. Marketing is sexy. It takes time, money, and a ton of work. Just like in the real world. — Makeup anyone?

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