Even if you have all the money in the world (we wish!), there is still a limit to how much marketing it is possible to do… and that’s how much time you have in your team to dedicate to it. There are so many marketing things you could do, a seemingly limitless list of possibilities. So, I’ve asked Julie Mitchell-Mehta to answer the question we are so often asked… how much marketing is enough? ~ Bryony Thomas
There are no shortage of marketing ideas… it time and money that’s in shortest supply! It’s all very well putting together ideas for amazing PR stunts, fabulous content or superb advertising, but a question I hear over and over again, is “how much do I need to do?”
The simple answer is, “it depends”. It depends on budget, time, what you are trying to achieve and what your audience expects. But, first and foremost, you need to do enough to make sure that you aren’t starting from scratch every time you put out a piece of communication. Enough to make a difference.
In Watertight Marketing, this forms part of the Four Foundation Leaks – No Familiarity to work from. This happens when you’ve not committed to an appropriate baseline of activity. But what is that baseline? How much marketing is enough?
There’s no Magic Wand
Before I even start, I want to remind you that there is no magic wand for marketing. It’s almost certainly not the case that you are missing one secret ingredient, no silver bullet to make it all perfect.
It’s much more likely to require plain old hard work (on a regular basis), and lots of little changes to make your business get to where you want it to be. As Rachael Wheatley noted in her post about Marketing Timing, “It’s about making sure you’re there, at the times when people are looking, frequently enough for you to increase your chances.” The good news, is that there is likely to be a happy ending if you stick with it.
A Rough Guide to How Much Marketing is Enough
Choose one networking group and BE THERE
Networking is time consuming but low cost, networking is the staple of most small business marketing. Even in our digitally-connected world, there’s nothing to beat meeting people face-to-face and getting to know them. Most cities have a wide ranging programme of networking events and, rest assured, you don’t have to be at all of them. Find the ones that your target buyers attend, the ones that get you the right referrals, and the ones where you feel most comfortable. Attend regularly – you will know when it’s enough when you are familiar and recognised when you walk in. If you have a team… divide and conquer with one person focusing on one group each.
Do something newsworthy each quarter
Getting your business into the press is always a boost, but how often should you send out press releases? If you hire a PR agency on a retainer you want to make sure your spend is worthwhile, but don’t be tempted to send out press releases for the sake of it. Your news should be genuinely newsworthy if you want to gain the trust of the media. So, do something newsworthy; jump out of a plane for charity, host an event, or spend time creating an original piece of research. If you do have news – new people, office move, increased turnover, success stories of any description, shout it from the rooftops. As a bar, something like this on a quarterly basis is good for keeping you on radar.
Never treat advertising as a one-off
Unless you are going to do something truly spectacular, then one advert is not going to cut it. It tends to take multiple exposures to a message for a consumer to remember it (think: learning your times tables… repetition is essential). It’s no good taking out one ad in your industry journal, and then saying that ads don’t work… because unless you are very lucky, this will be the result. Apart from the fact you can almost certainly negotiate a discount for booking a series of ad, the visibility benefit of a sequence of small ads is likely to be greater that of one big ad. (Think: lighthouse)
Sustained social media and blogging
We’ve all seen blogs that have a flurry of well-intentioned activity for the first few weeks and then fizzle out, with the last post dated sometime in the middle of 2014. The same goes for Facebook pages, Twitter feeds, LinkedIn accounts and any other network that demands regular feeding. The truth is that when it comes to blogging, the more you blog the greater the results. If you can blog two or three times a week, do it! If you can’t manage that, then commit to a regular schedule that you can definitely achieve. Facebook also needs near constant attention and a few posts a week, with a variety of content – photos, links, video – ought to be your goal. Twitter is even more demanding and you should be aiming to tweet several times a day, with a mix of original content, links, retweets and conversations. As for LinkedIn, you can relax a little, but you should still be seen there a few times a week if possible. If you can’t manage this level of activity, think about a retained relationship with a partner who can keep this engine going.
Make your Newsletters your cornerstone item
In the spirit of Watertight Marketing, if you are only going to do ONE thing, make it keeping in touch with your customers. A regular newsletter is the cornerstone of your customer retention strategy and is very easy and low cost. For some this may be email, for others a hard copy mini magazine that goes in the post (yes… people still do this, and yes… it can work really well!)
How often? That comes down to what you are selling, how often your customers purchase and what you have to tell them. Some online retailers email every single day, but with a considered purchase, less often is absolutely fine.
The ideal here is give your subscribers the option of hearing from you weekly/monthly/quarterly and see what they pick. Monthly or quarterly would tend to be a safe option for most B2B marketers, just as long as you are sending genuinely interesting and useful content… not making your recipients feel like they are being spammed.
Commitment and consistency is the key
The theme to all these activities is regularity. Commit to a structured programme of communication and stick with it, even if you are busy. Don’t fall into the expensive and exhausting trap of yo-yo marketing. Keep at it, little and often, and you will remain familiar in the minds of your current and potential customers, making them more likely to choose your business when they are ready to buy.
© Watertight Marketing Ltd
Reading reference: See Chapter 4, 8 and Chapter 11 in Watertight Marketing.
You might also like:
- How much time does marketing take?
- Are you earning the right to a person’s time?
- Three ways to pay… and we don’t just mean money!
Watertight Marketing Certified Practitioner
Julie is a strategic marketing consultant based in Aberdeen. She has a particular strength in working with clients to develop an inbound marketing activity plan centred on high-quality content and a marketing-supported sales journey.