Answering the Web’s Most Searched Marketing Questions
A Google auto-complete interview
A Google auto-complete interview
I was inspired by WIRED’s autocomplete interviews to answer questions less specific than Tom Holland’s skincare routine.
Typing the basic why, what, where, when, and how, followed by the word “marketing,” I was able to uncover the most searched marketing questions people need to be answered.
Hopefully today, we can unravel the mystery surrounding some of these questions and give you a better understanding of “marketing.”
1. Why Marketing Is Important
Marketing is the foreplay of sales. It’s what you do to promote a product or services — and how you do it.
Most marketing professionals use the tactic of throwing sh*t at the wall and seeing what sticks.
Every large company I’ve worked for has had a huge budget for marketing but almost no way of directly tying that effort to sales.
Their goal was to spend all of that budget by the end of the internal financial year so they didn’t lose anything in next year’s allocation.
Shockingly, my assistant, who’s recently left education on a marketing course, was trained only with huge budgets in his “mock-campaigns.”
It would then make you wonder what kind of marketing is effective with little to no budget.
Let’s explore that next.
2. What Marketing Strategies Are There?
Probably the best way to break up marketing strategies is in two camps.
There are different kinds of strategies, but they usually fall neatly into these two things. Something that’s done online or digitally, and something your customers can experience in person.
A direct mail leaflet is experiential. Branded shopping bags are experiential. Whereas relationship marketing via your Facebook page is a form of digital marketing, and paid YouTube ads are, of course, digital marketing.
Keeping this in mind is a great way to decipher the jargon and ensure you understand which approaches are most useful to you.
With that in mind, here are a few examples of strategies.
Paid video ads.
Social media ads.
Promotional videos and trailers.
Customer retention campaigns.
Abandoned cart campaigns.
Upsells and transactional marketing (coupons, sales, events & bonuses, etc.)
Conversion optimization strategies (making tweaks to your customer journey to make it easier/quicker for them to buy).
There are many more, but that’s enough to get you thinking.
Sponsoring live events or festivals.
VIP shopper events.
Branded shopping bags.
Word of mouth.
Door to door.
Brick & mortar locations/stores with signage.
Markets or local community selling opportunities.
Again, there are more, but those strategies for marketing your brand, product, or service are enough to get a beginner started.
It’s not about what strategies there are — it’s about what strategies work best for your brand.
3. Where to Learn Digital Marketing
I learned digital marketing via my degree in university and through “on-the-job” experience for the last 10 or so years. In that time, many ad-hoc courses and online tuition opportunities have arisen.
Nowadays, you can simply follow marketing professionals online (such as me with this blog) to learn digital marketing strategies for free.
4. When to Write a Marketing Plan
Marketing plans are complex, and the answer isn’t always as simple as “do it at this time.”
If your marketing plan focuses on launching a specific product or business, do it before the launch and treat it like a checklist.
If your marketing budget gets renewed annually, then it’s good to do your new plan along with your fresh allocation of funds. That way, you can see what worked, what didn’t, and how you plan to best spend your money this year.
If you’re responding to a crisis or PR disaster, it’s best not to have a plan at all. You need to be reactionary, and sometimes, it’s impossible to put fixed dates and costs on that kind of marketing activity.
A marketing plan is about where your attention should be in relation to the product or service you’re pushing.
So first, decide where you are in the process of marketing your product and how that plan could help you stay on track… and accountable.
A plan is only required if you can stick to it — and it works. It’s pointless to follow a plan that isn’t delivering results.
If you’re constrained by budget, insufficient product, sketchy manufacturing timelines, or unnecessary internal red tape, then it’s best to be spontaneous with your output.
“The best-laid plans of mice and men often go awry.” — Robert Burns
5. How to Make a Marketing Plan
Marketing plans are essentially documents or spreadsheets with date and activity fields.
There’s nothing more to them.
You can get complicated and I suggest you add in ROI (return on investment) fields, but put simply, it’s, “what activity are you looking to achieve and on what date?”
You could build your own with all of your available marketing channels on it, but some helpful people online have created some very good ones for you.
With these templates, you can grow blog traffic, your email list, or even ecommerce revenue.
My favourites are Sumo’s free templates that you can download and get started with immediately.