I recently took an enquiry from a business owner who wanted help with a direct mail marketing campaign. I loved their concept and got excited when discussing what this might look like and how it would work – because direct mail marketing can be successful if done really well. But soon realised it was a ‘shot in the dark’!

Shot in the dark marketing

The business owner had no website, no social media channels and no business support in their local area. They were expecting this one ‘shot in the dark’ campaign to catapult success for a new area of their business, a very cold ‘shot in the dark’ in my opinion. Now it turned out they were at the very beginning of their business journey. While I would have loved the opportunity to work with them to develop a marketing strategy it was sadly not feasible on this occasion.

Marketing is a recipe, a bit like making a cake and made up of different ingredients and quantities. To bake with confidence, you need to understand who you are baking for, why and have the ingredients in the cupboard. Now I know nothing about baking but if I got up one day with the urge to create a Victoria Sponge I know that with just flour in the cupboard and an egg rattling around in the fridge that I am going to be unsuccessful in my attempt.

Recipe for marketing success

1. You must plan your marketing. While you don’t need a ten-page strategy document you do need to clearly define what you are going to do, when and how.

2. You must write your plan with your audience, customer or client in mind. If you don’t know who you are marketing to attract how will you know where to spend your resource?

3. Since it is highly unlikely that your audience is in one place spread your activity. Choose where to market yourself because your audience will be listening in those places and not for any other reason.

4. Be clear on what you are marketing and what you hope to achieve through your endeavours e.g. brand awareness, selling services or products; even a combination.

5. Include SMART objectives as these are much easier to monitor, will help you stay focused on marketing effort and spend your time in those areas that are working for you.

6. And most importantly ... make sure you have first walked in the footsteps of your customer and know them inside and out!

cake selection

A plan is essential to marketing success, whether you choose print advertising, social media, blogging, email marketing, direct marketing, networking, trade shows, telemarketing - the list is endless.

You must be consistent, in brand, message and activity ... and always have your audience in mind when writing copy.

Remember a successful recipe and bake requires the right ingredients, in the right measures and you wouldn't make a banana cake if your visitors hates bananas!!

Finally, before I rush off to see what I have in the cupboards don’t feel obliged to do it all, you don’t have to do everything you just need to use the right marketing methods for your business and to reach your audience.