1 marketing focus

Marketing focus is a lost art because most entrepreneurs feel the pressure of their business becoming faster and more complex. Consumers too are bombarded with advertising messages day and night, from their breakfast cereal boxes to shopfront window displays.

In my previous role as an Advertising Executive, I found business owners wanted to promote their business. Very few would take the time to understand and be clear about the message they wanted to promote. Instead, they would mark every post with their business name or logo, like poorly behaved dogs.

Improve your marketing focus

Marketing is about cutting through the clutter and grabbing your target audience’s attention, sure. But increased marketing focus means you need to get crystal clear about your message. You don’t want your audience to be confused about your values, unique selling proposition or what’s in it for them. Instead of worrying about where people see your brand, give some thought to how you position your brand in people’s minds. Your potential clients are unlikely to devote time and energy to a complex brand message, so make it easy for them.

Reach your target audience

When I ask marketers who their target market is, they can usually rattle off a well rehearsed answer. Following that conversation, they spread their money and time scarcely on every advertising medium there is. In other words, they don’t end up with a targeted advertising campaign at all.

Skip the vanity metrics

Not surprisingly, their message is lost amongst the clutter. On social media, for example, that may result in lots of “engagement” and plenty of vanity metrics but few (if any) sales. Attention by the wrong people, for the wrong reasons is at best a waste of time, money and resources. At best your mates will give you some likes to cheer you on. At worst can hurt your brand.

Pareto’s principle applies to marketing

Marketing doesn’t need to be like that. “Less is more” is a great mantra to keep in mind as you improve your marketing focus. As with most things in business, the 80/20 rule applies to advertising and promotion. Here are a few examples of when a more concentrated marketing focus can have a greater impact:

  • Less mediums -measure the results from all of your advertising campaigns. Take your money from poor performing mediums and focus on the top one or two. Focus on reaching your target audience, instead of trying to reach everyone.
  • Less times– $10 is a cheap advertising spot on radio, unless no one is listening. When you buy advertising, don’t count the number of spots. Marketing focus is about selecting the right timing and programming.
  • Less platforms -most of my local businesses use social media. Few actually know why. Likes and shares are nice but you need to work out which services are converting paying clients. You are better to understand and use a single social media service well than use 10 poorly.
  • Less competitors -conventional wisdom is “when business is booming it’s time to advertise”. That’s not when I would invest all of my advertising budget. If you want your message to stand out, you need to start advertising when your competitors are not. It’s easier to stand out when there are fewer competitive messages.
  • Less complexity-make your message simple and keep repeating it. A simple message repeated will be more effective than a complex message, which you can’t afford to repeat often. Remember, your audience has a very limited attention span. Keep it simple, repeat it often.
  • Less posts -well written, original blog posts and content will take you time to craft. You need to add relevant search terms and write well. It can take days to be picked up by search engines and to be shared, and discussed on social media. If you blog every day, your message might become confusing or diluted. Focus on quality, not quantity.
  • Less risk -so many businesses invest money into their next big idea and then try to sell it on a large scale. So many opportunities are available now to launch your idea on a small scale or a test basis. If you test an idea, you might decide it needs to be tweaked or maybe even stopped before it costs too much. This applies to your marketing message too. Find which message appeals to your audience first before you throw all your chips in on a massive advertising campaign.

Still not sure? Steve Jobs was considering by many to be a marketing genius. Listen to him talk about the importance of Apple being clear in their marketing message.

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Steve Jobs marketing talk

Great marketing focus is about effectiveness, not efficiency. You don’t need to be everywhere and do everything at once. Your time, energy and resources are limited. So too your clients have a limited capacity to think about your brand because they already have so much going on. Be crystal clear about what you’re trying to say and get the right message, to the right audience, at the right time, in the right place.

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