Continuous Marketing Improvement: The New Key to Growth
Marketing isn’t a one time activity, it needs to be a constant in your brand to succeed. It’s not a set and forget type of job, you need to constantly renew your marketing to stay relevant.
Marketing, despite common thinking, isn’t just a promotional tool. It’s essentially the bridge between your organisation and your customers. It’s your vehicle to reach the audience you’ve chosen to serve and deliver the value you have promised.
Standing still in marketing isn’t possible in today’s world. To succeed you need to adopt continuous marketing improvement. The term continuous improvement can be traced back to the Japanese term “kaizen” which means change for the better.
Kaizen first came about in Japan after the Second World War. In manufacturing the continuous improvement concept helped Toyota to become the largest car manufacturer on the planet.
So, what has Toyota’s success got to do with marketing? Continuous improvement can be applied to marketing too. The idea that every process in an organisation can be improved to generate more value for a customer whilst reducing waste is a concept that should be adopted by marketing departments in all organisations.
Marketing teams should be on a mission to constantly develop and improve themselves, striving for the perfection of processes to better serve the customer. For example, combining user behavioural data with your customer email marketing database could improve the marketing messages you serve your prospects, in turn improving campaign response rates and reducing resource wastage in the form of less email unsubscribers.
Continuous marketing improvement is needed in fast-developing markets and gives forward-thinking companies an edge over their competitors.
Marketing Improvement is Good for Everyone
Improving marketing isn’t just great for your organisation, it’s great for your audience too. It enables you to better serve their needs by continuously improving on every aspect of marketing from product to promotion.
You become better at meeting and anticipating your audience’s needs: Using lean principles by testing your messaging and content you better understand the needs of your audience, putting you in a stronger position to meet and exceed them.
You build more meaningful relationships with your audience: By focusing on marketing that adds value by constantly evolving to be better connected to your audience, you’re able to build deeper connections based on trust and mutual respect.
Reduce marketing spend wastage: Marketing budgets are valuable. Every penny spent should be to better serve your audience, by wasting marketing spending on tactics that don’t work you’re wasting valuable money that could be spent improving your customer experience.
The Continuous Marketing Improvement Loop
Marketing teams should be using continuous marketing improvement but how would you implement it in your organisation? By using the Continuous Marketing Improvement Loop to develop a consistent process of marketing improvement.
Research, Strategic Planning, Tactical Implementation, Feedback, Improve
Research: Before you start any marketing campaign you should always understand your audience, your competitors, your product’s strengths and weaknesses and your value proposition. In a continuous marketing improvement loop, the research stage helps deliver new insights into your market at the start of each campaign.
Strategic planning: If you’ve read any of this book you’ll know how important strategy is, without strategy your tactics will fall flat. A clearly defined strategy is essential to the success of your marketing campaigns. At the strategic planning stage, you should be asking questions:
- What are the reasons we want to launch this campaign and what do we want to achieve?
- Who are we targeting?
- What pains or motivations do our audience have?
- How will this campaign help them solve their problems?
- What are the core themes and messages in this campaign?
Using the answers to these questions you can start to build a campaign around your audience, offering value and producing a campaign that helps them address their problems. Marketing campaigns focused on helping potential customers are more effective than those pushing for a sale.
Tactical implementation: Using the information you collected in the research and strategic planning phases of the improvement loop it’s time to implement your learnings. The best campaign results are achieved when you test tactics. You can use previous campaign metrics to measure how effective tactics have been in the past but without trying them it’s hard to know how effective they will be.
Different messages are best delivered using different tactics. For example, content marketing campaigns could use a mix of written and video content across your website and social media profiles.
Testing which tactics have the best response rate is important. Before perfecting each tactic, use the minimum viable product (MVP) and tweak accordingly to minimise wasted time and resources on unsuccessful ideas.
Feedback & iterate: Usually feedback is left until the end of a marketing campaign, but it’s essential to build regular feedback intervals into your marketing initiatives to measure the effectiveness of your strategy and tactics as you go along.
Website and social media data are great at the feedback stage. Information on bounce rates, social shares and comments are all vital to help you assess how well your campaign is doing. Measure the performance of each tactic to decide which should be improved, dropped or pushed harder. By doing more of what works and less of what doesn’t you’re utilising the lean principles that work for other successful brands.
Improve: At the end of your campaign you should collate all of the information you’ve gathered from it into a format that’s easy to measure. Translate the information you have on effective messaging, tactics and strategy into improvement points.
- Which channels worked well?
- Where did messaging fall flat?
- What content resonated with our audience?
- What would we change with our personas, messaging and channels to better serve our audience in our next campaign?
Using an improvement loop approach to your marketing allows you to keep up with the evolving needs of your audience. Technology changes rapidly and social and search algorithms can change within the duration of a campaign – using constant feedback and iteration helps you to stay on top of those changes to deliver value to your audience and meet the objectives you set.