5 Tips to Effective Marketing

Marketing is a science and, if done correctly, gives companies the right mix to meet their goals. The difference between good and bad -- successful and failed -- marketing programs isn’t the dollars invested; it’s the time spent to ensure it’s done right. Here are five tips that can help you manage marketing risk and be more successful.

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[caption id="attachment_11335" align="alignright" width="110"]Jennifer Anaya, vice president of marketing, North America, Ingram Micro Jennifer Anaya, vice president of marketing, North America, Ingram Micro[/caption]

By Jennifer Anaya

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To some, marketing isn’t a science, but a black art. To business managers and CFOs, marketing is performed by magicians in the dead of night. It consumes dollars like the hills consume the setting sun. And while the costs seem apparent, the justification and results may be at times difficult to quantify.

If you’re a marketer who’s looking to positively impact your company and help them meet and exceed goal, here are five tips to keep in mind when planning and executing marketing programs:

1. Take Chances
Not every marketing product, service or idea is effective. Some outright fail – and in spectacular fashion. Yet, every marketer needs to learn how to take calculated risks and find ways to do business differently. Much like technology innovators and grand inventors, many of the market’s best marketing minds failed time and time again before striking gold on a particular campaign, slogan or go-to-market strategy. What made them great was they learned from their failures, regrouped and tried again.  Don’t be afraid to get out of your comfort zone and try something new. If you’re scared to pull the trigger, field test the idea with a small group or run it by a few select customers that you trust.

2. Copy and Invent
Maybe you’ve heard the saying, “A good artist creates; a great artist steals.” There’s nothing wrong with borrowing a successful marketing idea from another company (or competitor) and making it your own. Just be smart about it and ensure it’s a fit and not just a way to check the box and save time. Everyone does webcasts. Everyone exhibits at trade shows. Everyone advertises on Web sites. And everyone gives away iPads for lead registrations. Look around and take notes. What are other companies in other industries doing to get the attention of new customers and earn the business? What’s working and what’s not.  The origins of a good marketing idea don’t matter as long as it produces the results you’re looking for.

3. Legacy and Innovation
Marketing is about balance. New marketing approaches, such as social media and community interaction, work well – as do others that have been around for decades. When it comes to marketing risk management, it’s a good idea to mix proven legacy marketing techniques with new marketing ideas and programs. The risk of adopting new is offset by the proven viability of tried-and-true marketing techniques.

4. No Half Measures
The worst mistake a marketer can make is not committing to a program. One-off marketing is never a good idea. These limited programs often fail to produce the desired results and, worse, can reinforce poor perceptions of marketing’s value to an organization. If you’re going to invest in marketing, make a commitment. That doesn’t mean spending a ton of money; it means making logical choices on investing in full programs designed to produce lasting results in brand awareness and lead generation. A good rule of thumb though on the ante for marketing is 20 percent  of your go get. If you’re going after $1 million in revenue, a healthy spend for marketing is approximately $200,000.

5. Wash, Rinse, Repeat
Sounds simple, but it is true: If something works, keep doing it. Really, don’t stop. Some marketers get distracted by “the new things.” They’re always challenging their teams, agencies and partners to come up with “something different” and “innovative.”  Again, find ways to do business differently, but don’t walk away from strategies, campaigns and tactics that are serving you well.

The common denominator of any good marketing program is that the concept was on target, translated easily into an actionable plan, and then was executed with vigor and consistency. A well-conceived and productive marketing program starts with logic and reason and ends with execution. These five principles are good guidelines through the marketing process, from start to finish.

* * *

Jennifer Anaya is as VP of marketing for Ingram Micro North America. She’s responsible for directing the activities of Ingram Micro’s marketing organizations across the U.S. and Canada. With nearly two decades of marketing experience -- eleven of which have been spent working with and for Ingram Micro -- Jennifer is regarded as one of the “Most Powerful Women in the IT Channel” by CRN Magazine.

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