June 6, 2019
Marketing as a Science
Marketing your product or service isn’t rocket science, but there is definitely some science behind creating a successful strategy. Just like a lab study, we can create tests and controls to help us reveal what your target demographic wants, what works to reach them, and most importantly – reveal what doesn’t work. Like any well organized study, we take into consideration multiple factors and carefully test multiple hypothesis.
1. The background research: Before you can begin testing the feasibility of any marketing plan, you first need to be aware of the parameters of your subject – aka your product or service. How do you define what it is that you are selling? This might seem like a simple question to answer, but think about trying to explain it in two sentences or less. Distil the overall feel of your brand down into a personality. What sorts of emotions do you hope to receive from individuals who engage with your product or service? Furthermore, what is the overall philosophy of your brand? How does it help people, what sort of value do they get from it: why does it actually exist? Once you have honed in on these key defining factors regarding what it is you have to sell – you can begin the next steps to creating a marketing strategy.
2. The problem: What is it you are hoping to gain from your marketing strategy? ‘Increase sales’ is a very broad answer to this question, but if you start wide with a question like this you can eventually narrow in on exactly what sort of results you are hoping to find. For instance, if your goal is to increase sales, think about just how exactly those sales will come to you and at what frequency. Perhaps it is something along the lines of sales that are driven directly through online product advertising and you are hoping to see a rise by %15 using a given campaign for a particular product. Or, maybe your goal is in brand recognition. Consider how you can measure this and the impact it will have on your business. Perhaps you instigate an email sign up program and aim for 1000 sign ups in one month, or a social media campaign seeking a return of a certain number of impressions. These are just vague examples, and every brand is going to aim for something different. The point is to think specifically about what it is you are hoping to achieve, so you can work on a path for getting there.
3. The hypothesis: This part takes a quality amount of research. Because you have identified the main focus of your strategy, you need now to consider the best audience in which to deliver it to. If you have a formal business plan, this is something you have already considered to a large extent. What is the target demographic for your product or service? On the surface, we are talking about the age range, gender, geographic location – etc. But here we get to be a little more detailed again. Create a few mock profiles of individuals who would be interested in your service or product. Be detailed about what type of person they are – do they have kids? Where do they live? What is their income? What do they do in their spare time? Fully flush out the concept of these individuals to give you a rounded picture of what your target market looks like. Research this market to see what more you can learn about them and more importantly how to reach them. This is where you will reveal your hypothesis – a proposed explanation of your marketing strategy based on your limited assumptions regarding your target demographic.
4. Procedure: Now that you have culminated a developed amount of research, it is possible for you to flush out just how you will execute your marketing strategy. A good place is to start by studying what your competition is doing. See, where possible, what is working for them and what is not. It is certain that you do not want to copy what they are doing, but you want to learn what the industry is up to and how it is you can fit in. This is where things become interesting. Carving out your own identity in a market can be a challenge. Don’t be afraid to try something for a bit and adapt it. You might not get it right the first time.
5. Results: Measure the results of your strategy critically and ask yourself honest questions about what went wrong and what went right. Always gauge how true you remained to your brand, and how in line you were with your overall mission. It is important to check in as often as possible, and reset as much as required. Try to avoid making multiple changes at once, however. Make one change, and then check back, so that you can identify exactly which factors make the biggest difference. Your ability to critically analyze your results and adapt based on your research will make or break your marketing campaign!