When most people think of marketing the tasks that come to mind typically are either creative or tactical promotion. But marketing is actually a three-part activity.
1. Create ... Advertisements, press releases, events, websites, etc.
2. Push ... Place the ad, push out the press release, attend the event, launch website, etc.
3. Follow-up ... Track the ad, promote the release, activities post-event, drive traffic to the website, etc.
Marketing is about more than good ad placement or building a website, or having a pretty booth at tradeshows. The grand finale of marketing is follow-up.
For many, follow-up is less "in the moment" and less sexy part than the other two parts of marketing, and so they give it less attention and effort. They’re making a critical error. Follow-up is critical to successful marketing. It’s when the “know-like-trust” factor is finalized. The magic of marketing transpires in the follow-up.
Kicking off any planning effort with the desired results in mind puts the follow-up at the forefront of the process. This is especially true for marketing projects and campaigns. Build with the end in mind. Consider what you want to achieve with your marketing activities and marketing collateral; then, plan for the desired outcomes.
Example: If you are planning a new brochure, creating and publishing the brochure is not the end of the process. How will you get that brochure into the hands of prospective customers? Would you have the final, printed product available at a tradeshow? Create a mail campaign to deliver it? Target a new sales demographic in person or via a webinar give-away? Email customers a digital version? All these are launch follow-up options to get your new collateral in the hands of potential customers.
A broader question to think about is what you want any new marketing collateral to communicate to prospects and customers. Improved support? Solutions to their problems? The answer to this will influence both your approach and your follow-up.
Example: If you are planning to build a new website, what do you want to happen after the website is live? Is the new site built to improve the brand’s image? Do you want to increase your website traffic? (By what percentage? What gets measured gets done.) Do you want to improve website leads? What actions will you take to ensure site traffic and conversion: Search-friendly site build? Digital ads? Increased social media activity? Email campaign? Each of these is a valid way to get your new site in front of potential customers.
Without a follow-up plan, it’s also difficult to measure the success of your marketing activities. While you can always improve your marketing, if you don’t have a benchmark for how the original plan performed – a consequence of follow-up – then measuring future success becomes more difficult.
Fix the weakest link in your current marketing program. Good follow-up starts with a plan. Like building any effective project plan, it helps to start with the end in mind. Think about your current marketing follow-up. Follow-up is always more effective when planned. How can you plan to make your marketing follow-up stronger?
Alexandria Trusov is the Director of Marketing at Euthenia Manufacturing Group and a B2B marketing consultant to manufacturers and other B2B companies. Contact her at [email protected] or visit www.truinsightsconsulting.com.