As Marketers we often wear many hats, and it’s easy to get caught up doing things the way they’ve always been done. But if we’re not willing to keep up-to-date and take advantage of new opportunities in our field, we can miss chances to increase brand awareness and engage with our audiences. One important aspect of the job that can become routine, but shouldn’t, is the development of your marketing roadmap (if you aren’t actively using a marketing roadmap, see our post on how they can drastically increase ROI).
Marketing roadmaps used to consist of a few campaigns per year—brands would release a campaign and then go dark until they released their next big campaign a few months later. While campaigns still form the foundation of the modern marketing roadmap, a good roadmap is filled with ongoing communication that helps you remain top-of-mind with your audience, and continually places you in front of people who are engaged with your brand and/or actively in-market for the product or service you offer.
In other words, the marketing roadmap has evolved and increased in complexity. For example, if you’re in charge of marketing for a retail shoe store, you may run a campaign for athletic shoes at the start of each year—a time when you know that people make wellness-related goals—and again at back-to-school time. But don’t people buy shoes year-round? Does that mean you need to extend your campaigns to run more consistently?
The answer is yes and no.
Running a campaign year-round would create message fatigue, and likely blow your budget, but there are other ways to keep a presence in the market and speak more directly to people who might be shopping for your product or service.
A good roadmap will include more broadly placed campaigns as its foundation (placed strategically based on seasonality, consumer behavior, etc.) and then incorporate additional messaging throughout the year that speaks to a narrower audience.
- Digital Campaigns: A major benefit of digital campaigns is the ability to reach people at different points in the sales cycle. For example, you can gain awareness and pique interest by targeting consumers who are interested in the product or service you offer using display and social media campaigns. When you want to reach consumers actively looking to purchase, search network ads can be a good fit. Using the shoe store example from above, you can reach people interested in running by placing ads on related websites, or even by setting your targeting criteria based on interest or behavior. You could also use search ads to reach shoppers by bidding on keywords related to “new sneakers”, “tennis shoes”, etc.
- Related: Check out my post on Decoding Digital Marketing for some tips for getting started.
- Social Media: Social media ads can play a key role in expanding your reach and growing your audience, and they offer robust targeting opportunities. Additionally, the content you post and share on your social media pages can be a free way to get your message out. It’s important to have a social media strategy and content plan to take full advantage of everything social has to offer, and to make sure that you’re not over-saturating social channels with sales messaging.
- Email / Newsletters: Incorporating email into your marketing roadmap can produce strong results…if it’s done right. Send too many emails, use the wrong subject line, or even send to too broad of a recipient list, and you probably won’t see the results you want. I’ve seen clients exceed sales goals, increase attendance at special events & seminars, and meet fundraising goals for charitable efforts by incorporating email into the communication mix. Like everything else, it’s important to have a strategy in place to make sure you’re engaging with the right audience at the right time, and with the right frequency.
- Related: Check out my post on 7 Ways to Improve Your Email Marketing.
- Educational Content: Producing content can be a great way not only to reach your audience, but to grow your audience and position yourself as a subject matter expert. Offering content via a blog and/or YouTube channel, for example, provides more opportunities for you to appear in search results and enables you to create more of a connection with your audience. Using the shoe store example, blog and video content could be created around how to pick the right shoe for your type of exercise, comparisons of shoe materials (rubber, memory foam, etc.) and how they hold up over time, or even a fun quiz on what your running shoe says about your personality.
- Note: make the most of your educational content by including it in your social media and email strategies. You won’t get the maximum benefit from your content if you don’t promote it or let people know it exists.
- Related: If you find creating content is too time consuming, we offer Custom Content Packages.
As you can see from this list, there are many ways to reach your audience outside of campaigns, but your efforts will produce the best results (and cause the least amount of stress) when they’re part of a larger strategy and outlined on a marketing roadmap. Then all of your other efforts help to support your larger campaigns, while your campaigns can lay the groundwork for your other efforts. It’s a win-win!