“Where do you see yourself in three years?”
It’s a question I’ve struggled with for months now, but two years ago I had a clear answer. And it wasn’t working in marketing. I was upfront and honest when I was asked the question. And slowly over time, as I continued to learn the ropes and intricacies of marketing communications, my confidence in my three-year plan diminished.
It’s not because I feel like I am wandering aimlessly through my twenties. It’s just because when you’re happy and content, you spend less and less time making calculated future plans. Or maybe that’s just me.
Marketing was always fun for me, but being paid for it was like a dream come true. It came with some unplanned casualties (suddenly my personal interest in social media diminished) but in general, getting to spend time in my workweek doing different things every day – things that didn’t bore me to death – strengthened my happiness and suddenly I had no future plans. I just wanted to continue to grow and improve from my current state of being. And guess what? When you’re doing something you’re passionate about, you tend to do better at it.
Sounds pretty blissful, huh? So what have I learned about marketing, on my two-year anniversary at Celia Vine Marketing, that I can share with you today?
1) No two campaigns are the same. Just because you hit one advertising or marketing campaign out of the park, doesn’t mean the next idea you come up with is going to be as successful. What is most important is taking the results you do get and capitalizing on it. This goes for whether you got 1,000 responses or 10. Also, you can’t always judge the success of something from the get-go. That campaign you launched last year, if followed up with other marketing initiatives down the road, may just be the seed that eventually resulted in a positive yield.
2) Content is king. I had a general awareness of this before, but it never rang truer than when I was engrossed in the marketing world. Without content, what do you have? Not much. And if you sit around and wait for the content to fall in your lap, you’ll be waiting a long time. You have to be a generator – be that sourcing existing relevant content from similar resources or creating your own fresh perspective – you need a good supply of content. Believe me, with enough content in your arsenal, you’ll be able to sustain your marketing efforts for weeks – if not months. You get a lot of bang for that buck of yours as long as content is part of it!
3) Get out there. You can be content locked away in your office or stashed away busy in your work, but the best way to grow your business is by getting it in front of people. Take advantage of memberships to industry-specific organizations, networking events, or conferences. You may not think this, but you are your own greatest resource when it comes to waving your corporate flag. Secure meetings and editorial opportunities ahead of time, and make sure people know what events you’ll be at and where to find you.
4) Diversify. I know it’s not always the best strategy to try to be all things to all people, but when it comes to marketing initiatives, you almost have to be. There are 403 different ways to get in front of a potential customer or client, so only choosing the two that feel safe and familiar to you are going to yield results that reflect just that. Mix and match several modes. Direct mail works great with companions like email marketing, and retargeting ads.
5) Magic is in the Measurement. Keeping accurate, relevant, and up-to-date measurements of your efforts, especially in marketing, is the only way to know how to move forward from here. What worked? How should you adjust it? How effective was it for the cost? If you aren’t keeping tabs on your metrics, you’ll likely just continue tossing things in the air without ever having anything stick.
Of course, I’ve learned a lot more than just these five things, but if I were to pack up my desk tomorrow and set off for the big plans I had a couple years ago, these are the points that would stick with me. And these are the points that you should be assessing for your company. Where do you see you or your business in three years? Is improving your marketing strategy part of that plan?