I am underwhelmed by the amount of tips provided by “new media” consultants about how to sustain an ongoing marketing program. The emphasis of such programs often centers around the latest “hot” tool or service, like Facebook, Twitter, and the like. While these are valuable tools, using a tool is no substitute for a solid marketing program. Here are key do’s and don’t dos. More details will follow in future posts.
Do: Generate meaningful news every two weeks or so.
Don’t: crank out uninteresting announcements on a daily basis under the guise of having to stay in people’s consciousness. This just annoys people and they will ignore you. Then they will miss the big announcements. If you do have something small to say, post it on your web site. Want to announcement an office move? Nobody will cover this. Write a release and post it on your own site.
Do: Develop a ½ year plan and stick with it. The plan should start with the themes you want to address and then work its way down to specific actions and goals. You should revise the plan at the end of a quarter in order to verify you are on the right track, and tweak the messages.
Don’t: come in on Monday and think about what marketing activities you are going to do for the week. One of the biggest marketing mistakes startups make is to zig-zag about their offering, target market, and messaging. Updating this too often just confuses your potential customers and market influencers. The alternative, making the message too generic, means nobody understands “gets it.”
Do: Make sure the plan addresses the multiple facets of marketing – including PR, analyst briefings, lead generation, face-to-face activities (events, conferences, networking events), collateral, web site activity, blogging / responding to articles, and customer interactions. Work diligently to make sure the messages across all channels are coherent and consistent. By reviewing your plan before you get started, you can ensure that there are no ‘unconnected’ activities in the plan.
Do: Be receptive to feedback. Innovative companies often start out with grandiose company descriptions, like ‘revitalizing IT using next generation technology.’ Customers won’t understand this. Don’t get insulted. It will likely take several rounds in order to get this simple enough for folks to ‘get it.’