There are NO silver bullets

Yachna Singh

Yachna Singh

With over eight years of experience in the Digital Marketing industry, Yachna has worked as a Copywriter, Strategist, Project Manager and Head of Digital over the years. She has worked with various brands in the financial, travel, automotive, retail and telecommunications industries in South Africa and Canada.

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 Is your brand planning and executing a cohesive marketing strategy in 2020? With the rise of monetization in digital platforms, most brands want to make the most of every platform out there. Time is money. Money is power. Power is a Marvel superhero…and on we go.

But creating a brand presence doesn’t equal revenue. There’s more to it than that. 

How the rise of digital technology has affected marketing

Digital technology has evolved marketing into something none of us knew since its inception – and you can trust that we’re still figuring it out. Most marketers learned about “this Facebook thing” or to “just get a Google AdWords certification so we can make money” about fifteen years ago. Learning how to build websites wasn’t enough. They had to learn how to speak as a brand with transparency for the first time. 

Building out a billboard meant having a quirky one-liner on the side of the highway. It was all good and well a few decades ago. Consumers thought brands were funny, witty, or even a little snarky, just by reading that one line as they drove by. 

If they made a sarcastic comment related to that billboard, their feedback might have been published in a newspaper article or heard over a radio call. Traditional marketing teams had at least a few hours to respond. 

Today, brands talk to consumers over tweets, Facebook comments, live streams, and Instagram stories every day. The riskiest bit? Everything is live. Teams can’t brainstorm responses, and if reactions are adverse – consumers will be all over it. You can bet your bottom dollar that you’ll want to haul in the SWAT team to control the situation. 

So how do you avoid the negative candor?

Create a company profile on every social channel out there. Put pretty pictures on your website banner. And wait. 

Or not. 

You may have heard people asking their advertising agencies, “What is the one thing we can do to make my brand’s marketing successful?” They always expect one magical silver bullet. 

The Legend of the Silver Bullet

According to the BA Times, the legend of the silver bullet tells us that this slender object was the only weapon that could kill a werewolf. This old folktale created the idea that a “silver bullet” would be the only successful answer to a specific problem. It is a theory that is used globally across different scenarios, even today. 

But the truth is, there is no silver bullet to having a holistic, successful marketing strategy. There are solutions out there that may work for one company and not another. Businesses have different products or services, and therefore, varied target markets, user behavior, and conversion styles. There are some myths out there that are seen as “marketing best practices” to some. These are misconceptions, and our advice to you is to disengage with them actively. 

Marketing Misconceptions

“One marketing graduate should do the trick.”

There are so many small to medium businesses who believe that one young marketing graduate will make all their dreams come true. But marketing has many elements and can be much more complicated than a simple act of opening a Facebook company profile. 

“Marketing is not anyone’s job… It’s everyone’s job!” ~ Jack Welch (American business executive, chemical engineer, and writer.)

“Let’s get some social profiles started; I’m sure we will see some results by next week.”

The most important thing to remember is that marketing takes time to show a return on your investment. If you could compare it to an activity – marketing is more like hiking up a mountain rather than running a sprint. 

“If I have a great website, I will get conversions.”

Your website is undoubtedly a “hub” where users can gain the most understanding of your brand, it’s personality, and its story. And, of course, this is one of the platforms where you will be watching for traffic volumes and conversion rates. But, it is not the only element that will get you leads. Marketing is a sophisticated space where brands should use an integrated marketing strategy to enhance their brand’s presence and become top of mind. 

As you can see, there are no “quick wins” in marketing. Just like how actors work for years before winning an Oscar, you should create a marketing strategy and carefully implement and analyze your campaigns before getting those golden sales. 

How to create an effective marketing strategy 

Okay, so werewolves aside. How can you, as a business, actually create a marketing plan that counts? 

Analyze your market and competitors 

You may have an idea of who your target market is. With digital tools like Google Analytics and Facebook user profiling, you can efficiently serve ads to your target market and expect results. But there are other factors to consider. Let’s take it back to Marketing 101 – a SWOT analysis. We all never understood the need to write our strengths and weaknesses down until we saw it in practice. 

There are external factors that affect your business. These opportunities or threats can either be helpful or harmful to your marketing strategy. Set up a brainstorming session with colleagues to help fill in a SWOT analysis matrix to analyze internal and external factors that may affect your way forward. 

Start creating buyer personas

Marketing is directly related to your target audience. If you struggle to define your audience in a straightforward sentence, chances are you need to create buyer personas. We call this “Your Best Customer.”

Hubspot has created a few essential steps to creating a synergized marketing strategy. One of their most important steps is to create buyer personas of your best customers. This example of your ideal customer allows your team to personify an audience. Give him or her a name, age, place to live, occupation, family, lifestyle, and more. Hubspot’s example of Budgeting Belinda is a possible example of a buyer persona for Macy’s. Try out their persona template too!

Identify your goals and objectives 

Goals and objectives are often at the top of a PowerPoint deck, written across a few bullet points, and generally ignored once the presentation is over. Goals should be much more than that. You should be able to create marketing goals and objectives that are linked directly to your business goals. Remember to set SMART goals – Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-based. Here’s a secret sauce for how to set SMARTer goals. 

Create a series of marketing tactics to create your strategy

As you may have read in a previous Phlywheel post, a marketing strategy is “the combination of strategically linked tactics you deploy to meet the goals you’ve put in place to reach a specific outcome.” You need to use tactics in a strategic time and manner to engage with your audience. 

According to Smart Insights, developing an integrated marketing strategy involves plotting customer touchpoints along with every marketing medium you are on. Mediums range from television to radio, events, social media, influencer outreach, and more. When you contact customers at these specific points, they gain interest and react to your brand. Their enthusiasm can peak if their first-purchase experience was positive. The end goal is for your customer to advocate your brand for you. 

Source: Smart Insights. What is integrated marketing? 

According to a Smart Insights – Online Business Revenue Models study, Amazon’s marketing consists of a range of online marketing tactics, with a possibility of traditional tactics like outdoor and television advertising. In 2011, Amazon stated that they “direct customers to [their] websites primarily through a number of targeted online marketing channels, such as [their] Associates program, sponsored search, portal advertising, email marketing campaigns, and other initiatives.”

Interestingly enough, Amazon also sees its products as a marketing tool. They state: “while costs associated with free shipping are not included in marketing expense, we view free shipping offers and Amazon Prime as effective worldwide marketing tools, and intend to continue offering them indefinitely.”

Be consumer-centric 

In 2020, one of your main concerns should be that your company is consumer-centric. Your brand must be adding value to a consumer among all the buzz and reams of content out there. You need to stand out and, more importantly – make your consumers feel appreciated. Apple lives by this theory and has studied consumer behavior in great detail. released the “10 Things You Need to Learn from Apple’s Marketing”. Apple is such a successful company, not because they were the first company to create a personal computer or smartphone, but because they study consumer behavior and create content that reacts to that behavior. They gain insights from consumer behaviors and draw conclusions that inform their next marketing strategy or campaign. When teams execute strategies carefully and correctly, it drives purchases and advocacy.

The Bottom Line

There is no silver bullet for marketing. But you should be looking to maximize your chances of creating a harmonious marketing strategy. Include a range of smaller tactics that are plotted and executed across the consumer journey. Remember to test tactics and adjust accordingly. Marketing is a fluid element that should be taken care of day-by-day. The more you adhere to best practices, the more likely you’ll succeed. 

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