Are Your Marketing Expectations Realistic?
Do you have realistic expectations of success with your next marketing campaign? This may be a sensitive topic for some small business owners who have labored extensively over their master marketing strategies. But so be it. It’s perfectly ok to take another look at what you’re doing. Consider everything that you might possibly have overlooked or just plain done wrong as an opportunity to LEARN and USE to help someone else. Learn from the process and learn from the mistakes. And, more importantly, learn how to correct them and do better next time. As Schoolhouse Rock taught us, “It’s great to learn ’cause knowledge is power!” In the business world – and especially the SMALL business world – those words ring ever-so-true.
So here are a couple of important lessons about setting realistic marketing expectations.
Lesson 1: Measure Before and After. There are two things you want to make sure you have in place, ideally BEFORE you begin a campaign, and certainly before you decide if a campaign was a success or a failure: (1) a benchmark and (2) a tracking tool. A benchmark is a standard you can use as a point of reference for evaluating the performance of your campaign – or anything else. You can draw a benchmark from a previous campaign you have executed or from research. But unless you are doing something truly original (for which there may be no benchmark), don’t skip this step. It can be thought of as the first step to setting realistic expectations. The tracking tool you use is your measuring tool – your yardstick. The tracking application could be as simple as measuring the number of times a coupon code is used, or it can be as complex as tracking which content brings in the highest customer value.
Lesson 2: Know Your Market. Repeat: Know your market. You may be expecting to build a community of a hundred thousand widget users, but aren’t realizing you may have to capture a WHOPPING 20% of the market to do so. Not that it’s impossible, but you’ll need a marketing budget larger than the one you have. I say again, know your market. And understand that there are many, many, many marketing “gurus” that will gladly take your money and tell you what you want to hear – that you can capture 20% of your market on a shoestring budget. And when you’ve exhausted your budget with poor results they will then offer you market research services. Make sure research comes first.
Knowledge REALLY IS power. And the goal here is to empower you to balance your business passions with intelligent expectations through thoughtful measurements that start by asking a few important questions: What is really possible? How much would that cost? What is possible for my market? What is possible for my budget? When acquired and applied correctly, knowledge will save you money, time and headaches.