Applying a little strategic thinking to your marketing campaign can be challenging. It can be tempting to jump straight to tactics when you think you have a great idea or really believe in your product or service. However, the old saying still rings true that “those who fail to plan, plan to fail”
I spent time today with the brilliant, dynamic and innovative group that are the Guildford South Women in Business Network. We discussed a number of topics including getting to know each other’s businesses a little better and identifying areas where we could support each other further going forward.

One of the areas that I was delighted to share with the group in my capacity as a Strategic Marketer was how to build a Strategic marketing campaign by using RAPPORT.

RAPPORT is the word that I use to help me explain or describe exactly what strategic marketing is to my clients and then work out how I can help them achieve their business goals through a well written, well executed strategic plan and campaign.

It goes like this:

R – RECOGNISE your audience or market. If you have an existing customer base take a closer look and identify which customers you want more of. If you are a new business take time working out the type of customer you want to attract – you will need to have a clear picture of that customer in your mind before you go any further or you will struggle to communicate with them in a meaningful way.

A- APPRECIATE your audience or market. What are their hobbies? Where do they go shopping? What do they get passionate about / angry about? Where do they live? How do they spend their leisure time? What do they do for a living? What newspaper / magazines do they read? Immerse yourself into the world of your customer to give you deeper insight into what would drive them to choose your product or service.

P – PICK OUT the “communication medium/channel” that your customer turns to most often. By “medium/channel” I mean TV, or the Internet, or local newspapers, or social media etc. Choose the medium that your customer prefers. So if your target customers are young adults then social media might be worth investigating, whereas an older, retired customer group may be easier to reach through local newspapers.

P- PROMOTE your business through a clear, concise easy to understand message. Having worked out who your customer is, what will drive them to choose your business, and how they prefer to be communicated with, it’s up to you to put this information to your advantage through your simple, targeted, message. Generally one or two messages are enough. Don’t overload your customer with too many messages about your business, product or service as this causes confusion and will make them doubt your offering. In simple terms if you are a florist; tell them about your flowers, if you are an IT consultant; explain the benefits of why choosing you would be of value to them. If you’re not sure about your message find some customers and test it out on them first.

O – OFFER your customers a consistent messaging campaign. Having chosen your message, and identified which communication media or channels you are going to use its important to aim to be consistent and concise at all times. Changing the message every time you advertise or put out a flyer, build a website, host a meeting will just mean that the customers won’t understand what you are offering them and will go elsewhere.

R – RESULTS are key to building your successful strategy. If it becomes clear that your message isn’t working out or the channels you have chosen are not reaching the target customer then it’s time to make adjustments. It’s important in the strategic plan to identify exactly how you are going to measure your results – financial results? number of retained clients? new clients? new referrals? units sold? profit? message retention? It’s also important to identify at which time points you will review your results. It may be worth investing at some point in some market research to see how your business, product or service is being received by your customers.

T – THINK AHEAD to where you want to be in the future. 6 months? 1 year? 3 years? It’s up to you but planning ahead it critical to the success of your plan and the business. How big do you want your business to be in the future? Is this realistic? Be brutal with yourself – if you do not give yourself realistic, achievable goals then the way ahead may be challenging. Where will your customers be coming from in the future? Will their needs be different? What Political, Environmental, Social and Technical (PEST) changes might have occurred in their worlds that means that could behave differently and so make different purchasing choices? Will your messages be the same in the future? Will your offering be different? It really pays to get out your crystal ball at this stage and start making some robust assumptions into your plan about the future of your business, It gives direction and structure and also provides confidence from potential partners, investors or the bank that you have done your research and you have solid idea of where you are going to be in the future.

So there we have it: RAPPORT – a tool to help enable a successful Strategic Marketing Campaign. Of course when you look up RAPPORT in the dictionary it doesn’t give you this definition. It says that Rapport means Harmony and Agreement. And of course that’s exactly what a great Strategic Marketing Campaign will give you; harmony with your business and yourself, and agreement between you and your customers that what you are offering is exactly what they are asking for.

Need some support with your Strategic Marketing Campaign? Just get in touch…!!

Anne-Marie Swift
Swift-Solve Consulting