According to a recent article in Forbes magazine, there are a number of elements that successful CSI initiatives have in common. These include a clear theory of change, quality and depth of information, concentrated effort and expert partnerships.
Strategy for Success
Maintaining your competitive edge in todays fast-paced, constantly evolving business environment is key for success especially when it comes to branding your business and how you are communicating your services and products to the outside world.
Kate Mederer, principal owner at Restless Brands - specialists in innovative marketing who build, reinvent and recharge brands, says: While its natural for business owners to want instant results that fast-track them ahead of their competition, taking short-cuts can and most likely, will - hamper the effectiveness of their marketing plan.
To truly achieve results, you need to start by fostering great relationships with your staff. If you rush forward with your marketing plans while ignoring your employees, it puts unnecessary strain on them, which in turn influences the quality of work delivered. Making your team part of the journey, instead of letting them feel like they are just along for the ride, will make things so much easier. It is also imperative that you respect your customers, suppliers and shareholders. By failing to do so, it can increase the chances of burning a couple of bridges along the way.
To ensure marketing efficacy she suggests avoiding the following pitfalls:
- The Retro-fitted Approach: The famous putting lipstick on a pig scenario. Do not try and rework a bad strategy. A lot of effort needs to go into the strategic marketing plan for your business and one-size wont fit all. Your approach should not be seen as a counter-attack on your competitors. Rather, it is the blueprint for how you are shaping the experiences you are offering your customers. It is also the direction in which you want to take your team members, so that they feel like theyre working on the side guaranteed to get gold.
- In-house Interference: Although most companies want the input of their stakeholders on their marketing, sometimes it is best left to the professionals. If youve hired an expert team to create, develop and implement a strategic road map, then please trust them and the value they will add. Whats more, your strategy actually depends on your staff to do the work in the roles that they have been hired to do.
- The Quick Fix Website: Your website is your online showroom. Its your silent salesman. Its the first touchpoint of your brand with so many potential customers, clients, future employees and even competitors. Your company website is as important as your physical staff members. Its not ideal to have un-kept employees representing your brand, and similarly you shouldnt have a stale and un-kept online presence. Raise your hand if you have clicked away from a companys page when their tired site opens up in your browser? Web developers can do great things they can also do average things. If you pay peanuts, youll get monkeys.
- Results Right Now: This is an easy trap to fall into. Its that firefighting mentality. Having a solid plan requires time and consistency to develop. Like any relationship, you need to build trust with your consumers and employees be reliable and show up. You cant blanket the airwaves and billboards one year and hope this will translate into years of positive sales growth and brand awareness. Building trust doesnt happen overnight, the same goes for forging solid reputable relationships. Respect your brand and product as well as your clients enough to give them the attention they deserve.
With over 16 years of corporate experience as both a marketer and networker, Kate Mederer has worked with leading international consumer brands across the board.
Visit her Restless Brands website at: www.restlessbrands.co.za
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