[Mannes on Marketing] It’s Time to Spring Forward with Your Marketing Initiatives

Columns - Mannes on Marketing

As we are all getting ready to put our best foot forward out in the marketplace, I’ve developed a “Spring Cleaning Checklist for Your Marketing Efforts.”

March 27, 2012

Finally! The winter is over, we’re hopeful for our new sales season and putting the final touches on any of our advertising and marketing plans.

As we are all getting ready to put our best foot forward out in the marketplace, I’ve developed a “Spring Cleaning Checklist for Your Marketing Efforts.” I’m a fan of checklists as there are always so many moving parts when you dive into your busiest season — it can be daunting to keep track of all those plates spinning.

Since many of you are owners wearing a lot of different hats such as marketing, sales, accounting and HR, it’s possible to lose focus on a very key part of your business — your marketing plan. Checklists work! So let’s get started.

Marketing Plan Checklist. Make a note to follow up on each of these items in the next six weeks:

Vehicles — You may be curious why I put vehicles in your marketing plan. These are your MOBILE BILLBOARDS. Ensure all your trucks and other vehicles are sparkling clean, logos are clear and no repairs are needed. The clean, professional look of your fleet, even if it is just one truck, sends a message to customers and potential customers alike that you take pride in your business and that approach will be reflected in your service.

Uniforms — Your service folks are the face of your company. Clean uniforms, booties/shoe covers and well-marked ID badges are all ways that you are “marketing” your company to your customers. Assess where you are with all of these items.

Customer-Facing Materials — Review all of your collateral materials, including sales brochures, inserts, coupons, contracts, agreements, lawn signs and anything else you use to communicate with current or potential customers. Ensure that all of these materials are up-to-date; convey a consistent message and that all dates are current. Any literature that is expired or not in good condition should be tossed. These materials too reflect your pride and professionalism.

Website — Ensure that everything is up to date. Have you moved locations or changed phone numbers? Have you changed your website to reflect any new services or special offers? Have you taken down your winter messages and replaced with current messages? When consumers are asked about visiting company websites, they now note the LAST time something was changed or posted and that reflects on the company. If the last time you posted something on your site was in 2011, some folks may think you are no longer in business. Keep it current.

Community Events — Ensure that you are involved in local events that position you well in the community. Now may be the time to purchase those t-shirts for the local youth team. Just get it done and off your list instead of waiting. Make sure that you and your employees are also actively engaged with the local events. Have a strategy for how you will gather and follow up on leads.

Radio Advertising — Select your stations based on demographics and make sure that your advertising message is consistent with the message your sales force is using and any other messaging you have out in the marketplace. Once your schedule is in place, select appropriate talent and develop a mechanism to measure success.

TV Advertising — Ditto to radio advertising. Make sure your messaging reflects who you are as a company.

Billboard Advertising — This may or may not be something that will work for you but it should be on your checklist to explore.

Direct Mail — Based on the seasonality of your business and its location, determine the best way to reach your customers and potential customers. Have your direct mail ready to go when the season hits.

Public Relations — Make sure you have updated your contacts with the local media. Reach out to them and see what stories they may be interested in.

Yellow Pages — Make sure you are maximizing your presence and have all your geographic areas covered. Talk to your rep on how you can get the most from your dollars.

Social Media — If you are playing in the social media space (for most that means Facebook) be sure to update and post regularly. You also should check regularly to be sure your reputation is intact online.

As you are looking over your marketing checklist, keep in mind that an integrated approach will drive your message better than any one tactic. It’s an interesting media environment out there — attempting to reach new customers who get their information from so many sources — 24 hour cable TV, radio, the Internet, Facebook, other social media sites and more. So, arm yourself with a checklist and focus on what matters the most to you and you will be successful! Welcome Spring! Let’s go sell somethin’!


The author is chief marketing and strategy officer for Arrow Exterminators, Atlanta, and can be contacted at cmannes@giemedia.com.