Rocket & Fox Marketing Masterclass!
We recently interviewed Kate Jones, founder of Rocket & Fox Marketing about her new business (read her interview here: http://bit.ly/RocketFox). Kate has over 20 years of marketing experience and during our conversations we quickly realised that her advice about growing your brand and winning new customers would make a great article in it's own right. Kate kindly agreed to do it, because she's lovely (thanks Kate!), so we gathered the brain trust and constructed some of the trickiest questions we could think up. Kate hit them head on and without breaking a sweat. Read on for an amazing marketing masterclass from the founder of Rocket & Fox Marketing.
Marketing and marketing plan are terms that might seem alien to some small businesses. Can you tell us exactly what marketing is, and how it can help entrepreneurs grow their businesses?
Marketing can be baffling and covers a LOT of areas! It can be hard to know where to start and what you should be doing. It’s worth noting that marketing isn’t “fluffy” or a nice to have. It’s essential for growing your business. You don’t need to spend masses on it, but you do need to have a marketing plan
Marketing works across all areas of the business and brings everything together. You need to grow brand awareness and so put out an ad. Marketing doesn’t just look at where your customers are and what message you should have on your advert. It looks at a WHY you need to advertise, how are you going to support the sales.
Marketing is a way of creating material and messaging to drive your business goals forward. You’ve just set up a business but no-one knows it exists, how do you get the word out there? Or you’ve got an event coming up that you need to sell tickets for, or you need to grow your business sales by 10% in the year ahead, how are you going to do it? A marketing strategy/plan will identify your business goals and will look at your audience.
As a marketing consultant, you help businesses create and carry out personalised marketing plans. Can you take us through the process of creating a marketing plan?
Broadly speaking a marketing plan will cover what your goals are, what you need to get there and how you’re going to do it.
Anyone putting a plan together will need to look at your business goals – what are you looking to achieve and in what time frame. I would advise to be realistic here – jumping 500% in sales isn’t going to happen overnight, even if you fling money at it!
Next, you need to understand your product or service’s positioning. How do you compare to others in your space– are you cheaper, more authorative, pitching at commercial contracts rather than domestic etc. And what exactly do you offer? Get a statement together (one or two sentences) that sums up what you do and who you do it for.
Spend time thinking about your tone of voice, are you friendly, serious, technical etc? All of these will help bring your message to life and give you a creative look and feel for your marketing outputs moving forwards.
Think about your audience – who are they, where are they, what do they like doing etc. You’ve probably heard “pain point” a lot, but it’s true – what are they struggling with that they need your help with. For luxury necklaces it may not seem a “pain point”, but the customer will buy into the lifestyle that you suggest comes with buying that necklace – they want to feel special when having a night out, they enjoy spending time out with their loved ones etc.
Once you know who your audience is and where they are, then it’s easier to know how to target them and you can be selective with this.
Work out what capacity you have, or need to drive the plan forward. If you want to manage it in-house, who is going to drive it and make sure that they have time in their calendar to create and measure the campaigns. There’s no point in designing a mega plan with one person in the office to manage it themselves. If people or teams need training or support to manage, then investigate what’s required and get this in place before you start.
Set yourself realistic objectives and always have KPIs to track the response and results, and the plans for moving ahead. It’s important to know that you don’t need to do everything. Put your efforts into key areas.
Once you’ve worked out your budget, your resource, where you need to be and what you need to say, then you’ll need to think about how you bring this to life creatively. Do your audience need product stats, will imagery bring your message to life, should you do a video of your product? I would answer YES YES YES to all of this, but work out what’s the most important and do these things first. Build yourself a content plan that builds over time.
Once you’ve got a plan in place, set out phased goals and KPI measurements. Monitoring regularly will make sure that everything is on track and also pick up areas that need attention, allowing you to adjust and adapt. Write a marketing calendar where you can see what you’ll be doing across a 6-12 month period.
And finally a marketing plan is never complete! Always review, adapt and start again. Work out what’s working and what isn’t, do more of what is working and less of what isn’t!
What advice do you have for anyone thinking of creating their first marketing plan?
Make it simple to start with. Take time understanding your business, answer the questions above, don’t be overwhelmed by the scope of work. Choose one or two areas to focus on and go for these. If you need external help to manage it, then get it! At the end of the day, you’ve chosen to build your own business because you love what you do, not necessarily to do the marketing for it. Choose companies that believe in your business in the same way that you do, and they’ll be there to help you grow.
Are there any common marketing mistakes that you repeatedly encounter?
People going for everything all at once and then giving up because nothing has worked. Plus not ever measuring. Why are you writing about xx all of the time if no-one is reading it? Why are you on Facebook if your audience is using LinkedIn? People tend to jump in and try a bit of everything without a plan and it’s hugely frustrating to marketers. Time and money are your biggest commodities, so make sure that you’re using them correctly.
We love the Rocket & Fox branding. What are some of the most important points to consider when creating or revamping your branding?
Thank you! With branding always think how it’s going to work across EVERYTHING – websites and fav icons, business cards, brochures, large sign on the wall, proposals etc. In terms of design itself, something clear and portrays your businesses personality and what you offer. Name is a WHOLE other area – it’s the hardest thing to do to name your business!
At Rocket & Fox you offer a lot of different marketing service. Should businesses try and use as many as possible, or are some better suited to certain businesses?
Every businesses marketing strategy will be different and it’s unlikely that you will need to do everything all at once. And yes, it will depend on what you’re offering and who to as to what marketing channels and methods are right for you. Your business may sell online courses for example, therefore looking at online advertising, building a strong email database and creating automation funnels will be key here. A physical B2B product that has a long sales cycle and detailed decision making process, will require buy in from the customer to the product/business as a whole, so close targeting will be required. The marketing could involve generating personal relationships, showing clear answers to objections and detailing after sales service etc.
I would generally suggest that businesses try one approach at a time, having clear goals and measurements in place. Track what’s working and do more of it, look at what’s not working and tweak and adjust along the way and then build on it. If you want quick growth you may need more services at the beginning, or during peak campaign times, with less at lower peak times.
Can you share some tips for an entrepreneur who is about to launch their first business but doesn't have any spare funds for marketing?
Set small goals at the beginning which will make an impact. Your first goals are likely to be getting your business known, so depending on your business, a website and social media will be your first port of call. These can be managed in-house, but set aside some time to make sure that you have mapped the customer journey correctly, you’ve got relevant and interesting content planned to target your audience, and never just leave it once up and running – websites and social are the core of business and need to be constantly updated! With content make sure to answer your customers problems and engage with them, and don’t make it all about you. Next, you could look at meeting companies that can support you via word of mouth referrals. You could do a knowledge swap or offer services for a reduced cost/free to start building your experience and network. This will also give you great case studies and testimonials to use across your marketing.
Do factor marketing in as you start to grow, general practice could be between 4-10% of revenue allocated to marketing methods over time.
Have you got a favourite marketing strategy?
Different things will work for different businesses. Hashtags on Instagram and Twitter are an easy and effective way to create engagement with people that are already interested in that area. Having a voice in these channels is super effective, and also a good way to build your own audience by engaging with your targets. This is only useful though if your audience is here, or you can show real input in being here and don’t just throw random comments in to the mix
I also love ways that capture people when they’re a bit more off guard. Sending a cookie basket with a personalised note to the neighbour next door to the building work that you’re working on to say sorry for the inconvenience etc, or a packet of biscuits and a tea bag in the post to read your proposal with, this shows personality and jumps out as a bit different. And for me, showing the personality behind the brand is important and businesses shouldn’t be afraid to show this. People buy from people and understanding “why” a business is doing what it’s doing, how it’s different but more importantly how it relates to them, will win over business time and again.
We speak to a lot of businesses who solely focus on digital marketing, but you also offer offline marketing advice too. Do you think that offline marketing is as valuable as digital marketing?
I 100% agree. Marketing should be integrated and all channels should be considered in any strategy. Having automated funnels and emails etc is VERY useful (and I love this) but it’s not always relevant and other areas should be considered too. Print marketing is still very valuable, customers like something tangible to see and touch IF it provides value and isn’t just trash. Similarly there is a place for print advertising, but it generally is less impactful than online advertising, purely because it can’t be tracked, adjusted and measured in the same way as online. People buy from people, so anything that generates a face to face conversation is always going to be worthwhile to any business. And more than ever, having engaging content is what’s going to get you that.
Digital marketing has obviously brought a huge amount of change to the industry. What do you think will be the "next big thing" for marketing?
There’s always new steps in digital marketing coming forwards – augmented reality, voice marketing etc. As I’ve mentioned before though, marketing has shifted and is shifting even more to engage customers. Brands aren’t just putting out “look at my product, buy my service” statements, they’re spending time understanding the customer, their interests and their lifestyles, to see where the overlap is and then creating content that fits into this. Add on top of this the mix between sales and marketing – traditionally joined but different. Now and in the future, there will be a core overlap between these functions, and marketing roles for each team. In theory this creates a bit of a headache for marketing teams, as there could be a loss of marketing control. But this is where marketing strategies play their part – get everyone engaged, make sure there’s a process for managing leads and conversations, whilst still being yourself. Personal branding is going to grow – look at LinkedIn – company pages are all well and good, but the real conversations happen between PEOPLE. And having brand advocates to help drive big businesses forwards is going to be more important than ever.
This might be putting you on the spot, but is there a business who you think is doing a great job to their marketing right now?
Any business that responds quickly, is relevant and seems “human” is doing a great job in my opinion! I love Joe Wickes Body Coach – he’s continued to create great FREE content alongside selling books, dvds and his subscription plan. He also turned down a partnership with a key supermarket because the product they wanted him to endorse didn’t fit with his ethos. Staying true to your brand but most importantly your audience, is absolutely key in using marketing to drive your business forward.