The main reason marketing consultants get brought into clients is that their marketing isn't working at some level. One of the important things we have to determine is where the problems are and how large or systemic they may be. Sometimes it may be an execution issue with the team and other times it may be a misallocation of spend or a lack of support for a key channel. The biggest challenge, however, that you generally encounter is a client that wants to change their entire marketing approach or strategy, especially when it may not be necessary or even unwise to do so.
Here are the things you need to think about if you're thinking about changing your marketing:
- What was working before and why is it not working now? Something had to get them to where they were and helped them at some point resonate with the market. Figuring out what was happening in the times marketing was working - messaging, tactics, offers, product/service offerings - will help create a grounding from which to pivot.
- What has changed in the market to "force" a change? A lot of clients think their marketing isn't working because of internal issues when sometimes it's an external force that is causing their marketing to effective. Has the market consolidated or shifted in some way? Are clients buying what you sell in a different way than before? Is the competition doing some new or are their new competitors for what you do? Changing your marketing without an understanding of the larger picture just redresses the windows and doesn't really fix the problem.
- Is your business changing and evolving? Major changes in your business is generally a great reason to adjust your marketing since a new message helps reinforce the change and gives you a platform to communicate those changes to the market. The key in this situation is to help tell the story around the change and make an effective transition so there is no "loss of signal".
- Do you need to change your strategy or just your tactics? This is one of the real traps I see a lot of businesses make. If you are in line with the market and your strategy is on point you shouldn't look to change it just because things aren't working like you should. Changes are welcome with tactics and channels - those things should constantly be evaluated for impact and ROI - so reinforce your strategy with improved execution in the channels you know to be effective.
- How prepared are you to make the change? A lot of people talk about making changes to their marketing but when it comes down to it they are either afraid or under committed to the process of doing it. If you know changes need to be made and you know it's right for your business go all in and do it. At a minimum, if you're not fully committed or funded to a big change the option to make smaller changes can be just as effective even if it takes longer. A ship turning one degree at a time will eventually go in another direction.
Following this line of questioning will help you understand how big of change..if at all...you should make in your marketing. Change is a fundamental part of marketing but knowing when and how to do it will impact your business so doing it right is critical.