Q4 Strategy Time – You Still Have Time!
If you’re sitting there reading this article and you haven’t started your Q4 strategy you’re not too late. Even though Q4 has been underway for almost a month(!!!), there is still plenty of time. Personally I know what it’s like to have too many plates spinning at one time. That’s the way business is these days. Many companies get away with having a solo “marketing person” who is expected to do everything. Others are creative solutions providers that are constantly being asked to provide new and different things. Sometimes you don’t know where to turn. But don’t just keep turning around and around or you’ll spin out of control! All jokes aside, here are some things to keep in mind.
WARNING: If you’re a marketing guru or invented the internet or something, nothing I have to say is going to help you since you already know everything. But so long as you’re not completely omniscient, you should be able to get value out of something I have to say, even about the basics. I mean remember, professional athletes spent a tremendous amount of time on the fundamentals.
SEO – Better Bad Than Never
This one’s ironic since I myself have been delinquent with my own SEO writing. How meta is that, huh? A few months ago I launched an experiment I call “SEOetry” where I wrote poems about SEO in good SEO format. They are still solid and if you haven’t read them you should check some out. One thing to keep in mind about SEO is that it’s like quicksand. You might never fully escape it. No matter how good your content is, in the very next moment it needs to be refreshed. That can be incredibly time consuming or costly depending on how you run things. With that in mind, many people forget about it entirely, which ultimately can make your website appear stale or invisible in search results.
Another thing to consider with SEO content for your website is that it serves as validation. If you don’t have the money or time to dedicate to a specialist in this domain, you still should consider continually adding content on your website with an eye towards SEO. Share those articles directly with anybody in your network who you genuinely believe needs it. That also means you have to think for a minute about what information you have to share (for free) that is actually valuable. If your Q4 strategy does not include any SEO you should reconsider.
Balancing Digital & Traditional Marketing For Your Q4 Strategy
Something we’ve taken really seriously over here is leveraging the power of traditional advertising media. Outdoor ads like billboards are so powerful, and that is the one segment that is still growing steadily every year. That means more people are learning and utilizing OOH for their marketing needs. Most print newspapers that have survived the digital disruption have digital membership distribution. If you’re an advertiser who spends more than $40,000 per year on paid media or agency services you should think carefully about how you’re spending that money.
Too many “digital marketers” are really just “Facebook ad sales agencies.” That isn’t a problem necessarily, however, that is putting all your eggs in one basket. If Facebook ads or Google Ad Words work for you like a “silver bullet” you might just be hunting werewolves. There is no silver bullet in marketing. It is definitely a foolish conversation to debate whether traditional or digital is “better” in any kind of broad sense. Every single tool a marketer has available to them has a purpose and a potential. It’s up to creatives like us to figure out what the best use of your money is.
Think about it this way, most platforms want you to be spending at least $2,500 per month on them.
If you’re trying to spread yourself across a variety of platforms you’re likely going to spend about $10,000 per month on advertising. Add in agency services and you can see how much bigger the budget can get. However, on a modest budget of $40,000 – $60,000 per year we can do a lot of damage. Generally speaking we’ll try to set up at least (4-5) distribution channels for you or control that many: print, outdoor, email, website, social media, etc. Sometimes we’ll hone in on fewer, other times we will want to experiment with more. It’s all dependent on your budget, appetite for risk, and the results you’re looking to produce (in what time frame).
Long story short – don’t give up on traditional media – in fact a lot of those vendors are hungry for business plus they’re often local and there’s room for negotiation…and we love to negotiate.
…What IS Strategy Anyway?
If you don’t know how to describe pure strategy, don’t worry. Even some of the most highly paid “strategists” in the advertising industry don’t know what the heck it means. Nor does anybody know too confidently what will work strategically speaking. That’s because overall a strategy is composed of a lot of different tactics that we believe can and will accomplish a goal. However, you can’t build a strategy out of tactical maneuvers. In today’s world you can actually achieve a lot of results with purely tactical directives, but it is difficult to sustain.
Strategy is a long-range view which composes goals, initiatives, challenges, and tactical options. It is the bedrock of growth, because you can’t achieve results beyond what you can imagine. In fact it’s hard enough to achieve the results you imagine sometimes! That’s often because people create a strategy that can only generate exactly the results they’re after and no more. Think about that, if you had to sink (3) basketballs in 5 minutes…would you want to only be able to shoot exactly (3) shots or would you want an infinite number of shots to shoot?
Your Q4 strategy and planning should be focused on 2 things:
- Closing Out Your Year Strong
- Planning For Next Year Based On What You’ve Learned
A strategy devoid of reality is a pipe dream. Focusing only on your current circumstances without a strategy causes stagnation. You need to keep thinking bigger and bigger, planning for and living like you’re going to grow. That kind of optimism is important when developing strategies, but you have to also be grounded in reality or you’ll set yourself up for failure. A lot of strategy is weighing options, and going down intellectual dead ends before you come up with something that is truly sound.
Ending the year on a high note is important. It helps to boost morale, it creates a sense of lasting sustainability in the business, and it’s an excellent networking opportunity. This is the time you want to start planning your holiday gift giving – both for employees and customers. Also consider hosting and throwing a holiday party. There is such a great opportunity to bond with your staff, introduce new people, and provide some gratitude to the people who help keep your business alive. We know how to party, and to entertain people is such an amazing service – so if you’re looking to have a lasting memory – you know where to find us.
Don’t Forget To Breathe
Marketing can be overwhelming sometimes. With business challenges and an uncountable number of options to choose from, you might just need help sorting through it all. We work well under crunch time, and love demystifying marketing. If you are looking to tackle the Philadelphia market you may find yourself frustrated or seeking guidance. Let us be your sherpa through our urban terrain. Hit up the chat link here, give us a call, or DM on social but for the love of all that is good and holy please do not lurk.