Derby season is in full swing in Kentucky. The Kentucky Derby is just a few days away and our community calendar is chock full of events and activities. Racing fans are scouring racing periodicals and other sources to make their picks to win the big race.
I am not a Louisville native, nor a huge horse racing fan, so I don’t really get all the hoopla, but that’s just me. What does amaze me, however, is the magnificent beasts that run around the racetrack at blazing speeds.
Thoroughbred race horses are amazing creatures. They have been bred and trained for one thing – speed. Great care is taken by trainers, riders, and jockeys to prepare horses for each race.
Similar to the way that trainers prepare a horse to compete, there are defined steps that you can take to prepare your marketing strategy to compete against your competition. The reality is that you are in a race with your competitors to reach your target audience and serve them with excellence. The better prepared you are, the better your chance of winning.
Where’s the finish line?
Trainers know exactly how far their horses are going to run in a race. Similarly, you have to know what you are trying to accomplish before developing and implementing a marketing strategy. Are you trying to create more brand awareness? Create a certain number of leads for your sales team? Drive direct sales? It’s impossible to develop an effective marketing strategy unless you know where the finish line is.
Know your target audience
This first step is essential. If you don’t intimately know your target audience, it is impossible to craft messages that will be relevant to them.
The next step is to develop a plan to build trust with your target audience by providing value first. Be careful not to embrace a “sales first” attitude. Focus on developing relationships based on trust. Sales are a natural progression from strong relationships.
Whether your content strategy is based on blog posts, podcasts, social media, email marketing, or other distribution channels, it is important to be consistent with your messaging. You can over-communicate as easily as you can under communicate. Strike a balance that keeps your message in front of your target audience, but does not overwhelm them.
Is your messaging connecting with your target audience? There is no way to know unless you set up metrics to track the results. This can be a challenge depending on the complexity of your strategy and how many channels you are using to connect with your target audience.
The winner’s circle
The winner of this year’s Kentucky Derby won’t be a random streak of good luck. All the horses competing in the race have been trained to win that race.
Winning the marketing race against your competitors isn’t the result of random luck either. It takes planning, hard work, and fierce competition to cross the finish line first.