Market Well: Three Things That Should Be In Your Marketing Plan But Aren’t

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Our must-read column, Market Well, explores the key marketing strategies that are essential for the growth of a wellness business.

Every month, Vicky Ellison, who is also the Senior Marketing Manager for Equinox in the UK and Canada, examines how brands can create and maintain a marketing campaign that connects with both their intended audience and potential investors.

Providing valuable insight into the methods, services, and tools needed for both new and established businesses to drive exposure and boost brand value, this month Vicky is focusing on how to successfully market a new product…

Marketing plans aren’t just for big companies. Every business, new or established, should have one.

A plan helps align your marketing efforts with business objectives, keeps you focused, and can help you obtain financing – whether that’s internally, justifying your spend to the finance department, or from external lenders.

Most marketing plans have a similar structure; a quick Google search will provide an adequate template. However, to go beyond the predictable, it’s worth considering a few areas that don’t fall into a classic marketing plan, but perhaps should.

Today, as consumer priorities change, the different ways we communicate and the expectations upon brands continue to shift, traditional marketing plans are often left lagging behind.

Fortunately for wellness brands, according to Goldman Sachs, the millennial generation which is set to make up 75% of the workforce by 2025, is more engaged and willing to invest in daily wellness than previous generations.

Placing higher value on areas like brand purpose, recommendation and personal messaging, they want to be part of a conversation rather than being broadcast to, and these motivations are worthy of our attention.  

To ensure your marketing plan puts your brand in the best possible place to connect with today’s consumers, here are a few thought starters to consider when planning your marketing strategy.

Your role in society

In a recent study, Nielsen found that 73% of millennials are prepared to pay more for products and services from companies dedicated to social and environmental change, while 80% of global customers agree that companies must play a role in addressing societal issues, according to Edelman’s 2016 Trust Barometer.

In your marketing plan, consider starting with ‘why’, rather than ‘what’ or ‘how’. It’s not going to be enough to have a corporate social responsibility programme handled by an ancillary department – your brand’s role in society should be a genuine consideration when making business decisions if you’re going to be seen as authentic in your chosen cause.

M&S Food’s waste reduction initiative is a worthy example. Empowered to discount expiring products, employees at the British supermarket saved 450 thousand flowers and plants last year, reducing waste by 10% and saving the company £1.8million, according to KPMG.

Aside from showing brand integrity, this type of commitment helped M&S Food to become the highest scoring grocery retailer in Nunwood’s 2016 Customer Experience Excellence Analysis.

Similarly, family-owned dairy company Yeo Valley, created a limited edition product using ingredients that are normally thrown away.

Using their sought after ‘Left-Yeovers’ range to highlight the issue of food waste, as with M&S Food, this example shows how a cause that carries across staff behaviour, operations and customer messaging, can impact society’s perception of a brand as well as the bottom line.

Initiatives with this type of impact make for a worthy inclusion in your marketing strategy.

Employee experience

Marketing plans usually focus on the target customer and how a company will reach them. Most marketing plans do not include the employee experience – but perhaps that’s a miss?

There are countless articles on the impact employee engagement has on staff retention, recruitment costs and productivity – but what about the effect on your marketing?

Imagine for a second that each of your employees is a walking, talking advert for your brand, and consider their spheres of connection and influence. Think about your team experience. Do you want employees complaining about their long hours or other issues causing them to feel disgruntled – or would you prefer that they lead with positive comments about your brand and its latest venture?

Employee matters shouldn’t sit solely within your HR department. Wellness brands by their very nature promote a healthier way of life, so think about how you can give a taste of that to your employees. Can you let them experience your product or service and help them become passionate advocates?

Lush, the ethical soaps and cosmetics retailer, sends new product samples to employees and allows them to take home products nearing expiry; thus reducing waste and encouraging trial by their team.

Lush believes so strongly in employee investment that following the Brexit vote, when 58% of people in their hometown voted to leave the EU, they offered employees a move to their new global production hub in Dusseldorf, as a significant number of employees aren’t British Citizens.

Mind Body Online, the online booking platform for fitness studios, provides employee access to an online doctor, free on-site fitness classes at their headquarters, and a free 12-week, nutrition and fitness programme for employees chosen through a lottery system. They also have free meditation classes for balance, monthly team building games and monthly wellness funds for employees to spend at approved wellness and beauty locations.

As you plan out your consumer strategy, consider adding some time, thought and budget to an employee experience strategy to build your in-house army of promoters.

The customer journey and sales process

Misalignment between sales and marketing departments is common. Sadly, it’s often the case that sales departments do not see value in their marketing department and rather see it as a money drain. Perhaps marketing departments could do a better job at marketing themselves internally, or maybe marketing teams could work harder to understand and align with the sales teams and their processes, to ensure they play a meaningful role?

A study by marketing platform Kapost, found that 65% of sales reps say they can’t find content to send to prospects. So, in amongst your brand work, pay attention to the tools needed for sales.

From scripts to support sales pitches to content for the team to send to leads, these tools might be the piece that makes the biggest difference to your revenue – which ultimately, is what all marketing is for.

As you map out investment areas in your strategy, keep the customer journey in mind and review the plan with your head of sales. Not only will this ensure you’re making smart investments for the business, but it should help gain your sales teams’ buy-in from the start, which will increase the likelihood of success.

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