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By AMA Madison | February 9, 2020 | Signature Speaker Series

AMA Madison switched things up with an early morning panel discussion co-hosted with the Cottage Grove Chamber of Commerce on Thursday, February 6. More than 70 marketers gathered in the Summit Credit Union’s immaculate auditorium for a lively and informative discussion about how to set your marketing initiatives up for success.

The panel of local experts included:

The group focused on three main themes: getting started/deciding which marketing strategies and tactics to give your attention to, how to prioritize your marketing initiatives, and how to set up your vendor/partner relationships for success.

Between the panel’s conversation and audience Q&A, the group covered a lot of ground. Following are a few of the highlights!

How to Get Started & What to Focus On

“Whether you’re a marketing department of one or have 20 marketers on your team, the challenges are the same,” said Sarah Hurley, Director at Weber Marketing. Defining specific business goals beyond just “driving revenue” is an important first step. From there, you can build your marketing strategy and map out a marketing plan.

Tip #1: Get to know the internal people on your team who can help you be successful. Your salespeople and receptionists are resources who can offer feedback on what your clients are saying and why people do or don’t choose you, which is all valuable insight to help craft your marketing messages. And, be sure to understand leadership expectations: What does success look like to them?

Tip #2: As you tailor your content, consider your audience.  Eagan Heath had three important points to help narrow your focus:

  1. Who are we communicating with?
  2. Where do we find those people? What platforms are they using?
  3. Test your message and measure the results.

How to Prioritize

A marketing calendar for the year will keep you on track. Take a look at known events, media kits, trade shows, etc. to build your plan and figure out what you can accomplish and who you need on your team.

With a plan in place, consistent branding across channels needs to be a priority. Michol Banes pointed out, “If you’re tired of something, your customers are probably just starting to recognize it as yours.” Consistency is key when building your brand.

Partnering with External Vendors Effectively and Efficiently

As you implement your marketing initiatives, you may realize the need for additional resources.  No one marketing person can do it all, so compare the skill sets you have in-house with what you want to accomplish—and consider filling gaps with external partners. Recognize that if your expectations are high but your skill level in some areas is less than adequate, the best use of your time is focusing on your strengths and hiring an expert for the rest.

When considering an outside vendor, JJ Giese suggested thinking about whether you’re looking for a partner for a project or a process. Is this a one-time need, or an ongoing initiative? To get the most out of your external vendors, create an internal project document defining your timeline and what success looks like. Plan as far ahead as possible, explain the big picture to everyone involved, and integrate your partner into your team. And remember, a vendor relationship is a partnership—not someone to simply hand work off to and leave to their own devices.

Wrap-up

The panel presentation concluded with an audience Q&A that revealed even more great insights, followed by an opportunity for the speakers and attendees to nosh and network.

Thanks again to our co-hosts from the Cottage Grove Chamber of Commerce, Summit Credit Union for providing a fantastic venue, and our sponsors EZ Office Products and New Life Church for making this event a great success.

We look forward to seeing you at an upcoming event! Check out our events calendar for more information.

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