Treat your marketing like you treat your 401k

startup marketing plan

Many new marketers struggle to figure out what works in their marketing mix. I've seen marketing teams and startup founders take this challenge in one of two directions. Either they go head down in one channel or they go super light in 12 channels. I bet you are reading this, saying to yourself, "hummm, neither of those options sounds good." Ding Ding Ding! You win. It's not right.

Think about your marketing like you think about your 401k: Tailored and Diverse. When you get to set up a real 401k often the company will walk you through a questionnaire to determine what your goals are. Then they come back with a generic suggestion based on what other people have done and what they've seen work. Then they tell you, you can customize it further, that's tailored. But my 401k company didn't just jam all my allocation into one fund. They actually recommend against that. They suggest 4-5 funds based on my goals. Because the most important part of a secure financial outcome is not having all your eggs in one basket, that's diversifying

You should treat your marketing the same way. I've said it before, but understand your audience, be where they are. Know if they belong to certain associations, read specific publications, if they listen to certain industry-specific influencers, or if they just hang out on Facebook looking at funny meme's all day. ALL of that insight helps you determine where you should be marketing/advertising your product or service. 

Now that you know where they spend their time, it's time to FOCUS, but not too much. Start with 4. Pick 4 channels that you can market or advertise on and measure them, for a quarter. I am going to say that slowly again: Pick 4 for a Quarter, and measure. I call it the 4QM strategy. If you pick 4 channels, you put out 3-4 different messages/calls to action per channel and you measure what drives the most leads over a quarter, you will have more insight into what is working and where it's working for your target market. 

In summary, if you are overwhelmed with coming up with a good marketing strategy, keep in mind two things: tailored, diversity. Take those themes and implement the 4QM strategy. Get that feedback and adjust.