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Strategic Planning

Indianapolis Marketing Consulting: The Ultimate Guide to Building a Solid Marketing Foundation

By March 14, 2022July 14th, 2022No Comments

Marketing consultants can help businesses connect their marketing goals to the overall business strategy by constructing a foundation that will support the different stages of the sales funnel. It’s important to understand that a marketing consultant can be a small firm that specializes in developing marketing foundations and strategies. 

Having a sound marketing foundation allows you to create a plan that’s both strategic and effective. Evaluating where you are today will help you better understand where you need to be in order to grow your business.

For many businesses, marketing efforts continue evolving and adjusting to new products, new customers, new services, and new tools—which means that you need to periodically reassess and evaluate where you are in your marketing. Taking time to evaluate your foundation will help you build and evolve your marketing strategy.  

Many small- and medium-sized Indianapolis companies overlook the importance of a holistic marketing foundation.

A 2019 survey from Outbound Engine found that 50% of the small and medium business (SMB) owners did not have a marketing plan that year, and 25% were unsure of how they were going to grow their business.

Marketing consultants help SMBs build and evaluate their marketing foundation and discover where there’s room for improvement and growth to continue moving their business forward.

Indianapolis Marketing Consulting Firms

Successful business owners understand the importance of putting the right people in place to support the different areas of the company. But sometimes that can be challenging, and business owners will try to fill in the gaps by doing what they can. However, that eventually fails because a single person can’t handle multiple areas of business operations if they’re focused on running and growing the business.

Working with an Indianapolis marketing consulting company can take the burden off small businesses owners. An agency can help business owners answer fundamental questions that help set a foundation for clear marketing strategic planning.

In today’s digital world, marketing technology and techniques are constantly changing. Learning, understanding, and keeping up with changes in online marketing trends can be time-consuming. Trying to navigate and execute successful marketing plans without the help of a marketing firm can easily send your business (and often the owner) into a tailspin of good intentions but zero outcomes.

Benefits of working with a marketing consulting firm

When looking for a marketing consulting partner, make sure that you find a company who will combine your goals and objectives with other parts of a robust foundation that supports inbound marketing, outbound marketing and a digital presence that can be easily changed based on important data analysis.

Using a firm that’s based in Indianapolis, provides immediate access to a team that supports comprehensive marketing programs, from overseeing the strategy to the execution, which saves you time and money. Here are some additional benefits that small businesses see when using marketing consultants.

Fill in critical gaps on the marketing team For effective strategic planning and building a successful plan, it’s important for a marketing agency to spend time to fully understand marketing goals, potential customers, existing customers, competitors, the timeline, and any key performance indicators (KPIs) that will be tracked to determine the success of the digital marketing plan.

Fill in critical gaps on the marketing team

For a small business, there may only be one person doing the marketing. Marketing consultants can provide a small business with the skills needed to quickly identify initiatives that will successfully meet goals and objectives.

Provide an outside perspective

It’s easy for business owners to get hyper-focused on the brand, product, service or business. Bringing in a marketing consulting firm can provide a fresh new look at the customer messaging, tools and digital marketing programs and campaigns.

Scalable – use them when you need them

The flexibility of a marketing agency team is useful for small companies. For large projects or more comprehensive campaigns that involve multiple channels, small businesses can lean on an agency’s expertise.

Methods used to establish marketing foundations

Marketing firms, such as Tomato Fish Marketing in Indianapolis, are focused on helping businesses evaluate, engage, and drive growth by putting in place a marketing foundation to support creative solutions for business challenges. These are the methods used to help build the foundation:

Evaluate the business landscape

To build an effective marketing foundation, it’s important for an agency team to spend time to fully understand your PVM, marketing goals, your customer base, competitors, the timeline, and any key performance indicators (KPIs) that you’ll track to determine the success of the marketing initiatives.

Support business goals and objectives

Your foundation must align with your business goals and objectives. It’s critical that what you’re measuring ties directly to the overall business KPIs. A marketing agency understands that there’s value in being able to make quick informed decisions based on data.

The amount of data available for businesses to analyze is enormous. We’re not exaggerating. So, what’s the critical data? It can be challenging for business owners to know what data is important. A strategic marketing team can help you drill down to discover the critical data needed to make important decisions.

Perform SWOT analysis

One of the cornerstones needed for your marketing foundation is understanding your company’s strengths and weaknesses and your opportunities and threats (SWOT). By aligning these different components with your specific business goals, you can begin building a custom marketing strategy that will increase sales.

A SWOT analysis will identify what you do well, the areas in which your business is lacking, where you will most likely see success and what threats you may be facing. This is one of the four cornerstones that will guide your marketing strategy telling you HOW to move forward.

Improve your brand identity

Your brand is very important for marketing. It’s more than just a logo. Your brand identity will drive everything from how your website looks, to the tone of voice used when posting on social media or the greeting someone hears when calling your business. It’s your entire values, beliefs, mission, and goals all wrapped up in one design. An agency works to make sure that your brand image aligns with all pieces of your business.

Criteria to consider when evaluating a marketing firm

Trust and Credibility

As a business owner, you know the importance of establishing trust and credibility with your customers. In your role as a client, that extends to your relationship with your marketing agency as well. Making critical decisions during the middle of an active campaign can lead to great results or can have an opposite effect and harm the business.

Will you have faith in the marketing company to stay on top of things while keeping you informed of changes or opportunities? Can you rely on them to advise you on your short and long term goals? 

A trusted and credible digital marketing firm has a strong and reputable social presence, and they understand the importance of staying updated on trends. Do your research and look at their company blog, testimonials on their website, and ask for case studies or references who can provide client feedback. 

Compatibility

Finding a digital marketing agency that works well within your corporate culture is important for a good relationship. Do their values and goals resonate with your business values and goals? Have they worked with other clients in the same industry as yours? Observe the personalities of the marketing team to see if they are easy to work with and complement the personalities at your company.

It’s also a good idea to consider how long the company has been in business. Partnering with an Indianapolis based marketing agency who has been in business for more than a decade, not only provides stability and assurance that they won’t leave you stranded, but also speaks to their ability to provide results.

Marketing Services Value and Pricing

Marketing is a financial commitment for every business. Some companies have a large budget, while others look for opportunities on a smaller scale. A marketing company should not hesitate to provide billing procedures upfront, and quotes based on specific project requests. There are different types of price structures so it’s important to find one that works within your budget.

Comprehensive Marketing

No matter how reputable an agency might be, working with them will be of no benefit and a waste of money if they don’t align marketing initiatives with your business goals and objectives. The marketing agency you select should provide details on the different stages while building the marketing foundation and executing the plan.

Results

This may seem like common sense, but make sure that agency focus is on delivering results and not just execution. Find out how they have adjusted other campaigns when expected results were not achieved. An important part for establishing a strong foundation for your business is understanding which metrics are important to measure. Results may not always be positive but understanding how a marketing company reacts to negative results is as important as making sure they deliver results.

Why establishing a foundation is important

When you have a marketing strategy that’s built on a strong foundation, you can be confident that your day-to-day marketing decisions and activities are based on research and guided by your company’s objectives. The marketing strategy guides decision-making and corporate policies that focus on maximizing revenue.

You wouldn’t build any structure without ensuring that the foundation is strong and can support whatever you are building.

Building a strong marketing foundation

Understanding the current landscape of your business and marketing programs with a marketing analysis will help you identify gaps in your marketing foundation and where you want or need to be to meet your goals and objectives. The different marketing areas that need to be evaluated include:

1.       Purpose/Mission/Vision

What seems simple on the surface can end up being challenging when you try to define everything. We’ll help get you started. The purpose is the reason WHY behind your brand or business. Why do you exist? The mission statement is the HOW for your marketing. How will you act on your purpose? The vision statement answers the WHAT for your brand or business. What will the end look like once the marketing objectives are complete?

2.       SuperPowers (Strengths & Weaknesses)

Your superpowers are what makes you stand out from your competitors and if identified correctly, can help you gain a competitive advantage. To identify marketing strengths, areas to evaluate include what’s working, current tools, collateral, customer feedback, and product and company reputation. Marketing weaknesses might include current challenges, things that aren’t working, content that’s missing, and negative customer feedback.

3.       Opportunities and Threats

What are external factors that have the potential to impact your business either positively or negatively? These need to be identified and listed as opportunities or threats. Opportunities might include things like industry events, possible regulations, and online growth. Threats might include increased competition, government regulations, negative press coverage, changes in algorithms resulting in search drops.

4.       Target Market

Knowing your target market will help you identify marketing channels and develop communication and messaging for email marketing, content marketing, social media advertising, and other digital marketing. To help identify your potential customers, creating a buyer persona is essential. Doing this will help you segment and build your strategy around what will work best for each audience. You will be able to predict and overcome objections from prospects.    

5.       Goals and Objectives

Establishing clear goals and objectives for the year provides clarity, purpose, direction and vision when laying your foundation. These insights will allow you to track the progress of your marketing campaigns and evaluate your marketing strategy. Examples of marketing goals and objectives include increasing brand awareness, generating high-quality leads, acquiring new customers, increasing website traffic, boosting brand engagement, or increasing revenue.

6.       Core Marketing Stack

An analysis of the current marketing tools will identify gaps. There may be tools that are no longer needed or tools that may be needed to perform specific actions needed to meet marketing goals and objectives. Tools to consider include:

  • Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Tool
  • Email Marketing Platform
  • Website Platform + SEO Tools
  • Content Generation Tools
  • Social Media Marketing Tools

Marketing consulting services

Our marketing consulting team, based in Indianapolis, understands how to provide cost-effective solutions and services to identify and act on opportunities to strengthen your sales and marketing.  Our approach is to first evaluate current states, then engage client stakeholders and finally assist in executing the agreed upon strategy.

Keeping our clients updated with monthly meetings and regular communications ensures that they have insights into project activity, and campaign data. This makes it easy for you to evaluate and make decisions against success criteria that’s tied to your goals and objectives.  

Our marketing consulting services include:

  1. Holistic strategic assessments to identify your purpose, vision, and mission and establish annual goals and objectives. SMBs can use consultants to help better define the company’s goals and bring their vision to life with strategic plans that outline short and long term opportunities.
  2. Development of logos and taglines. Our creative services consulting team has experts who can design logos and taglines that resonate with your company’s target audience.
  3. Print and digital content that tell stories and engage audiences. Consulting services that execute on strategic goals and objectives can create content that can be used online, shared on social media, and used in email campaigns. We have strong execution partners that work with your team and ours to ensure the overall strategy is maintained and the doing gets done.
  4. Development of a comprehensive sales and marketing funnel for building solid leads in the CRM. Our Indianapolis-based team will take time to understand your target audience and buyer’s persona to develop effective content marketing collateral and online marketing campaigns that will convert in each stage of the sales and marketing funnel—ensuring that leads continue to flow into the CRM.
  5. Centralized CRM management. Proper management of your organization’s CRM is critical for communications and marketing to the right people. If there’s incomplete information or garbage going into the CRM, segmenting audiences may be challenging and certain types of marketing strategy, such as email marketing may be ineffective.
  6. Designing and building websites that generate positive user experiences with custom designs. Building a website and forgetting about it isn’t helpful in building your brand. There are many different aspects to consider when building a website. So having a custom website where content is consistently updated and meets the needs of your target audience is critical for your online success.
  7. SEO audits and maintenance plans to position your brand in the best location on search engines. Google is constantly changing and updating the algorithm that determines a website’s placement on search engines. Understanding SEO best practices can be challenging when it’s not a daily focus.
  8. Content that resonates technically with search engines and with your target audience. Google likes new content, and new content helps your SEO placement. That’s one of the main reasons to keep updating content on websites.
  9. Pay-per-click campaigns that are tied to your online presence and support your lead generation funnel. Our SEO & PPC specialists are the best in Indianapolis and can help your company identify which key phrases your product or service is best suited for to boost engagement to your site and generate leads.
  10. A complete email marketing program that includes templates, mailing list management, content marketing, campaign development and organization, and monitoring and campaign metrics evaluation.

 

Tomato Fish Marketing is an Indianapolis marketing consulting firm that offers end-to-end marketing strategy evaluation with our innovative redMAP process.