Consistency in marketing saves money and makes your job easier

Effective marketing consistency increases brand equity and creates positive ROI.

Marketing is one of those tasks that all business owners and managers must do. It is not an easy task, but we all agree that it is an essential component in a successful enterprise. So why do so many small businesses get it wrong? One reason is inconsistency in marketing communications.

For small businesses, it typically goes like this: A friend creates a logo for your business. Then, a radio advertising person sells you a radio ad schedule. Then, the newspaper sales rep sells you an ad placement. Then, a web designer creates a website for your business. Then, a printer creates a brochure/menu for your business. Then, you buy some ad words or other internet advertising. And none of these folks talk with each other because they are competing with each other for what is in your wallet. That is the problem.

When each medium creates a marketing communications message for your small business, they do not necessarily care about your marketing consistency. So you get a different message on the radio, a different message on your website, a different message in the local paper, etc. When you send inconsistant marketing messages, you run the risk of confusing your audience. This makes it harder for your audience to understand your value proposition, and to measure the quality of your product.

When you communicate a consistent marketing message across all media, you enhance your brand equity and receive the benefit of repetition of communications. Your visual communications should look like your website, and should sound like your radio advertisements, and should match your audio/visual and social messaging as well. Most people who are unfamiliar with your business will research your business, and if they see inconsistent messages, they associate this with poor product quality. After all, if your messages are inconsistent, how could your product be consistent and of high quality? Creating consistency across all media is easier to do than you might think.

When I work with a small business facing this issue, I recommend that they find a graphic designer that they like. Then, have the graphic designer create a “generic” brand advertisement to be used across all media. This generic ad can have placeholder text that changes out from time to time, to offer a special or to communicate a promotion, for example. This generic ad becomes the template upon which all future communications are created.

When you’re purchasing advertisements (or a web design, or TV production), you simply provide the medium with the “generic” template, and then ask them to replace the placeholder text with your special or promotion. The individual medium is not allowed to be creative in designing the ad because you have provided creative direction already. This tactic is a very good way to keep your communications consistent. And, it is very easy to do. You only have one advertisement! Now that you have consistency in your messages, your life has become easier.

Using the approach above, you will save time because your ad design is already complete, and you will save money because you don’t have to recreate a message each time you run an advertisement. And, to save the best part for last, consistent messaging across all media will improve your top-of-mind awareness due to the multiplier effect of repetition. Also, your marketing communications will show a better ROI and your marketing communications task will be easier. You can find out more information about creating a marketing plan for your small business from Michigan State University Extension.

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