Putting together a marketing plan for your business can be a lot like figuring out a puzzle. There are a number of different pieces that need to come together to create the big picture.

When you start a puzzle you first look at the picture to see what your end goal is. Marketing works the same way. Before you can figure out how all of the different elements are going to be executed, you have to have a final goal in mind. I don’t know how everyone else attacks a puzzle, but when I go about it I separate the different pieces that are similar to create sections that will later come together.

There are two main sections of our marketing puzzle: push and pull. The pieces that make up the push section of the puzzle include anything that is used to bring in new business. This is usually your “now” crowd. We use web marketing and SEO as our push marketing pieces. With the evolution of search, we focus on the online reputation of the businesses we work and make sure that they are present in logical places such as industry specific directories, Press Releases and local listings.

The second section of the puzzle is the pull marketing portion. The way that we implement pull marketing is through direct mail campaigns. But not just your typical letter or sales piece, we send out funny postcards that get people’s attention and usually have nothing to do with our services. We send these to our existing contacts and clients (people who already know who we are) just to keep us in the back of their minds. We also have a really great time creating the postcards and are so happy that people have actually started collecting them! In addition to direct mail, we help our clients set up loyalty programs, email campaigns, review and testimonial collection and anything else we see fit for the particular business.

Equally important are the elements that make the pieces come together. You can’t just stick any two pieces together and expect them to work, and on their own they just look crazy. Push marketing can work together with pull marketing and vise versa. For example: Say your company won an award for which you have a press release written and distributed. That press release can not only be promoted through news organizations online, your blog and social media but you can let your current contacts know through mail or email, as well, with a link to where they can read the full article online. The same goes for direct mail. You can use a unique URL in your mail pieces to track the effectiveness of the campaign and bring people to your website at the same time.

The glue that holds it all together are the actual internal functions of the company. (Even if you aren’t the type to glue your puzzles together, stay with me here. I’m certainly not that person. Don’t get the image of a crazy cat lady with puzzles hanging from her walls stuck in your head. If you are that person…I’m sorry.) You can promote a business as much as you like but if you’re not giving people what they want when they decide to work with you, you are wasting your time and money. I can’t stress enough how important it is to make every person you come in contact with a fan of your business. Every touch point that you have created is a chance to “wow” someone. Make yourself stand out. Create raving fans that will recommend you to others. If you put all of your pieces together and then you disappoint the customers that you have attracted it’s like you finished the puzzle and then let a crazy 50lb dog run right through the middle of your hard work. Don’t let it go to waste!

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