Great brands and marketing efforts don’t just magically happen. There’s a good bit of research, thought and innovation that goes into developing strategic plans and strong brands. Contrary to popular belief, neither employ a one size fits all concept nor can the planning be left to chance or not thoroughly thought out.

If done correctly, effective marketing and branding can be the springboard needed to launch a new product, service or idea or it can yield exponential growth for an existing company.

Here are few strategies you can implement to help jumpstart  or define your  efforts.

Write The Vision Down

Be able to clearly define what products or services your company provides and what your brand stands for. I always tell my clients to start with the end in mind and work your way backwards. Visualize what constitute success for your company and create, implement and work the plan to get there.

Elevator Speech / The Pitch

One of  my favorite shows is Shark Tank. Entrepreneurs, inventors and developers pitch to a panel of multi-million dollar investors in hopes that the likes of Daymond John, Kevin O’Leary or San Antonio Spurs owner and tech guru Mark Cuban will take a chance and invest in their company or idea. Contestants only get one chance to wow the Sharks and convince them to invest their money. During this once in a lifetime presentation they must show and tell the Sharks about their product or services and then explain why it’s a good investment.  The pitch is edited down to about 30 seconds, but such is life. In fact, life is little less fair than a 30 second commercial. The typical attention span of today’s consumer is eight seconds. You have eight seconds to catch their attention and make’em like you.

Identify Your Niche

There’s nothing more frustrating than when I ask a client “who is your audience?” and their response is “everybody.” No, everyone is not your audience.  You can’t be all things to all people. What appeals to millennials, most times won’t appeal to the baby boomers. Deciding who your audience is will help save and make you money. Avoid being middle of the road in your brand positioning.

Create and Maintain A Budget

My dad has a saying “it takes money to make money.” Truer words have never been spoken. A marketing budget should be apart of your overall operations budget. Too often companies start with a marketing budget, but use it to offset other expenses. With the rise of social media, some feel as if that’s the only marketing they need because it’s free. Well social media isn’t so “free” anymore. Posts now only reach 10 percent of your audience. To reach a larger percentage you must either promote a post or create an ad. In which you must still create a budget.

Get more helpful marketing tips during Jackson Black Pages’ mixer Network Your Net Work, 5:30 p.m. Thursday, July 23rd at Expose. Click here for more information.

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