One of the many things close friends and family know about me is that I love to cook and bake. A lot. I spend many of my weekends planning what to make for the week ahead for my family. When life is normal, one of my most favorites things to do is host dinner parties.

As I was meal planning recently, I realized that there’s much in common between prepping meals for the week ahead and planning for successful marketing initiatives. But not everyone prioritizes their marketing planning. In fact, often when we meet with prospective clients, we find that they’ve spent more time and effort on independent – and sometimes, non-related – tactics around their marketing activities rather than a strategy to enhance and integrate them appropriately for the best ROI.

I find that successful marketing is much like cooking a delicious – and appreciated – meal. Here are some ideas to invigorate your marketing tastebuds:

Know who you are feeding.

Whether for a family of three or a dinner party of 10 or more, you need to know who’s at the table for people to enjoy their meal. That means understanding your guests likes/dislikes, allergies and cultural sensitivities.

The same goes in effective marketing. Knowing who you’re marketing to – really knowing – and ensuring the message is compelling to them is the most critical piece of information to move forward. And it’s essential to re-evaluate your key audiences on an ongoing basis. Have the demographics shifted in any way? Are there new products/services you’re offering that meet a new consumer or business demand?

Just like you cannot expect your dinner guests not to change their dietary needs (e.g. who’s keto now? Anyone discover a new allergy?) so too must you consider how current audiences have changed or how a new audience may find what you offer attractive.

Be creative!

Your family doesn’t want to eat meatloaf night after night, and similarly, dinner guests want the opportunity to try something unexpected. Research new recipes, test them out, consider plating and presentation, and then launch them to a small circle of family and friends. Sure, it’s disappointing when a recipe doesn’t live up to its hype but if you start with a small, focus group of “taste-testers,” gain insight and improve upon it, you’ll find yourself with a winning meal.

Comparably, think creatively as you decide how to launch a new or consider re-launching a current product. Make people take notice. If you have the bandwidth, conduct focus groups to test your new marketing efforts with a smaller audience but big creativity. Serving up the same old dish – whether at dinner or in marketing – will result in outcomes that decline over time. And that’s not your goal.

Blend in new flavors.

I am a master at flavoring: a hint of this spice, a tad of that one and soon you’ve taken a taken a worn-out recipe and made it new again. Folks’ tastebuds seek out new flavors and are enticed when they determine a well-known recipe has taken on an unconventional approach. I find this is when most family members and friends ask for more – and for the recipe to be written down so they can repeat it (before I change it up again, of course.)

Consider your blend of marketing activities. Match up tried and true methods of previous marketing with a dash or two of something new. Always bought traditional advertising but scared to go the digital route?  Team up with a partner (like Chartwell!) who can help you navigate less familiar areas of marketing and provide an integrated approach to reach your audiences in different ways. Combining several avenues of marketing will allow you to connect with more people in the way they are receiving information and making purchasing decisions.

Make the year of 2021, the year that you sample additional marketing opportunities to positively impact your top line. And, if you want a partner to share the meal preparation, call on Chartwell Agency.

Bon Appetit!