Tools vs. Toys: Your Marketing Arsenal

I’m an addicted Twitter user, but it’s my marketing toy. There some marketing tactics that work harder than others. But which ones? Here’s my recommended list.


Marketing Tools

  • Your Brand Having a defined brand image sets the foundation for all your marketing efforts. It gives you focus and clarity. A strong brand makes it easier for the customer to do business with you.
  • Customer Experience – The number one factor in creating loyalty is the experience customers have with your business. Your customer’s experience earns you both loyalty and word of mouth.
  • Website – I almost never say that you must to do a particular marketing tactic, but this is one must: you must have a website. The  importance of local search and the increasing use of the mobile web make it important for you to have a web presence. Your website has been called the ‘front door to your business,’ you need to have that front door open.
  • Blog – Blogs create fresh content for search engines. They also elevate your credibility and authority.

Marketing Toys

  • Twitter – I use the micro-blogging platform to network with other bloggers and marketers. It has also become was one of the top traffic sources for this blog. But for that purpose alone, I do not get the return on time invested.
  • Networking Functions – I like to attend local chamber Business After Hours and fly off to Conferences. I meet some pretty cool people and form great friendships. But I do it for personal enjoyment, networking and staying current, not to market my business.

To get some other perspectives, I used my Twitter marketing toy and asked my network: What are your hard-working marketing tools and your playful marketing toys? The answer can depend somewhat on what you do.

  • Podcasting guru Jason Van Orden said his best marketing tool is podcasting. His marketing toy: Twitter.
  • Entrepreneur Matthew Scott says his hard-working marketing tool is his Marketing Activity Calendar. His toy: a marketing scorecard.

Bridget Cavanaugh, a marketing agency executive, lists three hard-working marketing tools: Customer Insight, Public Relations, Websites. Here’s how Bridget breaks it down:

  • Customer Insights – The holy grail of marketing. Marketing doesn’t even begin until you know the “who”, and I’m not talking demographics. What are your customer’s world views, biases, desires, objections, influencers and needs?
  • Public Relations – One of the hardest working traditional marketing tools. I shake my head it when I hear it called “free PR”. I can always tell the companies who truly value their brand because they invest properly in PR. They understand the power and sustainability that quality business, trade, and consumer press creates.
  • Website – Above all, a website can be sales funnel, a conversion machine, not something our “internal guys” did.

And for Bridget’s Toys:

  • Stunt/Viral Marketing – These tactics are fun and we’ve done them, but they spike sales and are not sustainable.
  • Social Media – Right now, it’s all play because it’s inexpensive and experimental. In the future, it will find its place. I call it “marketing candy”.
  • User Conferences – These do not create loyalty, only an excuse to go to Las Vegas.

Is marketing all work and no play? What are you tools and toys?

Related articles on marketing tools:
The Search for the Best Marketing Tools

The Technology, Tools, and Resources for Your Marketing Infrastructure
The Ideal Small Business Marketing Plan

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