Wolverine, a member of the X-Men, is one of the more popular Marvel Superheroes. He is known for his adamantium skeleton and powerful claws as well as his superhuman healing ability. What many fans love him for is his no-nonsense, “cut the crap” attitude. He is not interested in sugar-coating anything, and is not one for trepidation. He jumps right into the task and takes a chance without the fear of failure.
So what does Wolverine have to do with creating a marketing plan and what can marketers learn from his aggressive approach? Let’s find out.
Have no fear: The marketing world can be a complicated and confusing place. There are new trends to pay attention to, and different advice coming in from various sources. Trying to come up with the right marketing plan can be intimidating, but much like Wolverine, you just need to take chances. “One of the worst things [in marketing] that you can do is to not do anything,” says Kimberly Burghart, Client CMO with Miles Technologies. “Trying something and failing is better than not trying something at all. You can learn from a mistake.” There are a lot of different methods and strategies out there, but the only way to find out how well they can work for your company is to try them.
Heal quickly: It is certainly not a bold statement to say that not everything in your marketing plan will work perfectly. While a company definitely needs to make smart decisions about allocating time and resources, Burghart says that sometimes businesses will be too quick to dismiss a tactic or strategy element if it does not produce desired results the first time. She cites the example of blogging. If your company blogs every other weeks for two months, and does not see an increase in contacts or leads, that does not mean blogging is not worthwhile. Perhaps you need to blog at least once a week instead or re-evaluate the type of content you’re putting out there.
Find your marketing X-men: Wolverine, a loner for much of his life, was hesitant at first to trust others. He did not “buy-in” to the X-men right away, but eventually learned to trust Professor Xavier and his team. This is the same process many marketers go through. People or companies sometimes think they can do everything themselves and try to talk themselves into being completely independent with their marketing. “It’s okay to admit that you do not know everything,” Burghart says. “It is better to get help in the areas you are not an expert in—whether that is marketing tactics or with the products and services you are marketing.” Do not dance around the fact that you need help. Whether your company needs to outsource some or all of its marketing or if some of your employees need to facilitate marketing discussions with owners, CEOs or key decision-makers, admitting that your marketing needs help is not a bad thing.
Don’t waste your time: Wolverine subscribes to the theory of lesser talk and more action. He isn’t interested in sitting in a million strategy meetings, and neither should your marketing team. Planning and progress report meetings have their value, but only to a certain extent. Once a certain piece of a marketing plan is agreed upon, give it some time to be put into action. For example, if you decide to increase your Google AdWords budget or market to a new geography, you do not need to meet two days later for an update. You will need a larger sample size to evaluate its effectiveness. Since time is valuable, make sure you meetings are all important and necessary.
Track properly: Wolverine is an expert tracker. With his keen sense of awareness and animal-instincts he is able to hone in on his target. This is the same type of approach your marketing plan needs to have. Make sure you are looking at the right targets to measure your results. That’s great if your website has more traffic than the month prior, but does that alone mean your plan was successful? “If you want to acquire more customers, it is not just about how many visitors you have,” says Burghart. “You want to look at your conversion rates. Visitors do not impact your bottom line. A smaller amount of qualified traffic may be better than larger overall traffic.”
Also be mindful not to put too much weight on industry benchmarks for certain methods such as email marketing. While industry average measurables such as open rates and click through rates are certainly something to keep in mind when setting goals, remember that they are not tailored to meet your business’s unique needs. Many of the companies that get surveyed in these industry reports are companies that have been actively engaged in the effort for a long time, and it probably took them quite a while to get where they are now. Rather than shooting for an industry average goal right away, it is better to look at how your company is currently performing and set smaller goals to help you get there eventually.
Know what you are up against: Whether he is battling against Sabretooth or trying to Stop Magneto, Wolverine knows the strengths and weaknesses of his opponents. When developing your plan of attack for marketing it is important to know your target. While Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is important, remember that you are marketing to people not search engines. For example, don’t waste your time concerning yourself with showing up on the first page in Google for a ton of different keywords. “There are only so many key words you can rank for,” says Burghart. “Don’t go after keywords just for the sake of having them.” Make sure the keywords you target are actually ones potential customers will associate with your business’s products or services.
Do you like Wolverine? What are your top strategy tips? We’d love to hear your your thoughts in the comments below.