The Milestone Process
Rebuilding your marketing foundation is a step-by-step procedure, and Milestone approaches this process in a unique way. Through incremental stages, each with a set schedule and reasonable budget, you will learn new ways to build your business, you will redefine your corporate identity, and you will reconstruct your company’s physical and digital marketing footprint.
Rebuilding your marketing foundation is a process that requires time, effort, and money. The process begins with a series of strategic planning meetings to learn about your business and get to know each other. By the end of three two-hour sessions you will know more about how to market your business and whether or not you want Milestone to help.
Each session follows a specific agenda designed to guide the learning process and help you make key decisions along the way. It starts with setting measurable goals. What is your sales goal? How much is your average sale? What is your lead-to-close ratio? How many leads do you need to reach your sales goal?
By definition, entrepreneurs like to take risks, and most business owners hate the idea of turning down an opportunity. A lack of focus; however, can be detrimental to growing your business. By defining your target audience more narrowly your business will gain clarity of purpose.
The process reveals insights through a situation analysis, and differentiates your business from the competition using a model called positioning. Finally you will learn why annual marketing budgeting and planning takes discipline and how every decision you make builds on the last forming a solid marketing foundation for your business.
The next step in the process involves branding which is a concept that is difficult to explain. There are hundreds of books on the subject and many definitions, but one that always resonates with people is this: Your brand is your promise.
While it starts with designing your company logo, rebranding your business has a ripple effect that runs throughout your organization and touches every aspect of your company. From business cards and brochures, to email signatures and websites, to the color of your uniform and the way you answer the phone, every aspect of your brand is a reflection of your promise to your customer and affects how they perceive you, your products and services, and your business.
Designing your company logo is a collaborative process. You will be presented with several rounds of logo designs with many different options. And because choosing a logo design is a subjective process that often involves more than one opinion, the goal is to narrow the choices and achieve a consensus by focusing separately on the components of the logo – icons, fonts, and colors.
Once the final design is approved, you will receive multiple versions of the logo in several file formats to accommodate different applications along with a detailed logo guidelines document.
Your identity suite consists of standard corporate communication tools that most companies use to conduct business. In most cases that includes business cards, letterhead, and #10 envelopes. In some cases your identity suite may include additional items such as notecards, email signatures, or headers formatted to fit invoices or other process documents.
Like the decision-making that happens during strategic planning, each step in the process rebuilds your marketing foundation. The aesthetics of your identity suite come from your logo design. And subsequent decisions about how to print your identity suite will establish a “look-and-feel” for your brand that will be reflected in your collateral materials.
Rebranding produces a ripple effect. Your list of collateral materials may be short or long. It can include company brochures, sales literature, presentation folders, trade show signage, product packaging, and so on.
You might need new collateral materials right away, or you may want to introduce them over a period of time. It all depends on your business. However, unlike your identity suite, which consists of your logo and contact information, many of your collateral materials may require copywriting and photography.
Once again, the decisions you make regarding collateral materials – about what to write about your business and how to present your products and services – will ultimately prepare you for the final step in rebuilding your marketing foundation. Because as the saying goes, when it comes to building websites, content is king.
Your company website may be as simple as an online brochure allowing visitors to learn about your products and services at their convenience. Or your website could be a dynamic source of information with a product catalog, a staff directory, a company blog, and an events schedule. Your website could even be an online marketing machine and business management system with built-in tools for email campaigns, shopping carts, and password-protected documents.
Whatever your functional requirements, you probably want a company website that is well-designed, easy-to-use, mobile-friendly, hacker-proof, and supported in a timely fashion by people whose native language is English.
As soon as your company website goes live your new marketing foundation will be complete. You’re ready for business. What’s next? Does your sales team hit the streets? Do they start dialing for dollars? Or is it time to start promoting your business with an annual marketing budget and plan?