Greensboro, NC - According to Quora, “In marketing, a digital ecosystem is the detailed visual of how all digital and social assets of a brand interconnect and interact. When managing multiple platforms, it’s important to understand how they will all work together to achieve the brand’s goal.”
Common assets include websites, landing pages, mobile sites and social media, as well as eCommerce sites, and building a marketing ecosystem is a great idea, but where do you start?
Define your personal values. Your values determine how you want to do business and with whom (or should). If you take clients you don’t like in order to meet financial objectives, in the end, you will be unhappy. It is crucial to clarify the values that are non-negotiable, and build your business on a strong foundation that is rooted in your values. For example, if respect is non-negotiable, then you definitely want to say “no thank you” to prospects that show up late for your first meeting or text and take calls during a first interview with no apology. Don’t negotiate your non-negotiables or you will feel angry or frustrated when your clients or vendors treat you badly.
Next, think about the culture of your business. Whether you work alone or have a team, is the culture of your business aligned with your personal values? Where are you compromising? For example, if one of your culture words is “integrity” and you have a team member that acts in a dishonest way, then your business culture is not aligned with what you say is important to you. People outside of your firm will distrust your firm if your employees actions don’t fit the way you’ve described your culture.
What is the brand experience you deliver? If your goal is to deliver “Ritz-Carlton” level service, and you deliver exactly what your clients expect of your firm and no more, then your business service delivery isn’t aligned with your intent. For example, I stayed at a Ritz-Carlton property and when my coffee was delivered, I mentioned the clanking of the elevator cables. The young man said that the hotel would move me, and I declined since I was leaving early the next morning. He let his supervisor know about the experience, and he received authorization to comp breakfast, lunch or coffee to make up for the inconvenience. Does your firm go above and beyond like that? Ultimately, your personal values and business culture should drive your brand. What happens if this is not the case? Your prospects, clients and even your employees will feel the disconnect between your brand and the foundation of your brand.
Once you define your personal values as they relate to your business, your culture and what the ultimate brand experience should be for your business, then you can define the strategy for building your marketing ecosystem
Your strategy should include building brand visibility through articles and speaking, and relationship marketing with your current and past clients as well as key influencers that work with the same clientele that you want to attract. What is relationship marketing? It is developing the brand experience at various touchpoints throughout a project, and it includes maintaining relationships after your project is complete. Your clients should be raving fans that can’t wait to share you with their friends and neighbors.
Brand messaging is also a key component of attracting the right clientele to your business. The text you use on your website, in social media, and your marketing collateral like brochures should align with the values, culture and brand experience your firm embodies. Brand messaging is also verbal, so how you talk about your brand, and how your employees talk about your brand should be carefully crafted and practiced.
The final component of your marketing ecosystem is a cohesive editorial calendar and a marketing budget that includes all of the tactics you will employ to build your brand both online with social media and with your web properties like your blog and website, and offline with collateral materials.
Your editorial calendar should be broken out by month to show exactly what is happening and who is responsible. Few business owners can manage the entire marketing process, so consider outsourcing and hiring people that specialize in marketing and public relations for designers.
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Gail is one of Designers Today's most prominent contributors - focusing specifically on the business side of interior design.