The start of Channel 4’s Bake Off always makes us feel autumn-y here at Grey Matter. It also marks the time of year when you can really get a head start on planning next year’s marketing mix.
And why not use the Bake Off as inspiration? Afterall, baking the perfect cake isn’t all that different to creating and delivering the perfect marketing mix.
Watching the talented bakers sweat over a technical challenge is a reminder that execution plays a huge role in delivering your marketing mix. When the contestants are given a list of ingredients without measurements, the results can be disastrous and the same rings true when designing your marketing mix. Too much of one thing and not enough of another will leave you with more than a soggy bottom.
So, other than learning how to make the perfect pastry, what else can we take from Britain’s best baking show?
The recipe for success is…
The recipe. You wouldn’t bake a cake without a recipe; a list of ingredients, measurements and instructions. The same applies in marketing. Plan your marketing activities for the year ahead by mapping out the tactics you’ll use (your marketing mix), when you’ll deliver them, how you’ll deliver them and how much of each you’ll deliver.
Remember that sometimes, no matter how closely you followed your recipe, the mix isn’t quite right. A bit of extra flour, a little less water, two minutes longer in the oven… you can usually find a solution. In marketing, changes in technology and consumer tastes and trends mean that you need to take the same approach. Have a plan but prepare to be fluid and responsive to shifts in your market.
‘There’s quite a lot going on here…’
The words no one wants to hear in the Bake Off tent (as it generally translates to ‘It’s completely OTT). As a marketing professional, you will experience a constant supply of promotional opportunities, offered by a range of agencies, publications and event organisers. As great as it all sounds, you can’t – and shouldn’t – do it all.
In your planning stages, research and consider different opportunities and work out their worth, map out the resources (human and financial) that you’ll need to deliver them, and then define and document your marketing plan. And stick to it! Don’t be tempted to keep adding to the mix, just a pinch of fluidity in your approach will keep you responsive and relevant to your market.
Don’t overdo your showstopper
Just as we see many contestants pinning all hopes on a stunning showstopper, many companies invest most of their marketing efforts and resource into one or two big events or projects, before running out of steam (or budget) and going quiet for the rest of the year.
Brand building and earning the attention and loyalty of consumers takes time. A good marketing mix will include consistent activity delivered throughout the year, even if you have peaks of activity to suit your market (i.e. special offers at Christmas or at key industry events).
As the old adage goes ‘fail to plan and plan to fail’, and all of the lessons we’ve taken from Bake Off certainly align with this principle. Plan your marketing for the year ahead, stick to your plan and you’re sure to get the Hollywood handshake!