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Redefine your marketing approach – focus on strategy

If you ever hear anyone say that a tactic is a strategy – run for the hills. Try this, google strategies and you will also see lists of tactics. There is often nothing that supports the reasoning behind them; just a list of them without any direction, reasoning or meaning. The biggest mistake brands can make is developing tactics before strategies. Often times, what I have found is that there are agencies, marketers and other professionals in the industry that create the tactics that they are going to execute first (tactics such as website, email, TV, direct mail, etc.) and then back it up into a strategy; this is a huge fail. When has backing into anything become a way to move forward?

Would you ever just get into your car and start driving without knowing where you are going? Without a plan, you plan to fail.

So many marketing campaigns and initiatives go awry (fail) because they backed into a strategy; they did not have plan first – they (by default) started with the What, then they may have some support for the How and very few, if any, had any Why.

So often these types of initiatives fail; there was never a marketing strategy plan in place that outlined and defined these important guidelines that defined these critical aspects and also included desired outcome (goals and objectives) and truly knows if it worked and was successul (key performance indicators and success metrics).

How do you know where you want to go if you don’t have a plan to get there?

Start with WHY? What problem does your product/service solve? What is the purpose that your product/service serves? Why is this important to you/your brand? What do you believe in? What are your core values? What does your brand stand for? What is going to motivate someone to seek you out or why would they want what you have to offer? Why should your audience trust you; build a relationship with you?

Next, focus on HOW? Define what the plan of action looks like to take your Why and bring it to life. What does your process look like from idea to delivery? How is your brand unique and better than what else is currently available in the marketplace? What are the most important attributes of your core brand? How will your convictions be translated into your brand? How will your customers perceive you? What perception are you trying to convey? What do you want your audience to feel about your brand?

Next, focus on WHAT? This is your product or service broken down to its essence. The features and benefits that tout what it can do. The price offered and the value it offers the user. How you are going to promote it (and this is probably a laundry list – that needs to be efficient, effective and fast to market)? Where is your audience(s) at (hint: this is where you will want to be).

Next, focus on WHO? If you don’t know who your target audience is, you better stop here; this could be another fail if you don’t assess before you act. Your target markets are more than just names or segments; they make up multiple types of demographics, psychographics, buying behaviors, personality types, different lifestyles, unique interests, etc. Often times there is more than one ideal audience, so define them by providing and describing your idea clients. If you are not sure of who your ideal clients are, use your existing customers (case studies) to create their own unique categories; you will start to see some patterns; some will fall to the bottom while others will rise to the top. Now name each segment and put them into buckets and prioritize them accordingly from best to worst clients. It is critical that you prioritize your segments; not everyone is an ideal prospect and none of them are created equal. Treat your new audience collectively with one brand voice; promote to them separately as they have different wants and needs and will use you in different ways.

Once you have established some of the key components above, you will have started to build out your marketing strategy. There is much strategy development and planning you do upfront; once you have sweated through some of this soul searching – the hard part will be over. Then, once you have the right (and complete) strategy in place; tactics will be defined that align with your approach (some will fit perfectly, others not so much – prioritize these too, just like your audience). Because tactics are much easier to figure out than Strategy (you can create lists that go on pretty much forever); that is often why many in the industry start there first – big mistake for everyone and every brand involved. Now you see Why (no pun intended) it’s key to your brand success to start with strategy?

If you have questions about your Why and need to take pause to reflect, we can help! We would love to help you identify and define your Why and get you on the road to greatness – Marketing strategy at its best!

Need a LIFT? Let’s talk.

Laura Wiley, Principal/CMO at www.MarketingLift.net |LauraWiley@MarketingLift.net

Sourcing Great Marketing Content

Ideas for content can really come from anywhere….

….News headlines, conversations with colleagues, brainstorming sessions with customers, meetings with prospects, emails with strategic partners, day to day business challenges, following industry trend posts and blogs, newsletters, influencers, networking opportunities, group chats,… you name it, ideas and hot topics are all around you.

Many times though there are great resources out there that provide inspiration. Here is a link of some new insights to share – a TOP 10 list that may help spark ideas of your own to share and inspire the world around you.

Content Marketing – Infographic

Consider that no topic is a bad idea, just consider the relevance of it – the timing and audience you are speaking to that you want to impact.

Tip: Start a list of ideas.

Jot down ideas and tackle one at a time, different topics may trump others, but when you are facing a blank screen, reference your go to list of ideas and hope that the juices start to flow. When in doubt, think about the last business conversation you had and what you learned, that is a good jumping off point.

Carpe Diem for Great Marketing Content!

What’s on the top of your mind today?

Feedback, ideas and suggestions always welcome!

Laura Wiley, Prinicpal/CMO, MarketingLift.net

Top 10 Check List: What to look for in an advertising/marketing firm

You want an agency that is a great fit – one that meets your specific needs.

Make sure to align yourself with the right agency that sees eye-to-eye on what is important to you in order to develop a long-term, mutually beneficial relationship.

Here are a few key criteria to compare to the relationship with your current agency; if they are not meeting your expectations, it may be time to look around.

Top 10 Check List: Make sure that that agency you choose will …

  1. …understand & align with your objectives
  2. …keep you & your business top of mind at all times
  3. …be forthcoming with fresh ideas & innovative solutions
  4. …be engaged & involved with your product(s)/service(s)
  5. …propose strategies that drive results/ROI (defines KPIs/success metrics)
  6. …create SMART objectives (Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Reasonable & Timely)
  7. consider your consumer experience (integrated strategies & campaigns)
  8. …keep the interest of your company as a whole in mind (not just the
    marketing piece)
  9. …always be available & responsive – your go-to resource (providing
    consulting and value)
  10. …leveraging their network to provide additional resources & opportunities


Please share your thoughts and suggestions – feedback is always welcome!

Laura Wiley, Principal/CMO, MarketingLift.net


You are Your Own Brand – Own It!

You are Your Own Brand – Own It!

All of us have a personal brand; we may just not be aware of it.


It’s time to take yourself seriously and identify and define truly who you are,what you do, and why you do it. How do you do what you do better than everyone else? When you communicate with others, what are you conveying about you? And where are you putting yourself out there or more so, where are you missing out?

If you don’t know those answers, it is probably time for an assessment or if you do, a reassessment may be in order as we all change with time.

Consider yourself a product and apply the marketing mix to you and your situation.

Price – This is the value that you offer.

What price is that? What do you charge for your time? What is your annual salary? Are you new to the market or do you have a ton of expertise, skills, knowledge and experience that warrant a higher price for your services? Knowing your value will dictate your price. Build your reputation and credibility to demand an investment in you (not an expense).

Product – This is you. All that is you.

You past, present and future. What is your skills set, education, experience, knowledge, experience, network (net worth) – you get the idea. All that you are follows you wherever you and whatever “hat” you wear; roles and career paths may change, but the sum of you only continues to accumulate overtime; adding more experience and adding to your value. You as a product may continue to evolve; you have to know where to stay the course (persevere) and where you to change lanes and go into a new direction (pivot).

Placement – This is where you are at.

Consider where you are present? Online – social media, website, email, etc. Offline – networking, meetings, client board rooms, phone call, etc. Always consider where you are at, the environment you are in and how you want others to perceive you. Being virtual allows one to have a different persona; when you are physically present, there are many more factors to consider. If you are passionate about what you do and show a true purpose to give, others will want to engage with you wherever you are.

Promotion – This is putting you out there.

What are you doing to toot your own horn? How are you conveying your expertise, thought leadership and being a subject matter expert? Are you writing white papers, are you tweeting, are you blogging, are you speaking, are you writing a book? How well do you share with others what you know, your authority on the subject matter and influencing others’ decisions? You often hear – “you don’t know what you don’t know”; that applies the same for your potential audience. Share with your audience (all that will listen) all that you have to offer (doing so in small doses – one topic at a time). After all, it is not who you know, but who knows you (keeping them aware and educating them about what you bring to the table).

Each and every activity you do is marketing yourself; building and evolving your own personal brand. Take the first steps in creating your brand; you are your own product – now is the time to own it!

– Laura Wiley, Principal/CMO at MarketingLift.net

Got Brand Strategy?

All strategy starts with who, what, where, when, how and most importantly why. Without this (and all of this) there is a huge gap in creating your business goals.

However often this is not easy or simple or quick to define. It takes some business soul searching to create these critical attributes. Many times, organizations want to jump right in – and without having a plan – they don’t know where they are headed.

Brand strategy can address all of that – how you effectively communicate your service, product or idea determines how successful you will be. After all, it’s how you want your customers to perceive you, what is in it for them and why they should pay for what you have to offer.

While strategy may be difficult to comprehend, it shouldn’t be put aside. To make it a little easier to address, we have put together a quick outline to focus on specific areas.


You Business is your Brand

Define what you offer that is of value that is different from everyone else.


Integrated Efforts

Everything that you do is marketing your brand, consider this in every channel, tactic, message and activity you create.


Engage with your Audience

Make what you have to offer an emotional connection, listen to your audience and respond (proactively/reactively) to their needs.


Build Brand Loyalty

It requires so much to acquire a new customer, treasure them and make them feel special – thank them for they are what have made you what you are today.


Track your Activity

Success can only be measured by defining what the finish line looks like; take the time upfront before implementing programs to determine your desired outcome and measure it.


Adapt and Pivot

Listening to your customer’s need should be your number one priority – many times, evolving your business model may be required – either pivot to do so or persevere to follow your target market.


Keeping a Competitive Advantage

Always be on the look for new competitors – as soon as you have a business model that works, others will be hungry to takeover and take away customers from you; stay sharp and stay ahead.



Is your brand strategy solid? If you think it is lacking, it may be time to define and refine the missing links. Businesses are never stagnant and this exercise should be reevaluated often to make sure your brand strategy is solid and effective.

5 Steps to a Successful Marketing Campaign

5 Steps to a Successful Marketing Campaign

1. Make it Compelling. Speak to your audience through an enticing headline, strong offer, and prominent call to action. Put yourself in the consumer’s shoes. Consider what would get you to act and buy now?
2. Integrate your Marketing. Repurpose your marketing efforts. Repeat your offer over and over again. Make sure to include the value you bring to your audience through unique features and benefits. Consumers need to be told something 7xs before they buy, be consistent to be effective.
3. Ask for the Sale. Make your products and services accessible and easy to acquire. Ask for the sale with a clear way to act and create a sense of urgency to drive response. Don’t be shy: you don’t get what you don’t ask for. Let your audience know you have what they want, when they want it, and it’s simple to get. You’ve heard of it: right place, right time? Buy now!
4. Promote, Promote, Promote. Take your message to the hills and beyond. You don’t have to have deep pockets to penetrate the marketplace with your goods, however you need to be persistent and creative. Whatever marketing channels you are in, get your message out there – online, offline, on the street, word of mouth. Just spread the word.
5. Measure your success. You won’t know if what you are doing is “working”. This is the biggest marketing miss – not tracking performance. Track to make sure you are getting a positive ROI for the time, money, and resources you have invested. Determine KPIs upfront and track to make adjustments the next go around, improve, and repeat.


Strategic thinkers from the heart of the midwest.

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