Earlier this month, we hosted marketing speed dating events where companies came to talk to us about their biggest marketing challenges. Surprisingly, the #1 challenge for companies across the B2B and B2C spectrum is strategy or, more accurately, lack thereof.
Why is Strategy so Necessary?
Strategy provides a foundation for all of your marketing efforts. Do you ever feel like you’re doing all these marketing activities like sending emails, dropping postcards, advertising on Google, and posting on social media but you’re not seeing an increase in business? It’s most likely because you don’t have a strategy in place that clearly articulates your goals (qualitative and quantitative), your audience, your product offering and its benefits, along with a plan for how to achieve your goals, by when and for how much.
Without a strategy, it’s easy to get distracted by shiny objects. Shiny objects come in the form of new marketing technologies, new advertising channels, new social media platforms or simply being exposed to marketing tactics that have been around but were not part of your toolkit. Adding new marketing initiatives to your growing list of campaigns won’t necessarily translate into increased revenue or higher ROI. In fact, you’ll likely spend more money without a tangible return, further eroding profit margins.
Imagine, as my business partner, Amanda, puts it, riding your bike with a blindfold on. You’re pedaling away with no clear direction of where you’re trying to go, no understanding of which path is the most direct and no idea what roadblocks stand in your way.
Having a marketing strategy in place will provide you with clarity on how all the marketing tactics fit together, a framework from which to gauge all future marketing opportunities, and a compass to guide your business’s growth.
So, How do You Go About Creating a Strategy?
First, prioritize your marketing objectives. Are you trying to convert more prospects into leads and more leads into buyers? Are you trying to drive more foot traffic into your retail location? Are you trying to increase your brand awareness? Are you trying to attract more website visitors or grow your database? Having a clear vision of your marketing objectives is critical to developing a sound strategic plan.
Now that you have a clear objective, it’s time to devise a marketing strategy. Think about the following:
- Who’s your primary and secondary audience? What do they look like demographically, behaviorally, and psychographically?
- What’s their buyer’s journey? What information do they need at each stage of the process from Awareness to Consideration to Purchase?
- How do you stack up against your competition? What makes your product or service truly unique?
- What’s your marketing budget?
- How will you measure success? Write down your performance metrics and associated timetable.
Then, outline your tactics by marketing objective. Your tactics may consist of email campaigns, public relations, online and offline advertising, content marketing, direct mail, loyalty programs, events, and social media.
Have a Strategy? Now What, Right?
A marketing strategy is only as good as how well you execute it. If your marketing strategy sits on the shelf collecting dust, you’re leaving potential customers and revenue on the table collecting dust too. Don’t let that happen to you. We’re happy to help!