After speaking with a lots of small to medium sized companies, it occurred to us that many struggle with what is meant by the term ‘Marketing Strategy’…We get talking to business owners and they tell us how they are promoting their services, what they are saying with their branding, they think they know who needs them and understand their consumer psychology but really they aren’t sure if any of it is working…more and more we hear this. What a gamble to take with what can be a sizeable cost…
As the conversation progresses and it rapidly becomes clear that they are throwing as much as they can at the wall hoping something will stick. Whilst this is a Marketing Strategy in itself, we aren’t sure this scattergun approach is one that will bear the most fruit.
For us the most important thing is to have that end goal, to have the journey mapped out, to know how you are getting there and very importantly, to know when you have arrived!
A strategy ultimately is just a fancy word for a plan of action to achieve a long-term goal or objective. So, being strategic in a Marketing sense is all about having a plan that defines your business goals, your marketplace, your target audience, how you are going to reach them and how you are going to evaluate success (perhaps an increase in brand awareness?). For us it is also about:
- gaining a clear sense of identity, branding and messaging
- understanding your values
- knowing why you are doing what you are doing
- who cares about what you are doing, and
- adopting a style and tone of voice that relates to your audience.
Once these component parts have been established from the get-go initiating a strategic planning piece of work is simply the next logical step. This fancy plan shouldn’t be rigid, it should not sit on your desk and never be read again. It needs to be fluid; your consumers’ needs change, your company changes, there are external factors out of your control to which you will need to adapt because if you don’t your competitors will!
Sometimes we see this planning process start and the company gets a tick in the box before the strategic input is forgotten about in the throes of everyday life. Client demands and operational intricacies steer the business away from sticking to the overarching plan. This breeds inconsistency. Inconsistency in messaging, inconsistency in frequency, style, branding, language, calls to action, you name it. Before you know it the promotional tools and the audience are so mis-aligned it is no wonder there is no sales conversion going on.
In summary, in our experience, the Marketing Strategy doesn’t need to be complex, it shouldn’t be cumbersome, but it absolutely should be your guiding light and friend!