Marketing strategy is a vital ingredient when working on your marketing plan and tactics. Deciding what you will do as part of the marketing for your business is not necessarily difficult. Marketing is not new; there are thousands of books you can read on what to implement. Deciding on why you are going to implement activities shouldn’t be as easy though, because strategies should be unique to your business. I like to think of the marketing strategy as the framework to a house. Hidden, but if done properly, sets the foundations to the building’s success. So what exactly is a marketing strategy? One of my study texts says it is: “The marketing logic by which the business unit hopes to achieve its marketing objectives.” (Principles of Marketing; Kotler, Adam, Brown, Armstrong). It follows to outline a position strategy comprising of the 4 Ps – Price, Place, Product, Promotion. Understand? Maybe, maybe not.
What I like to do is ask the following questions to consolidate a firm understanding of your Marketing Strategy.
Why do you want to implement the tactic? Your why for considering a marketing tactic is the lynchpin to your marketing strategy. Often your why/s will be basic marketing outcomes around wanting to inform prospects that your product exists so they will enter your sales pipeline. Sometimes it will be to let your current customers know about an offering to continue the sales process. Other times it may be goodwill, to build trust within your tribe of customers and prospects. Be honest with your why. If it is because someone told you or everyone’s doing it, you’re possibly not in a good place to start. Tip: If you don’t know why you are starting a marketing activity, don’t start it.
What do you want to achieve? Better yet, as the CEO for one of my clients plainly says: What will success look like? Consider what your goal is for the marketing, keeping it within a SMART framework (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, Timely). This could be, for example: Increase enquiries for my product by 15% within the next 3 months. Will your planned marketing activity help you reach this goal? Will you be able to measure results (its success/failure)?
Tip: If you don’t know what you want to achieve, don’t start it. How will you market the activity? It’s great having ideas, but make sure you know how you will implement the tactic. Also ensure you know how you will deliver on the promise/s you are marketing. And don’t forget to consider how you will measure results of your “what”.
Tip: If you don’t know how you are going to implement the marketing, don’t start it. Where are you marketing? This covers research/understanding of your product’s demographics and target market (ideal customers) and the marketing streams/methods to use. Be creative and remember to capture prospects’ different communication styles; some like print, others online, some face-face. Tip: If you don’t know where you will be marketing, don’t start it.
Who will implement? Will you implement the marketing in-house or outsource? Will it be the same person/ doing the entire process or will different people have different roles? Does everyone know what’s required and have the skill-set to set-up, launch and review? Tip: If you don’t know who will implement the marketing’s entire process, don’t start it.
When will the marketing start? Pick a date and try and stick with it. As important as the above steps are to consolidate your marketing strategy and plan, don’t get too stuck navel gazing – sometimes you just need to get started. But, importantly, don’t launch and forget. Set dates to review what you wanted to achieve – is the marketing a success or require changes?
Figuring out the above questions doesn’t need to be a ‘War & Peace’ document, but if you spend time answering each question, I assure you the extra time will alleviate wasted time, money and effort. And, final tip: If you’re paying a Marketing Consultant, make sure they can answer why, what, how, where, who and when for your marketing. If they can’t, don’t start!