In today’s fast paced world, everyone wants everything now. Same can be said in marketing. There is enormous pressure on marketing to do something quickly because the company needs results. Unfortunately, if you have not taken the right approach to developing your marketing strategy and subsequent plan, these quick actions often lead to lackluster results. Lead gen, brand awareness campaigns, and others tactics are usually staples of a marketing strategy. But can you answer some fundamental questions regarding why these items showed up on your marketing strategy and plan in the first place? What tactics should I be executing? How should I execute them? Where do they live? You need fundamental inputs to develop the marketing strategy that is right for your company. Otherwise, what happens is a lot of good people, work really hard and do not achieve the intended results.
What are the Fundamental Inputs? Know your Brand. Know your Customer. Know your Strengths. Finally – know what Success looks like. Knowing your brand sounds simple enough. Try this quick test. Stick your head outside your office, or Slack a handful of your colleagues and ask them if know your company’s Mission & Vision. Even if they do, how well can they interpret it? One more quiz. Would you classify your brand as a Hero, Outlaw or something else? Knowing how to describe your brand, its characteristics and tone of voice are critical inputs into answering the “how to execute” questions in your overall marketing strategy, as well as what is on the marketing plan in the first place.
Like Mars Blackmon says “Do you know, do you know, do you know?”…
Know your customer. Again sounds simple enough. Go ask sales what the customer needs (probably not the only thing you should do). While sales can offer great insight like what challenges they experience and why they believe the company wins; the best bet to know your customer is to talk to them directly. Existing customers, past customers, potential customers should all be in the mix. Any method to collect consumer data should be deployed as well – surveys, focus groups, direct interviews. Invaluable insights like buying factors, sources used for research, why they chose you or someone else will greatly influence the what, how and where of your marketing strategy. By the way, would strongly suggest this becomes a periodic exercise as well as event driven like if a new product or service offering is being explored.
Know your strengths. Is it world-class customer service, world-class supply chain, or a truly unique product? Confirming these strengths, making sure they are different and unique from the competition will inform literally every piece of content and style that appears as tactics in your marketing strategy. You can also validate these strengths against the customer insight exercises that you have gathered. Sometimes what you think is unique and different is not really why the customer is choosing you.
Finally, know what success looks like. What are the goals and objectives of your marketing strategy? This should not be an exhaustive list of marketing metrics that you can track across your website, CRM or e-commerce platform. Rather it should be 3-5 KPI’s that marketing can own. You should also pressure test these KPI’s against the overall company’s strategy and objectives. The Marketing Objectives must align to the overall Business Objectives – otherwise the race is over before you have even begun.
Getting these marketing strategy fundamental inputs nailed is the difference between having a marketing strategy and not having one at all. Without them there is no marketing strategy even if your marketing plan is stuffed with elaborate media, social, and or lead-gen campaigns. This will result in a ton of effort and money being spent without the desired outcomes and results. Chances are, you won’t get the opportunity to spend that money again.
Check out how we helped Cortland confirm their brand via brand campaign strategy.
Northside Tool Rental knows their customers – our creative team used photography & design to help reach them right where they live.
Illumagear play to their strengths, and our marketing communications and brand strategy captured those strengths beautifully.
Like what you’re reading and seeing? Please engage with Yalo and let’s have a conversation about your marketing fundamentals.