Why you really need a marketing strategy
After working with more than 1,000 companies over my career, there is something that I have noticed about the most successful fast growing companies that often goes ignored. You can have great people, and you can have an awesome product or service, but if you don't have direction, you won't go too far. Fact.
Without a business plan in place?To prove it, think about all the big guys. Do you think the IBM's and Nike's of this world, Amazon's and Facebook's, walk around without a business plan in place? In fact, do you think any department within their organisation is going without a plan?
You don't need me to answer that. Quite simply, if the C-suite don't have a plan in place, they wouldn't have a job. Luckily for them, they get to use the services of Deloitte, Boston Consulting Group and McKinsey to write their business plans and marketing strategies, but most SMB's don't have that type of money sitting in the bank.
As a company, we could not operate without a business plan. If I thought about the years in which I did not have one that was executed, I can honestly say that those years were not so great. Scrambling along the floor never is.
A marketing strategy, like most great companiesThe next step from having a business plan is to have a marketing strategy and like most great companies, the big guys have them in place and live by them.
What they also do is they follow it through and unless it is in the marketing strategy, they don't do it. We know this first hand because we are trying to do a global deal with big tech company and they are pushing back on the starting date because it not only isn't in their plan but it's not in their budget.
In the early days of billion dollar company, WorkDay, I spoke to one of their marketing managers and they said, "we have a well-oiled marketing machine". Furthermore, their inside sales function was the main lead generator for the company. Executed to perfection, they went from a company that had a few million dollars in sales to a billion dollar company in the matter of a few years.
The benefits of a marketing strategy include:
- Provides the business withfocus and direction by identifying the best opportunities worth pursuing as well as the threats to be avoided
- Identifies the tools that the company can effectively use to fight competition and gain market share
- Saves company time and money by focusing the resources on attracting the right employees and investing only om marketing initiatives that support the overall business objectives
- Differentiates a company from competition by identifying the distinctive advantage and the supporting elements
- Translates the company vision, mission, objectives, into effective marketing initiatives
- Serves as the foundation for all your communications campaigns
- Improves the effectiveness of the marketing message to customers and partners
- Increases sales and profits with better measurement of marketing spend, and fast and effective adaptations when required.
- Creates consumer preference for the brand
What are the tangible outcomes for marketing strategy?
- Increase in sales: This is most likely the ultimate objective for your marketing efforts. This turns out to be the most significant outcome of all.
- New customers acquisition: Bringing a new customer onboard is a great news for many types of businesses, regardless of whether you sell to individuals or to companies.
- Brand awareness: When you implement a successful marketing strategy in your business, you can gain brand awareness like inbound leads, web traffic, or positive media mentions etc.
- Customer satisfaction: Over the years, marketers have been increasingly charged with raising customer satisfaction — especially if the marketing team has any product responsibility.
- A new product or solution launches: Bringing new solutions to market helps drive growth for your company . Sales indicators like inquiries, reviews, leads, or new sales of the product depending on the length of the sales cycle may have positive outcomes.
- Re-brand or re-position: Successfully re-positioning or re-branding your company or your product to accelerate growth in your business.
- Website traffic: Getting more people to show up to your website by enhancing the pageviews, number of sessions and reaches. You can also measure qualified traffic, bounce rate, conversions, time on page, or similar indicators that you got the right people to come to your site.
- A new initiative launches: You may have a new account based marketing program in the works, a CRM implementation, a new customer program, a merger, or any other strategic initiative.
Marketing strategies are your blueprint to success. Do these things and the rest will show in your bank account:
- Identify goals and objectives: By defining the vision for your team, identifying your market opportunities and core competencies, and considering the end-to-end customer journey, the first step is to clarify yourself on what you are going to do in this marketing strategy.
- Analyse the situation: A Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats (SWOT) analysis can give you a snapshot of the situations you face as you market your business.
- Create your marketing strategy: Drafting your strategies with your team — hold brainstorms, planning sessions, informal discussions, and encourage questions and feedback. It’s easier to get buy-in on strategies when you co-create them together.
- Outline your tactics. A successful marketing strategy is made up of many different tactics, including both online and offline options. To be most effective, you have to choose which methods are right for your business.
- Have a timeline/calendar: Based on the goals and objectives you’ve set for your business, create a timeline that will determine what will be completed and when.
- Measurement: Measuring the effectiveness of your marketing strategies will inform your current plan and your future efforts.
Marketing Eye has offices in Australia in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane that each have individual marketing strategies with the company having an overarching marketing strategy aligned to the business goals.