Creating a strategy for your marketing is essential to focusing your efforts and achieving success. As author and business strategist Michael Porter says: “a business without a strategy is willing to try anything.”
In the online marketing environment, the opportunities for that “anything” are endless. Without a solid strategy in place, your resources and budget will be pulled in a myriad of different directions and your chances of success will be the same as at a roulette table.
Setting your strategy doesn’t have to be a daunting task. Here, we offer six steps to start the process and get you thinking about the tactics that will be most effective for your business and how to execute them. We have also included a FREE downloadable worksheet to help walk you through this process.
Step 1 – Understand your customers
It’s important to not focus on yourself but focus on your customers and why you’re important to them. Your customers are the oxygen to your business; if you don’t have oxygen you die. Look at why they might choose you over your competitors and the benefits you bring. Take the time to do the research, it will be invaluable to informing your entire strategy and achieving your goals.
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Step 2 Establish your brand
It’s important to understand that your brand is not your logo. The concept of Brand is not even a tangible object. Broadly speaking, your brand is a perception. It’s what people say about you. To create a solid brand you need to create a strategy, define your personality, build your brand assets and visually represent what your business stands for.
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Step 3 Build your strategy
Think of your marketing plan as your action plan, it outlines the who, what, where and how. Know what your competitors are doing and what you can offer that is different, better or unique. Know where your audience is, the channels they use and how they like to be communicated with. Spend time understanding the resources required to reach that audience.
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Step 4 Align internally
A strategy only works if everyone and everything in your business is onboard. This even includes your metrics. At Apple retail stores their key motivator is creating an unforgettable brand experience for customers. Therefore staff don’t have sales targets. The key sales metric is NPS (positive customer feedback).
Can you imagine trying to create a great brand experience on an aggressive sales floor – it just wouldn’t work! Keeping everyone on the same page also means more productivity, this means more effort is coordinated to achieving your objectives.
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Step 5 Create your tools
Make sure everything your brand touches is consistent, from web to brochures, to uniforms to stores. Keep it sharp and review it as your brand evolves. If you don’t have a visual style guide and a content style guide in place then it’s time to invest in spelling out how you want your brand to appear.
Your tools include every element you need to build to execute your strategy. This includes things such as your website, your communications strategy, your marketing collateral and your photography.
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Step 6 Integrate comms
When putting your message out there don’t confuse people. No matter the channel, keep your message clear and consistent – the same style and messaging on every channel, every time.
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Time for action
Download our worksheet for a list of questions you should be asking at each of these steps. This forms a great base to direct your thinking and help you focus on the essential elements of your marketing strategy.
There is no magic formula to marketing and the process never really ends. Each new iteration begins with a strategy that you can bring it to life, test, watch and learn from. Then you start again, refining and learning … and evolving.
Ready to achieve more?
Are you ready to win more customers and boost your profits for the new 17/18 Financial Year? Now is the perfect time to get your ‘game-plan’ sorted and map out your marketing strategy. If you need help consolidating your marketing strategy, our team at Thirst Creative can assist you.