ever made one of these marketing mistakes?
- Developing a brand with no distinct position in the marketplace
- Creating content that doesn’t truly speak to customer needs and wants
- Buying into marketing products or services that don’t help you meet your goals
These are just a few of the expensive mistakes that happen when you skip the strategy step of the marketing process.
People skip strategy for a number of reasons: they think they intuitively know what needs to be done, they think they don’t have time for strategy, or maybe they just like throwing money away. Don’t be one of those people.
- Let’s address the first excuse: “We already know what we need.”
Sometimes that’s true—if your organization spends significant time and energy talking to customers one-on-one about what they want from you, what they need from you, and why they keep coming back. But you have to do it often, because (wait for it)… customers are people, and their needs, wants and motivations change over time. There will also be new customers constantly coming into the fold. It’s not enough to reach out once every three years to learn what they’re thinking. And you’ll have to actually use what you learn to make meaningful changes to the customer experience.
- And the next: “We don’t have time.”
The people in charge of marketing are usually juggling multiple responsibilities. They’re under pressure to execute in rapid fashion, allowing little time to evaluate their actions before or after they’re taken. This invariably leads to decisions that don’t produce positive change—either nothing happens, or things change for the worse. Taking the time to work through strategy is time well spent. Your marketing will be more effective, and you will likely save time during other steps of the marketing process because you’ve established specific goals and focused your efforts.
- And my favorite: “We want to spend our money on (the design/the content).”
Unless you’ve already done your homework (see excuse #1) we’re going to need to invest some effort on strategy—whether it’s surveying customers, interviewing employees, conducting a work session, doing some competitive analysis, or all of the above. Otherwise, you may as well burn the money you’re going to spend on your new logo/website/content. It will be equally effective—and you’ll be done faster!
what does strategy look like?
It depends on your product or service, your market, what (reliable) information you already have, and what strategy pieces may already be in place. It can include any of the following, among others:
- Competitive analysis
- Brand guide (values, positioning, voice, etc.)
- Messaging platform
- Marketing plan (goals, challenges, audiences, tactics)
- Content strategy
- Creative brief
There is a more components-based list of key marketing elements on my blog: https://wholebraincreative.com/must-haves-marketing-checklist/. All of these play into the strategy picture and can help keep your marketing efforts on the right track.
Give me a call or drop me an email. I’d be happy to share more on my approach to strategy and how I’ve used it to help clients like these:
- the regional facilities contracting company that wanted to increase their proposal win rate;
- the rural hospital that needed to update and revamp their brand; and,
- the East Coast tech firm that wanted to claim a more competitive position in their market.
I look forward to hearing from you!