A significant and time-consuming part of working with a new client is developing their marketing strategy.
That effort is worth it though. The strategy is the all-important engine that will drive their marketing train.
Developing a good strategy requires hours of research, interviews, and planning to uncover the just-right course of action that will accomplish their goals.
For many marketers, however, the impulse exists to bypass the strategy and jump straight into tactics.
Marketing Strategy: Where to Start
Strategy answers the why, but also the who, what, when and where. Your strategy is the plan of action you’ll take to achieve your goals. Your marketing master plan.
Without knowing who you are talking (marketing) to, and what you need to say to that audience, planning tactics becomes a much harder prospect.
Creating a strategy involves research, fact-finding, debate, brainstorming, and any other means necessary to arrive at a written plan that you can effectively follow and measure against.
WHERE DO TACTICS COME IN?
If the strategy is all of the “W’s” (who, what, why, when, where), then tactics are the “h” (how)!
Putting tactics before a strategy is where many of your competitors are getting it wrong.
Tactics are the day-to-day actions that you will engage in to achieve your goals- the outlined activities from your strategy.
SELL THE IMPORTANCE OF STRATEGY TO YOUR TEAM.
Look. We know that sometimes (even when the marketing team knows it’s best) strategies are overlooked because your management team doesn’t see the point. They see their competition on a billboard, Twitter, and webinars and just can. not. wait.
If your higher-ups don’t see the benefit of a strategy and want to see you “taking action now”, it’s important to educate them on why this approach is worth the time investment.
Here are some helpful tips:
1. Explain the importance of having a strategy in deciding the specific tactics and setting the pace of these tactics.
2. Explain the importance of making an investment in the right strategic plan. Unlike your tactics, comprehensive strategic research isn’t something that needs to be done often. And it helps bring the entire team on board with your business goals.
3. A strategy helps involve the whole team and receive their valuable input. It’s a way to forge relationships with sales, development, marketing and executives that can be valuable in later implementing the tactics. Everyone has “buy in”.
WHAT YOU CAN EXPECT FROM YOUR STRATEGY.
There are no shortcuts to this process. When completed, your strategy should include your audience, marketing trends and opportunities, your competition, strengths and weaknesses, overall goals and more. And once you have all of the facts in place, you can start to mold it into a complete picture as you insert your products or services into the narrative.
A solid marketing strategy is your brand’s key to success. And it’s creation will make planning all of your tactics so much easier.
Good luck and happy strategizing!