Marketing that really delivers – Strategy, not tactics

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Let’s face it: there is no lack of information and resources to turn your marketing into a rock star operation. You can attend seminars, listen to webinars and podcasts and read hundreds of blog posts. And most of us know what to do – in theory.

Why is it then that many small business owners are still missing out on the tremendous opportunities digital marketing presents to them? Why are we struggling to drive more customers into our doors and on-board more clients for our services?

The answer is pretty simple: structure and strategy.

Although no one would make the mistake of driving a car without a license (let’s just assume that..), we do this all the time in our business. Especially in the field of marketing where everybody is an expert or knows something….

But the reality is different and we see either the negative impact of a lack of structure and strategy every day in our consulting and work with our clients.

Without a marketing strategy and a marketing plan, you will get lost in the wild – every time, every day. Period. This is not debatable and there is no shortcut. Lack of structure and consistency in your marketing will put you out of business pretty quickly.

4 important questions

With this, let’s look into the four most important questions you must answer to improve the structure in your marketing:

  1. Who is your ideal client?
  2. What is your positioning in your industry?
  3. Who are your competitors and how do they differentiate themselves?
  4. What are your unique selling points and value proposition?

To Whom, what and why?

If you are ready to take this important next step and really figured out to WHOM you want to market WHAT and WHY, it’s time to act.

Sit down with your team and conduct an honest and detailed assessment of your current business and marketing activities:

  1. What have you done in the past?
  2. What worked?
  3. What didn’t?
  4. Why did it work or didn’t work?
  5. What success metrics did you apply?
  6. What budget do you have to spend on marketing and business development?
  7. What resources can you allocate for these activities?
  8. What strengths and weaknesses do these resources have? (not everybody is a good writer or graphic designer)

Now look at the answers to the 4 questions we stated above:

  • With what message can you reach your ideal client?
  • In what platforms (online and offline) can you reach your ideal client?
  • What services can you offer to attract the ideal client?

This is the starting point for your journey. From there

  •  Write down every marketing and business development activity, what goal is attached to it and how you define success
  • Plan the team for each activity, what collateral is needed to support it and in what time period you want to achieve what results.

This is your map! It allows you to come back and check if you’re still on track. It shortens discussion about the newest social media platform and if you should be on it right away (and let me tell you this: in most cases you don’t..). It keeps you on track to measure your success and failure and to adjust the plan accordingly.

At the end of the day, marketers don’t have a magic wand. But we do have a toolbox with many different elements to reach your target audience, identify leads and convert them into customers, raise awareness and develop a strong partnership. The only thing it needs to work well? A good strategy, a detailed plan and the consistent measurement of all marketing activities.

Clearly, it’s not rocket science, however it’s still a large hurdle for many small businesses.

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