Is a Marketing Strategy Just a To Do List?
Every business has a marketing plan. A marketer’s daily task is to execute that plan. As we go down the list and “tick all the boxes”, does that mean our marketing objectives are achieved?
Despite following strictly every step of the plan, your company is still viable of being on the wrong track and falling off from your goals. Why? Because a marketing strategy does not equate to a series of tasks.
Marketing Strategies vs. Marketing Plans.
You need to stop treating your marketing strategy as a to-do list.
A marketing strategy is a comprehensive plan formulated exclusively for achieving the marketing objectives of the company. A proper marketing strategy helps your business to define the overall direction and the specific steps of how to reach those goals. It would also provide you with an ongoing, in-depth analysis of the company’s performance and its position within the industry, constantly exploring new threats and opportunities.
A well-stated strategy is fundamental to all marketing plans. Once you understand your strategy, the “to-do list” becomes clear. The marketing plan would specify the type of marketing activities your company is undertaking, with measurable metrics and attainable deadlines. In other words, while marketing plans outline the logistical details of individual campaigns, marketing strategies reflect the company’s ultimate goals and missions. The biggest challenge is to align the tasks to support the execution of the strategy.
Elements of a Marketing Strategy.
Executing a marketing strategy involves so much more work than just crossing off the boxes.
A marketing strategy must include both internal and external factors. Internal factors consist of the marketing mix, performance analysis, financial constraints, etc. External factors are components such as customer experience, competitor analysis, and the surrounding socio-economic environment.
Here is an overview of the essential elements of a marketing strategy and why it is not “just a to-do list”.
Understanding Current Position and Set Objectives.
Without a goal, there is no plan.
You must first understand where your company is standing to set forward your goals. This requires an intensive internal analysis to examine the company’s capacities, available resources, as well as identify the gaps in management and everyday operating activities. You must ensure your internal bodies are working efficiently before jumping in “the next big thing”.
Thereafter, discuss with your team to see if you want to increase brand awareness, increase sales, improve customer acquisition, etc. It is only after knowing your goals and capabilities that you can design specific marketing objectives.
One recommendation is to use the famous S.M.A.R.T approach. You must be practical to earn real outcomes. S.M.A.R.T stands for: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timely.
Segmentation, Targeting, and Positioning
The next step is to understand your position in the industry, this includes investigating your customers and your competitors. Your key to success is to serve your customers or clients better than your competitors.
Through market research, you can identify the different needs of each customer segment. It is optimal to dedicate a tailored plan to each segment to yield the best outcomes.
However, it would be almost impossible to satisfy every customer. You should aim to sell to the market segments that will be most profitable for your business. Here again, it is a must to reflect on the company missions and offerings and to identify the customer segments that your company will serve best.
Finally, you must position yourself distinctive from your competitors. For example, if your company prioritizes quality, then any marketing activity should draw attention to the high quality of all your products or services.
The competitive environment and the surrounding socio-economic factors are always changing and evolving. The key of a marketing strategy is to oversee these changes and manage potential risks. That’s why it is not simply ticking off a task list. At every step of the process, it is essential to reflect, re-evaluate, and learn from your past mistakes.
Once you have in mind a clear marketing plan, you must then decide which marketing activities will ensure your target market knows about the products or services you offer, and why they meet their needs.
There are several ways to attain this, such as direct marketing, personal selling, public relations (PR), advertising, or sales promotion. Each method has its pros and cons and will serve your products or services in different ways. Try to limit your activities to those you think will fit your target market while avoiding spending unnecessary costs on ineffective channels.
The costs of advertising and PR are astonishing. It is not practical to undertake several methods at the same time and expect to learn from your errors. Always ensure your tactics are designed accordingly to your analysis and serve the company’s final goals.
Monitoring and Evaluation
This control element not only helps you see how your strategy is performing but can also help inform your future marketing strategy.
Regular evaluation would pinpoint ineffective plans and prevent repetitive mistakes in real-time. By constantly monitoring the execution and performance of your strategy, your company would be more likely to adapt to changes, allowing room for improvement and further expansion.
With today’s technology, utilizing data would produce powerful and valuable marketing insights. A more simple, traditional approach is to ask your customer via surveys or questionnaires to gain a more personalized understanding of how you can do better.
These tasks are inseparable from the overall marketing strategy. Therefore, it cannot be carried out as an independent task. Executing a strategy requires ongoing assessment and team efforts, involving various skills and specializations at the same time.
A marketing strategy is not just a to-do list, it’s a guide for a to-do list. There is nothing worse than having well-intentioned people working very hard to accomplish the wrong things. It is dangerous to blindly do these tasks without even knowing what goals you are working towards. Executing a marketing strategy also means reaching new markets and exploring new ways of doing business. Constantly being aware of new opportunities and threats is the best way to prepare your business regarding the dynamic economic environment.
Thanks to the development of technology, there are now automated tools that can assists businesses when planning their marketing strategy. Just keep in mind, these technologies are great assets but must be used by the right owners. You are marketing and selling to real people, always remember to consider the sensitivity of markets and changing buyer behaviors. If you have any questions regarding your marketing strategy, get in contact with one of our marketing experts at Robotic Marketer today!
Image comes from Shutterstock – 425921203