Vision without action is a daydream.
Action without vision is a nightmare.
So many companies do not have a clear and measurable business plan, sales or marketing strategy. They bumble along, tapping up existing contacts, relying on past successes and in many ways leaving their future all to chance. For some this works but just imagine what could be achieved with a little vision and planning.
A truly successful company doesn’t leave it all to chance. It grabs hold of the reigns and masterminds it future. To do this, it needs a business plan and subsequent departmental plans such as sales, product and marketing strategies to ensure the over-arching business plan objectives are achieved.
It all sounds like quite a lot of planning, but without giving some key aspects careful consideration, how do you know what makes your company stand out from the competition? How do you know which are the most lucrative markets to target? And how do you know if your products are meeting the needs of your future customers?
A marketing strategy provides the answers to all of the above and more. If created and executed correctly, it provides a deep and detailed understanding of your business and how to grow it.
Usually a marketing strategy will take a look at where your company is right now, it will examine competition, target customers, channels to market, USPs, financial performance, product, price, and profitability.
This understanding will allow you to clearly define key strategic objectives. These can include business growth, market diversification, new product launches, customer loyalty, and brand awareness. We’ve all heard of SMART objectives right? So any good marketing strategy will ensure its objectives are just that.
The strategy will outline how you are going to meet each objective. This might include establishing or improving your company’s online presence, harnessing social media, positioning your company as a thought leader, participating in industry events, networking, advertising, PR, the options are vast but all must relate to how they are going to help you achieve your objectives.
Once the strategy is agreed, then you need to create a detailed action plan. This plan will include all of the actions needed to deliver the key deliverables required to meet the objectives of the strategy. The plan may include daily, weekly, monthly or even annual tasks. It will highlight who else needs to be involved and what role they will need to play. For example if you are planning on launching a new online presence, do you need an effective SEO and website design partner or can you do it all in house? Every action needs to a deadline and an owner and the plan needs to be executed in line with the deadlines.
Finally, the strategy needs to include details of how you will measure success. Every marketing activity needs to be measured for return on investment. Metrics are critical to understanding which marketing activities have worked and which have delivered the most return on investment (ROI). It allows you to review performance and tweak the strategy if need be.
Each strategy will have different metrics depending on what the objectives are. They may include website visitors, number of social media followers, number of new leads, and amount of PR coverage.
Do I need a marketing strategy?
Without a doubt YES! However are you going to grow your company, diversify and reach your true potential without one? A marketing strategy provides you with a clear vision and furnishes you with the tools to achieve it.
Jo Coxhill is a seasoned marketing expert and can help you on the road to success. Contact Jo for a free Discovery session.