Strategic Thinking

Think Strategically for Proven Results

Want proven results from your marketing- who doesn’t? To really reap the benefits of your marketing activities, you’ll need to have both a marketing strategy and a marketing plan.

Strategic marketing

Marketing Plan

The marketing plan, also sometimes referred to as a tactical plan, comes as a result of having a clearly defined strategy. With your strategy in hand, you can then create a plan that targets your audience with activities that resonate with them. e.g. If you want to target teens, you wouldn’t place an ad in a print publication as this demographic is engaged through online media. The marketing plan outlines the details of the tactics (roads) you will take to attract new business. It is a practical application of your marketing strategy, which includes details of what marketing activities you need to implement (online, website, advertising, videos, radio, etc.) to support the strategy in getting your business where you want it to go.

Marketing Strategy

The marketing strategy is your road map – the holy grail, if you will. It is shaped by your overall business goals and strong market research and includes a definition of your business, a description of your products or services, a profile of your target audiences or clients, and a definition of your company’s role in relation to the competition. The marketing strategy is essentially a document that outlines who you are, why you are unique, and what value you bring to your targeted audience.

As a strategic marketing expert, I can assure you that creating a marketing strategy is essential if you want proven results. I’ve outlined below a few of the preliminary questions you need to consider when engaging a marketing expert/agency or working with your internal team.

  1. What do you think is your unique selling proposition versus the competition?
  2. Why is this unique selling proposition compelling to your audience?
  3. Who is your target audience?
  4. Have you done any client surveys?
  5. Who are your key competitors?
  6. Have you conducted any market or competitive research?
  7. Is your pricing inline with your competitors or at parity?
  8. What is the ROI for all of your marketing tactics to date?
  9. Is your business trying to lead or follow industry pricing?

If you are serious about your marketing and want proven results, then stop buying and implementing adhoc solutions that are not tied to a strategy.

Strategy is Not Just for New Years

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAMany SMB owners take the start of a new year as their signal to think about their marketing strategy; about creating, adjusting or revising their strategy, but why do we think we should only think strategically once a year?

If you think strategically only once a year, and watch and see how the execution of the strategy plays out by the end of the year, then you are relying on one strategy to carry you through the year.  What about constantly looking at reacting to the execution with strategic responses?

With competition constantly biting at your toes, being successful means stepping up your game and constantly thinking strategically.  You might win a battle with execution, but you’ll win the war with a strong strategy.

Strategically thinking means make sure to stop and take the time to find a strategic response to what’s being implemented. If you can continually measure, track and react strategically to the execution of your plan, you can build this into your strategy.

Ultimately, this means tracking results of your campaigns and strategies and using this information to better understand your demographic, and all subsequent ways you intend to target this audience. It is reacting to what truly works for your business and taking advantage of the information you’ve uncovered.

Do you constantly revise your strategy?  If not, why not?  Do you have any stories that might be helpful for others?  I look forward to reading your comments below.