Before I get into WHY you need a marketing strategy, let me ask you a question; Do you or your organisation even have a Marketing Strategy in place? Some of you (a lot of you, I hope), at this point, will now be sitting up very tall and proud, safe in the knowledge that ‘YES’ you have a marketing strategy. Others will be slouching down in their chairs, knowing all too well that they know they should have one, but they don’t. There will also be others amongst us that are not quite sure what would constitute a marketing strategy, so let’s start off by defining what we mean.
What is a Marketing Strategy?
So here’s Google’s definition…
I love the term ‘plan of action’, it gives us clarity and direction. it lays out exactly what we need to do and it doesn’t leave anything to our imagination. A marketing strategy can take many forms. There are lots of templates available online (I will upload mine at some point soon – I promise) and as G’s definition suggests, the content can be quite broad. They can be a single page of A4 or hundreds of pages, it doesn’t matter. As long as they give clear direction on how to achieve your marketing objectives, it counts.
When working with clients, I always ask if they have a marketing strategy and I often get met with the response “Oh Yes, I do, but it’s in my head’. Let’s get one thing straight… If it’s not written down on paper or in a document it’s not a strategy! Get it written down.
So why do I need a Marketing Strategy?
Not having a marketing strategy is like setting off on a long car journey without knowing where you are going. You wouldn’t just get in the car without the faintest idea of where you were going, and just hope that you could wing it, yet time after time I speak with companies who don’t have ANYTHING in place. The most recent instance of this was a sub-division of a global brand, I promise you’ve heard of.
Here are the main reasons why you just absolutely have to have a strategy document in place.
- Clarity & vision – Once in place, your marketing strategy is going to give you clarity and vision. It helps you drill down specific, measurable targets that will propel you towards your core objectives. Moreover, you will know exactly how you are going to get there and the marketing activities you need to engage in to hit your goals.
- Order amongst chaos – I can’t speak for every strategy, but when I am working clients to produce a strategy, I make sure we end up with a clear order in which we do things. I recently worked with a client who came to me after burning through a good chunk of money on Google Adwords. Adwords is a great way to generate revenue pretty much instantly IF it is a part of your strategy. If this client had of had a strategy in place they, would have weighed up the risk and reward of an Adwords campaign and known that it was too risky – It just wasn’t where their target audience was.
- 90-day plan – Having an order-of-play allows you to identify everything that you need to do in the next 90 days. My good friend Tony Brooks talks about this in depth in his book PI Leadership: The 7 Positive Insight Steps To Peak Performance Leadership.
- Everybody is on the same sheet – There is no grey area. Everybody involved knows exactly what the plan is and the order in which to execute things.
- It is a reference point – We all get distracted now and again, and we all can get pulled off track from time to time. I revisit mine every couple of months. Your marketing strategy is a great tool for just reaffirming that you’re heading in the right direction, and of you’re not, then it helps you to get back on track. How many times have you been in the middle of something, and the next minute, you realise you’ve been totally sidetracked and now you’re in the middle of something else, that was never even a thing you were going to do?
I really could go on all night about why you need a marketing strategy in place, but hopefully, this is enough to persuade you that it is an integral part of any businesses higher level strategy. In time I am going to put together a lot more resources and share them with you on the blog, so be sure to sign up to my newsletter to keep up to date. In the meantime, if putting together a strategy is something you’d like me to help you with, you should absolutely get in touch via the form on the contact page.
I’d love to hear from you, so please feel free to share your experiences below in the comments.