Ads are everywhere. Billboards, television, radio, pop-ups. It’s hard to even get through a football game anymore without a flood of sponsorships or commercials—the average NFL fan will watch 23.5 hours’ worth of commercials over a season.
You probably feel like your company’s marketing is getting lost in the noise And you’re not alone. One-in-two entrepreneurs can’t tell if their marketing efforts are effective, and 14% think it’s a waste of time. All of this can be traced back to a common problem—not having a plan.
Here’s what often happens: on a call, or around conference table, someone will say, “why don’t we do _____?” Fill in this blank with, “email blasts,” “search engine optimization,” “event sponsorships,” “media placement,” etc. Tactics expand, strategy never develops, money is wasted.
To ensure this doesn’t happen in your company, let’s build out a game plan. Since strategy begins with “s,” we boiled our points to the, “The 5 S’s of Building a Marketing Strategy.”
Set a Goal
Races need finish lines and strategies need benchmarks. It doesn’t matter if they are qualitative or quantitative, goals need to be established. Are you looking to raise revenue, grow your stature among the industry, or maybe change the perception of your business? A firm grasp of where you are going keeps your team focused and your marketing strategy on point.
You wouldn’t use an axe to do a scalpel’s job. A marketing budget should be equal to the goals you are trying to achieve. In the same vein, your brand doesn’t become a household name overnight. Sometimes a bigger splash requires a bigger investment: money doesn’t always buy happiness, but it can buy brand impressions. But remember, there are plenty of opportunities to promote your company or your product without spending a dime. Leveraging social media and word of mouth can be powerful tools to get your brand in front of potential customers or clients.
The point of all of this is to develop an image of “you” into the minds of others—before painting this picture you need to know who “you” are. What is your business? Who are your customers? What is your product? Do you have an “Elevator Pitch?” A central vision of how you want others to view your company should be clear and concise. This is your “brand.” Slogans, taglines, etc. will come later. Consistency is key and laying this foundation is paramount.
Here is where tactics and implementation come into play. How is your business going to achieve your marketing goals and relay your brand? First, define your audience and look at the tools you have available. In many cases, you have all the manpower and delivery systems you need, but evaluating your target market is important. A good rule of thumb is to ask “how” and “who” for all marketing decisions. Who is your “typical” customer? Is there a market or demographic you’re looking to break into? Do you need to hire an outside firm to lend expertise? Depending on your goals, the answers to these questions can vary greatly, but they will all guide your path moving forward.
Now you can bring it all together. Marketing is all about content and placement; there needs to be a timeline that governs when content is developed, where it’s going, and how it gets there. A schedule keeps your strategy on-point and lays out projects, delivery dates, and distribution. Keeping this document flexible, accurate, and timely separates those who have a true marketing strategy and those who are just winging it.
That’s it! The hardest part of this entire process is sticking to the strategy and seeing it through implementation. As workload builds, marketing priorities can take a backseat at times. Establishing defined goals, a clear vision, and a manageable distribution schedule is the foundation of successful external presence. Marketing can be simple; but like everything else, it requires diligence and direction … and a little creativity never hurts!