3 Steps To A Winning Marketing Strategy
A marketing strategy is the combination of actions that you will carry out to reach your goals. After you define quantitative goals in your marketing plan, such as “increase sales by X% this year” or “develop a partnership with X amount of vendors”, you need to outline how to achieve that. Those are your marketing strategies.
This is the fun part. Developing marketing strategies is a measured creative process. Here’s what we mean by that:
Before you start throwing out random ideas, do your homework. You don’t need fancy or expensive research but analyzing what has worked (and what hasn’t!) for you in the past, as well as knowing what your competition is doing is a good starting point. Be overly analytical here, don’t hold onto a strategy that didn’t give you the results you wanted just because you like it.
Most industry associations provide free research to their members. Dedicate a few hours to go through their resources and jot down anything that stands out. To find the best association for your specialization, check out a list of tech and AV associations here.
Your customers are another important resource when conducting research. Don’t be afraid to ask them what they want and expect from your business. Offer satisfaction surveys, participate in industry summits, call your customers directly and ask them a few questions. What can we do to serve you better? How did you hear about us? If you could change anything about our product or service, what would it be? These are all questions that give you great insight regarding what your customers want.
Let Your Creativity Soar
Once you have a clear idea of what you’re looking to achieve and the research on hand, it’s time to let the fun begin! We repeat – and we cannot stress this enough – you must have a clear idea of your goals and have completed your research before you actively start to develop ideas. This is one of the most important and often overlooked parts of the marketing process. We see too many business owners and entrepreneurs jumping into the idea-generation phase without even defining what they want to achieve. This is what makes up the difference between marketing that gets results and wasting your money.
The objective during this brainstorming phase is to think of as many strategies as you can. Get your marketing team together, a few of your colleagues or even industry influencers. Start by sharing all your goals and the highlights from your research.
Using large sticky notes on walls or whiteboards is a great tool to focus the brainstorming session on ideas that will directly impact one of your goals. Create a column or space for each goal and write corresponding ideas beneath each one. Always include an “others” column to group random ideas that don’t respond to any of the goals, but that might be interesting to try out.
There are no bad ideas during a brainstorming session. This is not the moment to analyze if an idea will work or not. Encourage each participant to share whatever comes to mind and write it down without judgment. You’ll work on narrowing them down later.
Choose the Winners
After a good brainstorming session, you’ll end up with tons of strategy ideas. You’ll have a few that you love, others that you’re not too sure about and some that you absolutely hate. And that’s great! Just don’t let your gut alone drive this decision.
There are many strategies to narrow down ideas. The most important thing here is to make sure they’re a good fit for your brand, they help you achieve a goal, and are the best use of your resources and budget.
For more on developing a marketing plan, check out these blog posts: