Why you need a marketing strategy
All too often clients come to a marketing agency in the Cayman Islands requesting a stellar strategy that achieves all of the organisation’s lofty goals without having defined clearly what the ultimate business goals are; who the target buyer is; or, what type of budget is available.
The initial ask is not wrong, per se. There are just a few steps the agency and client need to collaborate on before working out the details of the strategy. Otherwise, the tactics do not provide actual results or return on investment.
To help you prepare for your next strategy ask, let’s look at what a strategy is, why you need one, and how to overcome hurdles so that you remain committed to the process once you begin.
After reading this article you’ll be ready to explore the five parts that make up a solid marketing strategy.
What could go wrong with not following a marketing strategy?
It’s true that planning takes time. Some people prefer to skip the process, especially when deadlines are tight and higher-ups are asking once again, “what have you done for me lately?” Let’s explore examples of how not having a strategy can lead to wasted resources.
Locally, a marketing company in Cayman decided to spend $4,000 a month on cinema advertising. The video they played started off with this rhetorical question, “Are you a doctor’s office looking for medical devices?” Then the video continued to share how they can deliver this service.
I repeat – $4,000 a month. This is what they spent to share an entirely irrelevant video with rooms full of people who do not work in the medical field.
Marketing strategy defined
A marketing strategy by basic definition is a blueprint of the marketing-related activity you will dedicate resources and energy to grow your business or reach a pre-identified goal. It lays out how to reach your customers (or other intended audience) based on their unique attributes while aligned with your budget.
A marketing strategy helps you:
- Identify or define a problem you are trying to solve or an opportunity you want to leverage.
- Articulate who your customer or target audience is
- Determine your positioning within the marketplace
- Set goals and objectives
- Identify tactics that will help the problem or opportunity
- Know what success looks like and how to measure it
- Structure tactics and allocate budgets based on priorities
- Know when to change direction, say yes (or no) to new challenges or opportunities that arise
- Establish a timeline for implementation
- Validate your budget, marketing spend and resource allocation
Hurdles to making a strategy and how to overcome
Many people never understand why they need a marketing strategy because they get caught up on the items they lack. Below we outline the most common hurdles and how to overcome them.
Creating a strategy does take time but it pays off. It follows the measure twice, cut once approach in terms of not needing to redo work; not hitting unforeseen roadblocks; and keeping all parties on the same page. You must approach it as an upfront investment that you see a return on in the long run. Companies with strong project managers or operations teams will be able to justify the investment more easily as they usually employ tracking mechanisms to measure productivity and profitability for projects.
Being strategic and having a plan are two different things. Not knowing the difference leads many to think that they have created a strategy when they really have just spit out a list of disconnected tactics.
The difference? A plan shows that you will place digital banner ads with your company’s logo and key tagline. A strategy on the other hand outlines how the messages on your ad will relate to your target audience; where the ads will be placed in relation to where your audience shops online; and then measures the impact against objectives.
Not every single project may need an in-depth strategy. Start out with the most important
business needs and work your way up to cover more. Leveraging other departments and staff
to fill in knowledge gaps will rapidly increase the time it takes to come up with research,
customer information, and past performance metrics. If you do not have data, there are plenty
of third-party articles, tutorials, and nonprofit and professional organizations that can provide proof points.