Here are some guidelines for developing and maintaining the most important aspect of successful marketing – your strategy.
Whenever we discuss marketing or sales strategy with a client, we receive one of three reactions:
- The defensive response: “I’ve tried it before, and it never worked.”
- The fearful response: “I have no idea where to start.”
- The ‘we’ve been there, done that’ response: “Seriously?” complemented with an old-fashioned eye roll
In my opinion, these responses stem from business owners and managers either not knowing what to do or, even worse, overcomplicating the process. You’ve probably received similar responses when clients have walked into your offices. So, does marketing need to be difficult or can you make it easy?
An explicit strategy is a must if you want sustained success
Having a strategy is a valuable starting point for marketing. This article will give you a focus and enable you and your entire business to drive towards a common goal.
For me, there are several benefits to having a strategy, including:
- A chance to reflect on what you’ve done, what’s worked, what hasn’t, and what you need to change
- The ability to engage your team and tap into their expertise and knowledge
- A chance to focus on your client by putting yourself in their shoes and asking why they would buy from you.
Five tips for building a winning strategy
- Prioritise it
It’s a common excuse: “We’re so busy and have no time.” I’m sure there are some parallels here with your clients. I bet they felt that they were too busy and finding the time to engage with a planner seemed like a hassle. “I’m too busy to get wealthy,” seems like a silly excuse. Look, everyone has time to focus on planning, you need to prioritise it. This can be as simple as putting the strategy meeting in the team’s collective. Then set firm target dates and deliverables and get the strategy written. Accept no excuses. If you’re an owner or a director, show your team the timelines are essential by sticking to them yourself.
- Eliminate the distractions
Take yourself out of the office for your planning sessions. Taking the team offsite eliminates the distraction of day-to-day business. Getting away from the office helps improve the whole process, from building your strategy, through to regularly reviewing it.
- Be open-minded
No matter who you are or what your background is, you don’t have all the answers.
Be prepared for your team, colleagues or partners to challenge your ideas, and be prepared to accept other opinions. Taking a dogmatic approach to strategy is a sure-fire way to mess it up.
- Make it achievable
I’ve seen plans built that are 50 pages long or more or have hundreds of elements. Guess what? No one follows them.
Therefore, it’s essential that your strategy is something you can achieve. If you have more than four core elements in a strategy, you’ve got too many.
- Live it
It’s a total waste of time and money to build a marketing strategy, engage your team, agree on your direction, then go back to the office and completely ignore it.
Hold yourself accountable. If you as a leader in your business stick to the marketing strategy, the chances are the rest of the team will follow. If you return to the days of impromptu marketing, so will everyone around you. If you want your marketing strategy to work, you need to live it and stick to it.