Too often, marketers cut right to the promotion spending (advertising methods, marketing collateral, etc.) when building a marketing strategy. Though it may seem that skipping any of these five elements of creating a marketing plan could save you time or money, this couldn’t be further from the truth.
Element #1: Research
Market research is key. There is no way to know if your advertising message is on point if you don’t ask your clients. Though it might seem obvious what you should be doing for marketing, you need client input and market research data to correctly pinpoint the most successful messaging for your business.
Consider asking whether they are happy with your pricing and your service offerings. You might receive some feedback that takes your business in a completely unexpected direction — or one you had considered but had been hesitant to embrace.
Element #2: Pricing
Some people think that it will work just as well to form their marketing strategy without examining their current pricing. The problem is, pricing is a CRITICAL part of your strategy because it often makes the difference as to whether clients will actually buy. Pricing your goods or services too low or too high can drive clients away or simply make your competitors the more attractive option. If anything, pricing is one of the first aspects of your business that you should examine when creating or revising your marketing strategy. As mentioned in Element 1 – include this in your research.
Element #3: Your Offering
This is very similar to the thinking on pricing — the idea that you don’t necessarily need to closely examine your current service or product offerings when creating your marketing strategy. Again, this is a mistake. Sometimes, the factor that is losing you sales is that one of your competitors is offering something unique that is bringing people in the door. Maybe you offer Service A; but they’re offering Services A, B and C and it’s an offer your clients can’t resist. Do your research! You need to know the gaps in your service offering, and fix them. No amount of advertising can overcome a weak offering in the long run.
Element #4: Sales Support
Quite simply: your marketing plan absolutely needs to involve your sales team, and selling strategy at every step. Your marketing tools should deliver to your sales force, and their sales tools should deliver to your marketing. As you formulate your marketing strategy, stay in communication with your sales team and find out what they need and what will help them to generate leads and close sales – it could be memberships to key industry associations, sales training, or even better database funnel setup. Regardless how well you drive leads in the door, if the sales team cannot track and close the leads, you will not achieve the revenue you need.
Element #5: Creativity
Some businesses, specifically those that are in very technical industries, think that if they use creativity in their marketing they won’t be taken seriously. Creativity is a weapon against boredom, and a bored, disengaged audience is the killer of all marketing. The right visual strategy (and it needs to be ON POINT with what you are saying about your brand) can set a mood and brand tone for a company that is memorable and sets them apart, i.e fuzzy animals make a company seem friendly…talking robots high-tech, you get the idea. No matter the industry you’re in, creativity can take all of the spending you do and make it dramatically more effective.
The point is, marketing strategy is a lot more than spending a budget. If your ultimate goal is to make that top-line revenue roll in the door, and it should be, there are all kinds of obstacles you need to consider. Get it right, and you’ve got a strategy, not just a bunch of marketing.
If you need a hand with any of these points, we can help! Click here to get in touch.