A plan should always come before an action. A well-developed marketing plan keeps everything on track and establishes steps that ultimately lead to success.
With a marketing strategy, you’re more likely to accomplish the goal or close the gap between where you want to be and where you currently are. Without a well-thought-out strategy, projects are reactive and can waste time, money, and energy resources.
Before a company puts more focus and resources toward marketing its business, it’s important to have a plan in place so you know where you’re going and what you’re trying to accomplish.
If you’re ready to take your company’s marketing strategy to the next level, contact the experienced marketers at Valve+Meter Performance Marketing today.
Tactics or Strategy? You Need Both to Succeed
It’s common for a company to see the need for specific tactics, such as an updated website or a promotion. Without a strategy, though, these tactics are reactive and, if anything, maintain the status quo. Strategy, on the other hand, grows companies.
The strategy should drive any campaign, and data inform the best strategies. Data can be gleaned from several sources, such as focus groups, surveys, digital marketing analytics or sales. At Valve+Meter Performance Marketing, we don’t move an inch until we have data to support specific directions, personas, targets, and channels.
Tactics, meanwhile, are the products supporting your strategy that move buyers along their journey, increasing clicks to conversions or decreasing bounce rates. Examples of tactics include a new website, a direct mail postcard, a public relations pitch, or a lead generation email paired with a tailored landing page.
Remember, it’s not tactics or strategy. It’s both. Tactics are designed to support your marketing strategy. In performance marketing agencies like Valve+Meter, tactics can be jettisoned if the strategy dictates it.
Reasons to Develop a Marketing Strategy First
When beginning a marketing campaign, one of the reasons it’s important to have a plan is to ensure the company’s resources are properly allocated. Whether these resources come in the form of money, time or anything else, it’s important to lay out exactly what the company plans to do so that none of the available resources are wasted.
For example, a company that is trying to expand its online presence might want to use a mix of both search engine optimization and pay-per-click to gain some more traffic. Without a strategy, they might end up overspending in one area and finding themselves without enough money to adequately explore the other area or having to go over budget.
A marketing strategy can help a business gain a competitive advantage regarding their spending and ensure they have the resources to tackle both areas as they see fit.
As hard as we try, not all marketing efforts will succeed. It’s common to see a well-thought-out plan not be as successful as envisioned.
When marketing efforts fail, it’s important to have an established fallback plan. With a fallback strategy, you can quickly turn your focus from the marketing strategy that didn’t work, toward another strategy that may bring more success. That way, you’ll be able to limit the damage taken by the unsuccessful strategy and still bring in some success at the end of the campaign.
As simple as it may seem, having a marketing strategy is a great way to ensure everyone is aware of how the marketing efforts will be implemented. Employees who are confused about their specific roles or the project’s end goal can severely hinder the company’s progress.
To prevent this, establish a plan and walk your employees through it. This will help them identify exactly what their jobs are.
Contact Valve+Meter to Discuss Marketing Strategy
It’s important to develop a marketing strategy first. Valve+Meter has years of experience in helping clients develop marketing strategies and plans that work for them. Once we understand a client’s business strategy, strengths, and weaknesses, we will design a performance marketing strategy. If we can assist your business in making and developing a marketing strategy tailored to your company, give us a call today!
The 6 Essentials to Strategic Planning
More than just an overhyped buzzword, strategic planning gets to the core of your business and its success. According to Business Dictionary, strategic planning is, “A systematic process of envisioning a desired future, and translating this vision into broadly defined goals or objectives and a sequence of steps to achieve them.”
Sounds straightforward, right? Many of us, as key decision makers and leaders within our businesses, would argue that this is what we do on a daily basis. Successful strategic planning, however, does require a few essential ingredients that sometimes fall to the wayside as we get caught up in the running of our businesses.
Master these six aspects of strategic planning to reach your goals:
- Understand your “why.” In the book, The Trusted Advisor, the authors pose the idea that technical mastery of one’s discipline is not enough. The insightful book makes the argument that to gain the wealth and success of a business icon like Bill Gates, you have to care more about writing good code than about being rich. The deep understanding of, not just where you’re trying to go, but more importantly, why you’re trying to get there is a key aspect of strategic planning.
- Evaluate internal obstacles. Growth is great, but not without its challenges. Your strategic plan should work within limitations that avoid growth so rapid that your organization can’t withstand it. Assess capacity, resources and appetite for growth to ensure that your operational planning matches your strategic planning.
- Get buy-in. This is possibly the most important aspect of your strategic planning. One person (even if his/her title is CEO) cannot carry the torch for a company’s strategy. It’s mission-critical that your strategy has buy-in from top executives down to the boots on the ground. Make sure the people on your team are bought in to your vision and understand their role in achieving your organizational goals.
- Have a clear and quantifiable goal. The infamous business philosopher, Peter Drucker was quoted as saying, “If you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it.” Your strategy must have a goal clear enough to put into an elevator pitch and a metric to quantify its success.
- Bring it to life. Strategic planning needs internal marketing to succeed. Spend time and effort continuously reinforcing it in every internal discussion. Take routine steps back to evaluate your business, asking questions like: do I have the right people, skills, capabilities, systems and processes to support my vision?
- Measure it. Set milestones weekly, monthly and quarterly to monitor your strategic results are on track, pivoting as necessary. Be sure to celebrate wins and look for ways to overcome challenges that slow down progress.
Strategic planning is more than a mission statement or a to-do list; it’s the actual framework that will shape and affect all of your business decisions. By focusing on these six ingredients when developing your strategy, you will find that your day-to-day activities will support and propel this strategy forward or you’ll learn through measurement and review that you shouldn’t be doing them!
The Importance of Creating Scalable Systems in a Growing Company
There is nothing quite like experiencing extreme growth to expose the weaknesses in your company’s processes and systems. Without effective systems, the same problem can be solved differently from week to week, leading to chaos, confusion and often costly mistakes.
Communication gaps can cause disruption in the supply chain, and perhaps worst of all, company leaders are forced to oversee every aspect of a company’s operations in order to keep the organization moving forward. This naturally leads to employee issues, as motivated employees become frustrated by perceived micro-management, or unmotivated employees fall back on poorly devised systems as an excuse for lack of performance.
The creation of systems and processes that can stand the test of time will help strengthen the operations of your company and create an efficient pathway to growth.
Management has an opportunity to codify business rules and preferred operating procedures
Guardrails can be established to allow employees the freedom to make decisions within the framework of the approved process
Robust documentation leads to consistency and accountability across all employees and provides ease of transfer in the event an employee leaves
Mistakes are reduced and processes can be refined over time in order to optimize results
Demonstrating mastery of systems and processes allows employees to show their readiness for more responsibility
In a company with high growth goals, systems become the ONLY way you can scale quickly while delivering on client promises. A good process is:
One that contains all of the steps and expected outcomes of the process then is tested and iterated before it is documented
Should be crafted to support long-term growth goals (plan for the company you want to become as opposed to the company you are today)
Communicated and trained so all appropriate team members can become proficient
Supported by a management team who absolutely insists on utilization
Building a culture of standard systems and processes can be the difference in achieving your growth goals and winning with clients. To hear how we use documented systems and processes to achieve growth for ourselves and our clients, give us a call.
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We’re ready when you are. Schedule a Discovery Call today and we’ll provide a free assessment of where you are now and discuss how to get where you want to be.