People usually break down a marketing strategy to the same repeated elements: target audience, unique value proposition, valuable content and using the correct marketing tools. All of these are important elements and the foundation to any effective marketing activity. Here are 3 OTHER elements of a marketing strategy often flowing beneath the surface of your strategy that directly affect your bottom line along with a quick guideline on using these elements to improve your overall marketing effectiveness.
1. Internal Marketing Strategy Have an understanding of how the pieces of your marketing and your business fit together and the role they play. Your internal structures give you the critical data needed to measure the effectiveness of your external marketing tools.
I know what you are thinking, “Kristin, I just need more leads, more leads will solve all of my marketing problems – not fixing my internal data.” Of the hundreds of organizations I have worked with, generating new leads is a small piece of the problem. Generating new leads is the most expensive portion of your marketing strategy. I had a client that wanted to focus on generating more leads…more leads… more leads…. more leads….however they did not have any tracking tools in place. Well a quick visit to their office and I very quickly heard the problem.
The staff felt overwhelmed with the amount of work they had, it was palatable when you walked in the office. Almost all of their leads called the office. In an hour meeting, I overheard the women answering the phone tell 3 different calls “no we don’t do that, we can’t meet that timeline or I have no idea if we do that”. We were working very hard to generate very expensive new leads and they were being lost because the front line staff felt overwhelmed. There was no system in place to measure or monitor, which usually results in emotions winning over logic. Sure, it could be the wrong type of lead that was calling in but we would never know because we didn’t gather that data. If you work on a team bigger than one person not tracking data can have a multiplier effect. Numbers and data help gather an accurate impressions of what is going on in a marketing strategy. If you don’t have the internal structures and strategy in place it can be very easy to make LEADS your new scapegoat.
2. External Strategy Keep it simple, start small. A marketing strategy has no value if you never use it. Extensive marketing plans and 45 pages worth of research on competitors are great but with limited time and money, most people are overwhelmed. If we define marketing strategy as a giant heap of a task, it gets really easy to just keep on doing what you are doing and hope that it works out. We are coming up on the end of the year, get your internal structures in place to gather data and set a couple of simple external marketing strategy goals.
Start with listing the foundation of your marketing for everyone to see (target audience, unique value proposition, value messaging) and the 5 marketing tools you want to use. What is a benchmark goal and a realistic quantifiable metric? Maybe blogging every week is not attainable, start with 1 blog every month (and it doesn’t have to be 600 words of genius). Marketing is like working out. It helps if you start small and build muscle. So your goal would be one blog a month then decide on a metric that is in alignment with your goal. Maybe the number of visitors to your blog or engagement with that blog on social media.
3. Your Printing Strategy Think bigger. I know, what an obvious self-serving piece of advice for a print shop, but really think bigger. Instead of waiting until a week before an event to throw together a piece of collateral, leverage your printing and graphic design budget by thinking bigger. Sit down with your internal and external strategy outlined and ask: what printing tools do I need? Can I use those tools at multiple events? What is one piece I can upgrade this year?
Instead of thinking about a complete re-branding or waiting till the last moment for a single event, sitting down at the beginning of the year and thinking about a little bit of printing strategy can make a big difference. Especially when you have a quality printing partner.
Marketing is complicated. We constantly have to walk a fine line of keeping it simple enough to understand but being holistic enough that we are not leaving major gaps that sabotage success.
Keep your eyes open, next week on our blog we are giving away a simple visual marketing plan sheet to help you create a cohesive marketing strategy both internal and external that your entire team can understand and use.
Believe it or not, we are at the end of the year. Now is the time to get your marketing strategy in line for next year. Keep these three strategies (internal, external and printing) in mind as you get ready for next year. If you need, help let us know. We are booking our marketing strategy sessions for 2016 now, so make sure to schedule yours today!
Email Kristin Slice, firstname.lastname@example.org