Marketing is a term that is defined in many different ways. I have had the privilege of working with hundreds of companies in my career and I have seen first hand how companies, marketing departments, agencies and consultants all define marketing a little differently. Based on how they define it then determines how they go about the strategic and tactical execution of it. Is there a silver bullet answer to marketing so that it will always turn out the way you need it to? No. Is every person correct in how they interpret the best way for your brand to go about grabbing market share and increasing revenues? No. However, there are good ways to obtain critical information so that your marketing strategy and tactical execution is closer to hitting the mark you need it to.
Fact Finding Mission
Before I embark on any marketing initiative, I always prefer to gather as much information as possible. I like to call this an analysis or fact-finding mission of the business itself, the local market, the industry and the competition. It’s like a mission to gather critical intelligence data. We all know that data is important. This data provides us with multiple data points in critical areas. This is key because it helps to build the blueprint for marketing success.
Facts Help Build The Blueprint
Once you have facts you will be able to discern with a clearer vision how to create a blueprint. Designing the blueprint starts by figuring out what you want to build. So think about the end game first and ask yourself this question, “If my marketing is to be considered successful, what result has to occur?”
The answer to this question is really what you need. It defines the expectation of what you want to accomplish. Now that you know the expectation, you can think about gathering key data and information that will help you plot your strategy. It’s just like building a house. If you know you want three stories, four bedrooms, four bathrooms, a TV room, laundry room, sewing room, man cave, a three-car garage and a swimming pool, all of the necessary means to build those things must be added in the blueprints.
Key Areas That Need Definition
Every business, regardless of the industry has information that needs to be extracted and the employees that are working in the business have a unique perspective. My suggestion is to gather this information and use it to help define your approach to how you create your marketing.
- Define Your Industry And Local Market: This is important because there may be opportunities for your business because of a shift in how your industry is moving. There may also be threats because of the way technology and/or consumers are changing behaviors.
- Define Who You Are As A Company: This involves figuring out what problem you are solving. Customers have questions and sometimes this is a problem. Are you solving that problem? If you’re not, you need to think about how you can. You should also define your strengths and weaknesses here. This all relates to the value you offer the customer. What is it and how are you making sure it’s happening?
- Define Your Competition: Most likely your competition is looking at your business closely. Are you doing the same with them? They may be doing things that are clearly innovative which means you need to decide if that is smart business for your company to adopt or not. Additionally, your sales team needs to know how they can overcome objections when prospective customers say they are looking at your competition. Study the competition and know their brand well.
- Define Your Prospective Customers: Get to know and understand your customers intimately. Ask them questions, know their pain points, solve their problems, and make their lives easier. Serve them like they are coming to your house for dinner. Get to know them like a friend. Your sales team are the people that understand the customer better than anyone. Engage in deep conversations with the sales team to get to know who your customers are and how you can communicate to them most effectively.
- Define Your Exclusive Selling Points: This is not as easy as it sounds. Your brand may offer great products and services in a crowded market, but that doesn’t mean you have “exclusive selling points.” You have to uncover what those exclusives are and take advantage of them. They are what make your company different than the competition. These can be products, services or even brand attributes. Once you discover what these are, it’s like finding a pot of gold!
These five key areas above will help your marketing department create a foundational blueprint for an effective marketing strategy. When your team decides to move to the tactical part of marketing, you have a clear basis for selecting an approach and executing using tools, media, technology, creative and editorial that is effective in building a blueprint that accomplishes your marketing goals.
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