The word strategy is used in marketing circles, as if “the strategy” is the total answer to all the marketing challenges and problems a company may have; when in reality, it’s not, it’s just a guide. Okay, there’s the crux of the entire article. But you probably just figured that out. However, there are a few things to think about so that you can navigate the challenging nuances of a strategy successfully.
Here are a few insights I learned when working with failed strategies, successful ones, as well as creating strategies for companies and teams. Tip number one; there is no easy path. Creating and following a strategy takes a tremendous amount of critical thinking from the ten thousand foot level, all the way to the trench. It also takes a massive amount of resolve and follow-through. If you’re looking for the easy button, it doesn’t exist. There is however a path which can have a lower threshold of resistance along the way.
Before you begin to create a strategy, you must first think about a few things that are critical to reaching your strategy goals. Let’s start with what strategy really means.
Define The End Destination
One of the best questions to ask yourself and your team is, “if our strategy is to be successful, what has to happen?” Think about the result you want to obtain and chart the course based on that end destination.
Every strategy requires people and resources because it cannot be executed without them. Before you embark down the path of executing any strategy, make sure you know what the budget is before you start. This will help you to execute more efficiently because you will know how to allocate and purchase resources.
Like the budget, to execute your marketing strategy requires a variety of specific skills that you just can’t find with normal corporate professionals. In order to execute your strategy and produce the highest level of quality, specific talent and experience is needed. Does your team currently have everything they need to execute or will your marketing department have to hire additional staff members? Train existing staff? Or go outside for provisional support? These are all options, however, they may not all be good options based on workflow, budget, project requirements, existing staff and management. All of these must be factored in so that all your marketing initiatives that are part of the strategy can be executed the way you need them to like a well-oiled marketing machine.
A marketing strategy is not just for the marketing department. All areas of the company are required to play an important role. Who’s managing all of those cross-functional areas to make sure the strategy is being followed to the letter? This is typically one of the areas that breaks down quickly and is very difficult to bring back to high efficiency status.
If you had a strategy before, why did it not work? Define the areas that were weak links or never happened at all. Were the people, process or resource limitations that caused the breakdown? Maybe the process just wasn’t managed well. Make sure to clearly define why your strategy didn’t work. You will be able to better implement a new strategy if you have information about the breakdowns of the previous strategy.
Tactical Skills And Planning
This is a very important aspect of a strategy. Without this, a million dollar strategy is worthless. This is where the skills of your staff merge with the day-to-day planning. Then, ongoing touch points are needed to ensure the quality of work as well as teams and tasks are successful. Strategies are difficult to create and even more difficult to execute without purposeful planning and quality control at every step.
A powerful strategy is not just a plan. It’s also a well-equipped team that fuels and energizes the strategy to keep it running at optimum efficiency. If you keep the 6 items listed above in mind before you create your strategy and while you are in the middle of executing it, the stress and strain of a powerless strategy won’t demoralize your team. In fact, just the opposite will occur, they will be excited to continue the implementation because they are seeing positive results.
YourBrandExposed is designed to look at digital with an eye into the future using a creative, innovative marketing perspective. We’re a consultative and tactical resource for companies looking to leverage the power of digital, web, social and content marketing strategies. Contact us if you’re feeling the digital squeeze on how to best market your company.