You won’t forgive me if I said I didn’t have a marketing strategy. And your grudge would be fair. After all, I’m a marketing consultant. My 2018 marketing strategy exists and it makes a lot of sense i.e. I’ll do more of what worked and less of what didn’t. That’s all, right? Well, no. This year, I’ve taken a brutal approach to my traditional planning. Everything I do has to link back to clear KPIs, in particular, MONEY. Yes, the dirty word that few people can discuss.
As a business owner, you probably know how much you want to make this year. It’ll be a percentage increase from last year. Or you might want to generate similar revenues but improve your profit margins. If your marketing strategy doesn’t help you make the money and margins, don’t bother. I mean it. What you have is another to-do list that you will soon forget.
Ask these questions as you develop your marketing strategy
- Is your mission for this year the same as last? Why?
- Are you planning to serve a different kind of customer? If you are targeting larger companies, do you have the credibility, resources and competencies? If not, how will you get it?
- Do you have a different value proposition for each customer group? Have you understood what each care about so that your product resonates?
- What is your overall business promise to your customers? To be the best or the cheapest or the most reliable?
- How much of your revenue will come from marketing efforts?
- How much will you spend on marketing to get this revenue?
- What proportion of your revenue will come from repeat customers?
- Can you get referrals to new customers from existing or previous customers? How will you ask for these referrals?
- How much of your business will come from referrals e.g. 40%?
- Which marketing activities will help you achieve these goals e.g. ads, events, SEO, networking etc?
- How much will you spend on each activity?
- How will you know that it is working?
- What kind of content do you need to create to attract and engage new and existing customers?
- Will you create these materials internally or will you engage an external company?
- What changes do you need to make to your processes and systems to allow you effectively track and maintain a healthy sales pipeline e.g. CRM, email marketing?
- What are your non-financial goals e.g. award to win, public speaking engagements, adopting a charity?
These questions will really focus your strategy. If you don’t ever look at your strategy again then it’s unlikely that you are meeting your goals.
To help you keep focused, consider hiring a marketing consultant who understands your industry, not just marketing. An hour or two a month with the consultant can be invaluable in reviewing your marketing efforts against business goals, and making changes if necessary. You are running your business on limited time, resources and budget. Can you afford to spend time on strategies that don’t take you forward?