It’s been an unpredictable couple of years
Some organizations capitalized on the dramatic shift to digital, while others suffered from talent shortages, difficulty adapting strategies, and the general inability to plan more than a quarter in advance.
Wherever you’ve fallen on that spectrum, we can all agree we’ve been in a bit of a holding pattern.
And while we wait for things to “settle down” the life seeped out of our marketing plans.
Now is the perfect time to revisit your marketing strategy. With average marketing budgets at a measly 6.4% of revenue, it will take planning and creativity to make sure marketing plans are effective and help to accelerate sales.
If you need a little jumpstart, here are a few tried-and-true ways to get going:
Reacquaint yourself with your buyer
Take off your marketing hat, and put on your creative fiction writer hat. You’re probably already able to rattle off industries, company specs, and job positions of your target buyer but it’s important to go deeper. What does their typical day look like? What challenges do they face? What are their short and long-term goals? What did they eat for breakfast? Ok, just kidding on that last one, but you see where we are going.
Hyper-detailed buyer personas will help you to create a marketing program that stands out from all the beige-colored campaigns dominating inboxes and feeds these days
Assess your footprint
Now that you’ve painted a picture of your buyer, you can look at your digital footprint with a more discerning eye.
- Make a list of all of your marketing channels: email, event sponsorships, LinkedIn ads, etc. Revisit how these channels have and haven’t worked for you in the past.
- Google something related to your product. For example, we like to Google “digital marketing services.” Make sure you’re not hiding your location. Take a look at what shows up. Are they your competitors? Content to help educate your buyer? Does your company website appear in the first page of Google search results?
- Look at your homepage. Is the messaging customer-centric? Does it relate to and resonate with your buyer? Does it differentiate you from your most common competitors?
Plan out how to stand out
Instead of religiously following “best practices” understand that a successful marketing program isn’t one-size-fits all. Still, there are a few things every strategy should include:
- Perfect your strategic messaging. Taking into consideration your buyer personas, and hopefully some qualitative data from client interviews, make sure your leading messages highlight why customers choose you over their other options.
- Focus your resources. Just as you wouldn’t try to be everything to everyone, don’t try to be everywhere at once. If you don’t pick and choose the most effective strategies and channels, chances are, your resources will be spread too thin to make an impact on any one channel.
- Be a help, not a nuisance. High-value touch points, like webinars and research materials, will help you secure positioning with your prospects much better than a hard sell.
- Know that some of the most effective strategies may not fit neatly into a box. Match your broad base efforts with strategic initiatives like event sponsorships and one-on-one outreach.
Operationalize how to get things done
For most, it’s not a lack of planning that leads to failed marketing plans. Instead, it’s a lack of consistency. At the very least, dole out roles and responsibilities, and create an accountability framework that helps keep marketing tasks on track.
Don’t skip this step! Consistency is the key to successful marketing programs. The longer the buying cycle — and they keep getting longer — the harder it is to get timing perfectly. Instead, a consistent marketing program will give you the best chance of getting considered by customers or prospects when the time comes.
If you know execution has been a challenge, consider a fractional CMO or outsourced marketing department (yes, that’s our shameless plug).
Working Smarter Sometimes Requires and Outsider’s Perspective
Just like a new fitness routine, it sometimes takes outside help to build initial momentum. If you’re interested in a coached planning session, let’s chat. Our team can walk you through critical strategic planning exercises in a single-day workshop.