How this trait could impact your business strategy and planning
Have you ever felt like a work strategy consisted of flinging spaghetti to the wall and seeing what stuck? In reality, that’s not a strategy at all, but rather luck. Even if it sticks, do you just duplicate that exact thing or do you try something else? Do you understand what made it stick? What about the reasons and work beforehand that helped it to stick? Setting a goal with clear definement and having a specific strategy to measure and analyze along the way can make a big impact.
If you treat your resolutions similar to flinging spaghetti — not being intentional and putting them in the world — you cannot be held accountable for them and decrease the odds you’ll achieve any progress from the previous year or attempts. Let’s say you resolve to lose weight. You don’t tell anyone, you don’t write down an action plan, and you don’t assess how many pounds you realistically can lose — what will help you achieve any weight loss?
If you set a goal to lose 50 pounds, you can calculate weekly and monthly routines of working out and eating healthy to lose and maintain your goal weight. If you tell others they can help hold you accountable and motivate you on days when you need it. As you work out and develop healthy eating habits, you can evaluate and assess what works best for you and adjust your plan as needed to reach your goal weight. This is a positive way to turn a New Year’s resolution into an attainable action plan.
Your marketing strategy is the same. I’ve seen many companies fail because they couldn’t find a way to elevate or incorporate marketing into their business strategy. They were flinging and seeing what stuck. Marketing is a great deal of testing and learning, but you do so strategically and it should be alongside the business strategy for the company.
How can you start 2020 and the decade off right by telling your story and putting your brand in the marketplace? Here are a few key points to consider:
1. Know your business goals first. Many times when I’ve asked leaders what their business goals were for the year, I was told to stay in my lane and just do my marketing thing — as if it were a side chick in the relationship. Don’t make marketing your side chick. Leaders who make marketing their side chick tend to only come looking when they need some extra pizazz for the company or they aren’t achieving success, or they are done with the status quo. These leaders also have the same non-SMART goal: sell. They tend to give no number, evaluation, measurement, or metric. They’re the ones who sell 55 items because of a tech glitch that was only supposed to be 1 but never evaluated to know it wasn’t real. How much do you need to sell to achieve your business goal — are you looking to break even, make a profit, just do better than last year? You need measurable and attainable goals to drive towards.
2. Know your audience. I love quality content. Sometimes I read something and it’s written so well but I shrug because it’s not really for me. I’m not sure how the ad got to me, but I was never their target consumer (but A+ on the copy). A good message that gets delivered to the wrong audience does you no good. Take the time to define market segments to help reach your goals. Understand where each of these segments currently gets their information, what their needs are, and how your product or service can help them better than any other in the market.
3. Target your message to each segment. It can be so tempting to copy/paste a piece of content that you think is great. Re-purposing content is a wonderful marketing tactic, but it does involve thinking and tweaking to make sure how you talk to a patient is different from a doctor and different from an investor and different from a blogger and different from a scientific publication. You cannot Command-V (or Ctrl for you non-Mac folks) your way to a solid marketing strategy.
4. Plan in quarters. One of my favorite chunking methods for people who are new to marketing strategy is to help them plan on a quarterly calendar. You can pick four solid themes or campaigns to execute during the year. Each quarter you plan and then evaluate so that you can learn and adjust. This chunking can work with newsletters, too. Many people try to do weekly or monthly newsletters before they have any content ideas or know what their audience wants. Struggling to find quality content just to get more out there should not be your goal. A seasonal and quarterly newsletter will get valid information out there and help grow your brand. The same chunking applies to email campaigns. Try a drip campaign that has four emails and builds throughout the month. If you plan it upfront and then automate, you won’t need to worry about finding last-minute content and you can spend that time evaluating your open and click-through rates instead.
5. Measure, measure, measure. What good is a goal if you don’t understand how you’re doing? Every email, social media post, blog, or PR hit should be measured. Whether it’s on your owned properties, paid, or earned, you should understand where your efforts are being multiplied and where you are losing. If you wait too long to measure until the end of a quarter or the year, you may have found that you could have caught something in week three and made adjustments — that could have been a game-changer in your marketing results.
It’s 2020. Don’t let your marketing strategy be hindsight. You can have 2020 vision from the start. Make a resolution you can keep by forming a solid marketing and communications strategy for the year. Just don’t fling it to the wall and cross your fingers it will stick. Invest in it, nurture it, make it a priority — don’t make marketing your side chick.