A marketing strategy is a plan of action. Many companies find themselves in a reactive position when it comes to marketing – creating pieces when an immediate need arises. Having a marketing strategy allows you to be more proactive and thoughtful about what is developed for your company. With a clear plan in place, marketing becomes a less stressful part of your business.
Create a strong foundation
Your marketing strategy begins with the basic building blocks of your brand. Based on your brand, audience, key messaging, and goals, you can begin to outline what types of collateral and digital pieces will serve you and your clients best.
Developing a marketing strategy can help you refine your target audience and create specific, measurable goals for your company. It lays out a plan for you to reach those goals from a marketing perspective.
What are your marketing goals?
The most overwhelming part of creating a marketing strategy for most companies is simply figuring out what it is they are trying to do. Asking yourself and your employees these questions can help you narrow your focus.
What are you trying to accomplish with your audience?
- Are you looking for engagement? Awareness?
- What step do you want someone to take? Call? Email? Sign up? Buy?
- What is (or is not) working well in your current sales process? Are there any pain points or places where communication is breaking down?
- How do you interact with your clients or customers?
- How does that interaction differ between current, past, and potential clients?
Once you know what you need your marketing pieces to do, it’s time to decide what format those pieces will take. If you have a sales team, one-sheets and digital presentation formatting could be important tools. If you need to communicate large amounts of data, a report could be the way to go. The opportunities are endless. A good marketing team will consider pieces from both ends – how employees use it and how the audience receives and interacts with it.
The most important thing is that any piece you produce should be moving you toward your main objective in some way. If it isn’t serving a purpose, it’s time to reconsider.
Multi-purpose marketing pieces
Think creatively when it comes to marketing collateral – is there another way that you can use a piece you have? Many pieces can be created in a way that allows them to be used for more than one purpose, letting you maximize their impact. We often deliver designs in multiple formats or sizes for this reason.
For example, a larger infographic can often be split into several smaller graphics that can be used on a website or as a social graphic series. A pocket folder with a series of independent one-sheets can be tailored to suit the particular client you are meeting with. While some marketing collateral will fulfill a specific, single need, it’s smart to consider it from all angles.
Use your marketing budget wisely
Reworking and revising tools that are not well thought out can be time consuming and expensive. If there is no strategy in place, it’s easy to run through your budget without feeling like you’ve gotten your money’s worth. Especially if you don’t feel those pieces are working for you.
Creating a solid plan that can be built upon and revised as needs change is a far better use of your yearly budget.
Calendars and Scheduling
There are many marketing pieces that don’t necessarily need to be scheduled into your business year. BUT, there are times when the timing can be important. If collateral is needed for a specific event, that is definitely something to note on the calendar. Allowing enough time for content creation, design, and possibly printing will take a lot of the stress out of the process.
Social content is another piece that can be planned ahead and scheduled. If your company is active on social channels, make things more efficient by planning posts and graphics a few weeks ahead of time. You can always add or remove items when timely topics pop up and this saves you from scrambling to create content at the last minute. It doesn’t have to be complicated – it can be as simple as setting up a spreadsheet. If you want more functionality, there are several online tools, like Planoly or Hootsuite, that allow content to be scheduled and automatically posted to social channels. With these tools, you don’t have to handle it manually each day.
Plan to change the plan
Keep in mind that any marketing strategy is a working plan. Nothing is written in stone. You can and should reassess each year to see what changes may need to happen. Looking back at what worked well and what didn’t will help you refine your marketing materials and process for the year ahead. It also allows you to adapt to any changes in the industry or marketplace.
Stop procrastinating. Take action to get results.
We agree, the hardest part is getting started. Luckily, there are professionals around that thrive on helping with this. The benefits of having a plan to follow far outweigh a reactive approach to your company’s marketing. There is tremendous value in seeing which pieces are working for you and which ones could be refined or adjusted to better achieve your marketing goals.
Struggling to get started with your company’s marketing strategy? If you could use some creative minds on your team, contact Annatto. We’ll help you get on track to communicating more effectively with your audience.