Demystifying marketing strategy

Most businesses I come across ‘do’ marketing. They have logos, websites and newsletters. Check. Job done. Right? No, not right. These businesses are tackling their marketing with the wrong focus – marketing is not media-led or channel-led or technology-led. Logos, websites, newsletters, events and social media activity are all just marketing tools. It’s what you do with these tools which leads to successful marketing.

Successful marketing puts your customers first – it’s all about knowing your customers intimately and selecting marketing channels and activities which will allow you to reach your existing and potential customers, and – crucially – say the right things about your business.

When you get in your car, you know where you’re going before you set off. You have checked a map, or you plug the postcode into your sat nav. You’d never get into a car, only knowing the address, and not having planned out your route to get there by the quickest and most efficient route. Would you set off in the hope you stumble by chance on your destination? Marketing your business should be no different. Why would you embark on your business marketing, with no strategy, driving around in circles, wasting time and money?

Let’s define strategy as “a process of using knowledge to drive action. Where the action is getting to creating a plan”.

Marketing cannot succeed without strategy. The cost of not getting strategy right is not reaching your marketing goals, progressing very slowly, or even having to start from scratch if you make a critical strategic misstep.

I came across this brilliant quote recently:

The first natural advantage of good strategy arises because other organisations often don’t have one. And because they don’t expect you to have one, either. A good strategy has coherence, coordinating actions, policies and resources so as to accomplish an important end. Many organisations, most of the time, don’t have this. Instead they have multiple goals and initiatives that symbolise progress, but no coherent approach to accomplishing that progress other than ‘spend more and try harder’.

(‘My experiences of the war between France and Germany’, Volume 2, Archibald Forbes, published 1871)

Hopefully that is not you…

I am proud to shout about what I do! Yes, I develop websites (and logos too, which is the next most frequently asked question), but, more importantly, I help my clients with what comes before logos and websites – clear, strategic thinking.

I’d love to hear how you think about marketing strategy in your organisation.

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