Still doing marketing 'stuff'? 12 steps to create your very own marketing strategy.
Updated: Aug 20, 2020
Anne Brillet talks about her experience going from a tactical marketeer to a strategic one.
Even though I feel that throughout my career I always ran with a strategy, it took me many years to be able to describe what an actual strategy was and to get to the bottom of it, I read countless marketing blogs, discussed them with my colleagues and even googled "difference between marketing tactics and marketing strategy" many times over.
For something that is actually quite simple, it's definitely not easy to go from being a tactical marketeer to being a strategic one. However, once the cogs of your brain go "click", it's impossible to go back.
So here's what I learned and how I finally got that "eureka" moment.
1. What are you and your business about? Your value proposition.
It is key for the success of your business that you understand what makes you and your business unique. Why would a consumer buy from you rather than your competitors? It is key to make sure that you stand out and cut through the noise. Understanding not only the industry but also the consumer trends of the products you offer is important to ensure the longevity of your business. For this you might need to immerse yourself in the world of what you sell so you understand the "why" and are able to influence business decision not only with rational but with the right "gut feel".
2. Where is the real opportunity? the 'W' questions.
Now you have decided why your business caters perfectly to its customers, you will have identified a real opportunity. This can be looked at in different angles: new consumer demographic, new consumer interest, lack of said product or services in the local area. You will need to ask yourself a few questions to establish if your golden idea is worth it. We call them the W questions: what am I doing, where am I doing it, when am I doing it and most importantly why am I doing it? Ensure that your market isn't saturated and that the perceived opportunity is indeed a real opportunity. For example, opening a vegan café in East London might seem like a brilliant idea. However, the market is truly saturated.
3. Competitor analysis
Unless you are the only one in the world providing your product or service (well done you've found a niche!), there will be other businesses offering the same as you to your consumer base. Spend time looking at these competitors, look at their branding, their look and feel, their business model, their offering, their geo-localisation, their consumer target and try to differentiate yourself from what's already done. Identify what it is that makes you different and focus on why consumers would visit your business rather than the other. Local bike shop is part of a chain and has a wide range or product? Build your business in providing a boutique feel with quality service and unique custom items.
4. Consumer profiling
"The first step in exceeding your customer's expectations is to know those expectations." - Roy H. Williams
Before we launch any product or businesses, it is imperative to build consumer profiles. These will incorporate:
Media outlets (print, radio, tv, ooh)
Social media outlets (Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Tiktok, Pinterest)
Pain points (this characteristic is particularly important as you will aim to solve the pain point)
5. Key dates
Looking at the calendar of your industry, is there any key moments which you need to take into consideration? Is there any races or local events which you need to look at. Does the season affect your business? Or even a global pandemic? Write those down in your calendar.
6. What is the rest of the business doing?
Making sure your marketing strategy fits with everything else in your business is important. This means that all departments of your business need to collaborate. This includes your sales teams, your operational teams and your marketing teams. They need to work in unison to ensure that everyone is working towards the same objectives. No point planning a sales promotion in silo from stock availability, shipping capacity and what's trending in the market.
7. The strategy! Overarching goals, strategic pillars, strategic objectives and tactics
First of all having collated and studied all the informations we mentioned previously, you will establish with the rest of the business an overarching goal. This could be revenue growth or position in the market. Your overarching goal is a broad primary outcome which your strategy will work towards.
Once you have established your overarching goal, you will develop your strategic pillars. These will support your overarching goal but will also take into consideration the information you have collected such as market trend, target consumer, competitors etc. Your strategic pillars should be tangible areas of focus but differ from tactics as they are not specific to one activity.
Having built your strategic pillars, it's now time to work on your strategic objectives. These will be measurable objectives with will help you decide of the success of your strategy. These should be tangible, measurable, achievable and trackable.
Et voila! You have a strategy!
Once your strategy is built and put in a shiny new powerpoint, you can then start focusing on the tactics, this is the fun bit. The tactics are all the "stuff" you are going to do to achieve the objectives. Too often team members will start with the tactics (excitedly), looking at all the "marketing stuff" they are going to do. This without real objectives or strategy, which means that all become disjointed and inefficient. We will dive into tactics during the calendar building.
8. A real focus and the power to say no
One of the main advantages of having a strategy in place is that it gives you the confidence to refuse specific tactics and activities. If an activity seems like a great opportunity but doesn't fit with your real area of focus, the answer is no.
Take this example, you have built your business and decide to focus on MTB, family holiday bikes and improving your digital presence. An age group triathlete comes in and wants to be your ambassador, singing all the right tunes. The answer is no, as it doesn't fit at all with your strategy, regardless of how convincing he/she might be. Without a strategy, you might be inclined to say yes and waste time and money on an activity which will not provide extra revenue for your business.
9. Team onboarding
Once your strategy is built and BEFORE you start building your calendar of activity, onboard your team. It is crucial for your team to be run through your strategy ahead of putting any plan in place for two reasons. One, they need to feel included as most likely, they will be the one actioning the strategy, attending events, interacting with your customers etc. Two, as they are the one on the ground day in day out, they will have some excellent ideas, which you will not have thought of and need to be integrated in your tactic plans.
10. Calendar building
You have built your strategy, your objectives and you have presented to your team. Now is time for the fun stuff, the tactics. Look at each of the objectives and see what type of activities you can do which will support your strategy and help you achieve the objectives. Build these in "online and offline" categories to ensure you cover all your grounds.
After listing your tactics, build them up in a logical calendar, ensuring that you do not overbook yourself in the busier months.
Look at your consumer journey (that's for another blog) and ensure that your activities fit within each stage to make your consumer's buying process seamless.
11. It becomes all seamless
It all becomes seamless when everyone in your team is singing the same tune, when everyone is involved and understand the why and the how, when all your activities are logical and working towards the same objectives and you are empowered to say "no" to distracting activities.
For it to be seamless, communication is key.
12. Measurable results
Being able to measure results is really important for your strategy. Think of it as a compass, it will guide you in making sure that you are going the right way. These results will be measured by your strategic objectives but here is a list of measures you might want to take a look at.
Reach (social and PR)
Engagement (social and digital PR)
Return on investment
Cost per lead
Cost per sale
Customer lifetime value
If you have any questions or want more info, don't hesitate to reach out on our email firstname.lastname@example.org or though the contact form.