How to get your marketing strategy in place and delivered

New Years Resolution down the pan? Maybe we can help…

OK, so most of us start the New Year with great intentions. This year, however, it’s probably more important than ever to have a clear marketing plan, with defined business goals and achievable tactics, which you can actually deliver.

Here are a few thoughts about getting your marketing strategy in place and delivered.

Obviously making any objectives SMART, will mean that you’re more likely to deliver on them. Just as a reminder, making them SMART means:

  • Specific – Make your goals defined and clear, not just woolly ambition. How many visits, or calls do you need to make, to find the customers you need, to make the turnover you’re planning?
  • Measurable – Try and get some metrics set, so that you can see clearly how you are progressing and when you’ve achieved them.
  • Attainable – Goals should be stretching, but they do need to be achievable; otherwise you’ll just end up frustrated
  • Relevant – If they’re marketing and business focused, then you’re on the right track.
  • Time bound – When are these going to be delivered? Don’t try to list hundreds, you’ll only end up feeling disappointed that you’re making no progress. It’s far better to set half-a-dozen key activities and deliver these in a sensible time frame.

My favourite focus for marketing activity is customer led. Andy Bounds approach, thinking about the “Afters”; what a customer is left with after you’ve provided your service is a key focus for our business. The Jelly Effect: How to Make Your Communication Stick – Great book, by-the-way, readable and practical. Now, we provide great branding, websites and promotional material, but we’re just helping our clients achieve their goals, whether those are more customers, or perhaps more sales. Construction customers aren’t just building a new house, or an office block, they’re looking to sell a home, or the right commercial space in the right location.

So why plan? Confucius, the Chinese Philosopher, got it right over two and a half thousand years ago, when he considered that

A man who does not think and plan long ahead will find trouble right at his door.

Now, we’re not suggesting taking weeks over this but, for sure, spending enough time and involving the right people will help you to prepare. Using the ASP structure, shown below, will help you to frame your planning:

  • Analysis – Consideration of your position, competitors and wider environmental issues
  • Strategy – Development of a clear strategy, focussed on the strengths of your business
  • Practice – Clear, practical and achievable actions and targets

Critically, you need to cover whether, from your customer’s perspective, they can answer positively:

  • Can I TRUST you?
  • Can I BELIEVE what you tell me?
  • Will you HELP me when I need you?
  • Do you really CARE about me?
  • Have you got the essential BASICS right?
  • Does it FEEL good to use your business?

SWOT and PEEST analysis are fundamentals for considering your organisation in the wider context and Mindmeister is a great tool for brainstorming your thoughts about these aspects.

Focusing on your business, the Marketing 7P’s cover the critical aspects of your service:

  • Price – How is your pricing compared to other alternatives, direct competitors and other solutions that your customer might choose?
  • Promotion – How are you promoting your service, on and off line, and how successful is this?
  • Place / distribution – What are your premises like, or how effectively is your service delivered?
  • Process – Do your customers feel special, or processed like sheep?
  • Physical evidence, or ambience – The product quality and packaging or, for a service, how it is delivered.
  • People – Who is delivering the service? How do they behave and relate to your customers?
  • Product – Easily defined for producers, but much more difficult when you sell a service.

Considering your business, against alternative options for your customers, from each of the seven perspectives, provides real insight. It shows where you’re positioned and more importantly, what you can do about it.

Finally then, back to the SMART objectives. What have you decided? Is it do-able? What are you going to do, and how will this be measured? Most importantly, who’s going to do it and by when?

Now, if you’re still struggling to see how you’re going to get from A to B, that’s OK. We can help with your strategic planning, or support you by rolling our sleeves up and getting stuck into some of the things you either don’t have time to, or just don’t want to. Call us on 01738 237850.