Today I'm going to show you exactly what I do as a strategic marketing consultant. I’m going to share the 6 steps that I would take you through in creating a robust marketing strategy. If you do all this then you won’t need to spend a penny on a consultant like me.
But why on earth would I do this? Am I trying to put myself out of business? Far from it!
I’m prepared to bet that the kind of ambitious business owner I’d like to work with will take one look at this and say, “That’s an awful lot of work Ros, I don’t have the time and besides, I need an outside perspective to do this effectively. Why don’t we talk?”
So, here’s your complete guide to doing your own strategic marketing. If you find you can't or don’t want to do this alone - do give me a call.
1. Deeply understand your customers
This is fundamental when taking a strategic approach to marketing. If you don't know exactly the kind of person you want to attract to your business then it's almost impossible to craft marketing messages that will resonate with them. Everyone has different needs, attitudes, challenges and pain points so unless you know who your ideal customers are then your marketing will fall flat.
Last month I wrote the 11 signs you don't understand your customers well enough. If any of these sound familiar then this could be where your marketing strategy is lacking.
2. Make sure that your product, and how you describe it, matches your ideal customer
If you aren't describing the benefits of your product in a way that is meaningful to your ideal customer then they just won't 'get it'.
If prospects are turning you down when you know that your product is perfect for them, this could be where the problem lies.
3. Understand your vision, values and positioning
Why are you in business?
What is your vision for your business?
What do you want your brand to mean in the eyes of your customer?
How will you position yourself compared to alternatives?
These questions are fundamental to your marketing strategy. Simon Sinek explains it eloquently in his book "Start With Why" (here's his excellent TED talk about it). If you can't articulate why you're in business, and why your customers should care about what you do, then they won't.
4. Set specific objectives and decide on a strategy that will achieve them
The old adage that "if you don't know where you're going then you won't know how to get there" always applies in business. Set yourself (and your team) goals that are measurable and achievable.
Then choose a strategy that will get you there.
5. Map out your customer's buying journey
How will prospects go from first hearing from you to eventually buying from you? If your product is a fairly considered purchase then you will need to lay down marketing 'stepping stones' so that customers can make their buying decision comfortably in their own time. You should be able to offer your customers a logical, low-risk next step at every stage of the buying process.
For my business, it looks like this:
This tiered path to purchase allows my clients to make their buying decision comfortably, in their own time.
Sometimes clients will know exactly what they want from the outset and we skip stages. Other times prospects dance around for a while before they're ready to take the next step. Either way is fine, but I have these stages built into my marketing so that customers can make that journey in a way that suits them.
If you haven't worked out a clear, tiered path to purchase then customers will sometimes step out. They will decide that the next step is too big a jump for them and they'll walk away.
6. Plan your marketing measurements
How will you know if your marketing activities are working? What are your indicators that will show you whether prospects are successfully progressing through the buying journey? How are you measuring the ROI for the whole buying journey? What are these figures right now?
Once you've decided on your measures, look back at your objectives and goals and check that they look reasonable.
Do you have the perspective you need to do this?
Creating a robust marketing strategy requires both knowledge and experience. But more than that it requires the perspective to see what your business looks like from your customer's viewpoint. I wrote a blog about it a while ago (see "What colour is your boat?") using the analogy that you can't see the colour of a boat's hull when you're sitting in it. It's the same when you're immersed in your business.
This is the bit that most business owners have difficulty with.
It's not about how much marketing knowledge or experience you have, although that's important, it's just about perspective. I will even admit that I struggle to do my own strategic marketing because I cannot get that perspective by myself! Luckily I have a pool of talented marketers I can call on when I need a sounding board.
If you'd like to discuss your strategic marketing challenges and get some outside perspective on your business, drop me an email or phone call.
“Ros has helped our business grow more than we ever imagined. At first we weren't sure what we'd get out of using a marketing consultant as we both have marketing backgrounds but Ros has saved us time, money and our sanity!”
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