Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory, tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat. — Sun Tsu, Ancient Chinese Military Strategist
Marketing strategies, including positioning and branding, require military-like precision in order to deliver the desired results. But even companies with excellent teams can get lost while planning their campaigns. It’s easy to take your eyes off the actual goals and get immersed in the creative splendor.
Constructing an effective product rollout, revamping your go-to-market strategy, or repositioning your brand requires planning, research, and the help of industry experts. Each effort is tedious and fraught with obstacles and it takes focus and expertise to reach success.
At the core of each marketing strategy is one important question: what do you want and how will you get it? Asking yourself six simple questions that help define what you want and how to get it makes planning easier and aligns your tactics with your goals.
You can build tactics to support strategy by answering the following questions.
This simple question should be easy to answer, but you can stump many creative teams by asking it. They are undoubtedly ‘doing,’ but to what end? Your marketing and product research departments need to adopt specific long-term and short-term goals that fit with the company’s overall strategy. For instance, do you want to attract a larger online audience, grow your customer base, or improve your brand’s image? These goals require different approaches and various techniques to achieve. You can’t gather the right tools and create a winning campaign without establishing clear goals.
2. How Can We Improve Our Offering?
All company teams should be continually asking, “How can we improve our offering?” Your offering may be products, services or both, but no matter how successful they are, you must work to improve them. Doing so means anticipating your changing consumer base and, in turn, its changing needs. After all, the companies that quickly adapted to the pandemic often managed to grow their business even in adverse circumstances.
3. Who Are We Targeting?
Too often, poor research and bad strategy lead to unclear targeting. To sell your product or service, you need to appeal to the people who might buy it. That means identifying a specific consumer group or groups and aim your marketing straight at them. It’s not enough to target a general group such as seniors. You need to identify their economic status, geographical location, brand loyalty, and other important dynamics to refine your niche. Then you can target the right people instead of wasting your time and advertising dollars on people who will never buy.
4. How is this Process Contributing to Company Growth?
Every effort needs to fit within your company’s long-term strategy. You can develop a campaign that increases sales in the short-term but that harms your company brand or blocks the organization’s goals. Currently, many companies are selling pandemic items that may help them in the next months, but this strategy may also cheapen their brand and make a meaningful recovery more difficult. Before taking action, all efforts need to be aligned.
5. What Should We Do More Of?
A good marketing and strategy exercise is to list all the things your teams do well. What have you done in the last year that produced a profit, improved team unity, grew your customer base, or improved your online outreach? This exercise isn’t just for self congratulation. Even the best companies sometimes overlook their victories and move on to something new instead of capitalizing on what they’ve already achieved.
6. What Should We Do Less Of?
The opposite question is also a necessary one. Every organization falls into ruts. Perhaps you adopted certain practices years ago that worked well then but do not now. Or maybe you keep repeating mildly successful strategies instead of aiming at a higher level of return. Even the best practices can become stagnant if you don’t examine and rework them. Or sometimes, you should get rid of them altogether. Success may be as simple as adding a bit more of one thing and a bit less of another.
Strategica helps progressive companies launch their innovative new products and services, helping you prepare effective campaigns, establish stand-out branding, achieve successful rebranding, and create a growth-based organizational strategy. You know what questions to ask, and Strategica can show you the answers. Many companies spend lots of time and money creating ineffective research, misdirected marketing and unfocused strategies. Strategica is the cure for all that wasted effort.
6 Key Questions when Developing a Marketing Strategy was originally published in Strategica Partners on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.