Marketing strategy is at the heart of business success. It’s a long-term plan that guarantees growth. So why do so many businesses shy away from investing in a well researched and formed strategy? Soapy chief strategist Sophie goes back to basics on why you need to work on planning ahead.
“It’s a journey” is probably the most overused cliché in the small business development world. Everything you do is a journey. Every decision you make takes you on a journey. Every success you gain has been a wonderful journey. The partnerships you have made (and lost) have been a journey. Failure? Just another journey to be grateful for.
It makes your eye twitch, doesn’t it? And I bet you have heard it a million times at work, at home, in networking seminars and, more often than not, on the telly. But I am about to share one of the best j-word analogies I’ve ever heard used to explain marketing strategy.
I’ll say it once; think of a strategy as a journey. Not the soppy, oh-so-righteous kind of journey. A literal journey from A to B.
When you want to go somewhere, even to the shops, you have to plan your journey. You think “I’m at home right now, but I need to go to the supermarket and I will have to take the car.”
In that one thought, you have asked:
- “Where am I now?”
- “Where do I want to be?”
- “How do I get there?”
This is the basic strategy of your trip to the supermarket.
But life is never that simple, is it? Let’s say that at that moment, you have less than an hour before the kids finish school and you don’t want to take them to the supermarket with you. You now realise that you only have a certain window of time in which to get to the supermarket, buy what you need and get home in time for the kids.
By this point, you won’t just get in the car and drive there and back. You have a shopping list. You don’t want to forget anything, so you spend five minutes preparing a list. Wait – you need a pen. That’s one more minute lost spent finding a pen that works.
Unless you’re a shoplifter, you wouldn’t dream of walking out of the supermarket without paying. You need money. Have you got enough for this shopping trip? How did you earn it?
Once you are satisfied you haven’t forgotten anything on the list, you go to your car and turn the engine on. How much petrol do you have? Will you get to where you need to be with the amount you have, or will you need to take a detour to the petrol station to fill up? You need more money and time for that, but it is necessary to get you where you need to be.
On the way to the supermarket, the road is completely closed because of an accident. Time is ticking and the kids will be nearly home by now. You decide to head back and just order takeaway for dinner instead.
The journey cost you time, fuel and the takeaway was three times more expensive than your planned shop.
What has this got to do with marketing strategy?
Now think to the initial concept of going from A to B. It seemed really straightforward, but there were constant changing variables that meant you had to change your plans completely which concluded with an entirely different result to your objective.
Relate this to your business growth and success. A business never simply goes from A to B, or from unsuccessful to successful. It’s never a straight line. To achieve planned and controlled growth there has to be a detailed road map (or strategy) that takes every conceivable scenario in to account in order to drive your business forward without a hitch.
Why is a marketing strategy important?
In order to get your business to where you want to be, a strategy must be deeply rooted in your value proposition and help identify your marketing objectives. SMART Objectives (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, time bound) become your guiding light – these are the goals to work towards. These have to be big, but attainable within a certain timeframe.
For example, “Achieve a £1m turnover in the next three years.”
This objective gives you a bar to reach. Now you can think “how do I get there?” and you start to formulate a strategy. Measurements towards your objectives include key performance indicators, for example “build a social media audience of 5,000 people in the first 6 months.” How do you do that? – and so on.
Discover the importance of a marketing strategy and how it can help make your business successful by booking an initial meeting with our directors. Contact our team now and get the wheels in motion for the next leg of your business journey!