By now, I’m sure you’ve seen dozens of articles about what’s trending—what businesses will be adopting in 2019 to convert end users into loyal consumers.
All indicators are that the technology wave continues, content is everything, viral marketing is here to stay and we have a plethora of tactics at our disposal. Ahh, yes, those tactics: AR and VR, podcasts, micro influencers, voice search, visual search, video—yes, lots of video. BUT WAIT! Shouldn’t we talk about strategy first?
What is a strategy?
If you ask a room full of people to define strategy, it’s very likely you’ll hear a variety of answers. Here’s mine: A strategy is NOT a wish list, a set of goals or a list of objectives. It’s NOT a mission or a vision. It IS a clear roadmap. A plan. A stated explanation of the approach used to reach the goals. It’s the how you’re going to get there, how you’re going to achieve your aim.
There’s no question that strategy and tactics go hand in hand for a brand to achieve its full potential. But an effective strategy must be in place before any set of tactics can deliver their intended outcome.
How do you get there?
For any strategy and corresponding set of tactics to work, they must appeal to someone. The most critical question to answer first is: “Who’s the audience?” Using your ideal target audience as the basis of your strategy allows you to explore and think very intimately and personally about how to best serve them and which tactics will attract them. Without this important step, your marketing strategy has the potential to lack focus.
Next, it’s important to dig in and understand what the audience truly values and serve it up in a way that delivers an exceptional experience differently than your competitors and within the context of societal forces. If this step is overlooked, the insights driving your decisions may potentially fool you into thinking you have an advantage, thereby making your marketing far less effective than it could be.
The final step is connecting the dots. Before you jump into executing an influencer campaign or developing a series of videos (or both), allow yourself the time to plan so you can create the greatest possible market impact. Step back. Think through what you’re trying to achieve and how you’ll get there (i.e., develop your marketing strategy, contingencies included—just in case).
What’s the upside?
Without a strategy, it’s easy to get caught up in chasing the latest marketing trend. It doesn’t mean the trend isn’t right, but it does mean you could be wasting time and money on tactics that will produce few results.
There are plenty of examples where tactics have failed to convert end users into buyers. More often than not, the lack of a well thought out strategy was the culprit. So consider this: Marketing is about tapping into all possible resources to develop a plan, trying, optimizing and trying again. Some mistakes will be made. But fewer mistakes will be made by avoiding the common pitfall of skipping over the planning phase.
A focused strategy that includes a manageable number of goals, objectives, approach and tactics will minimize the risk of failure any day. The more focused, the better.
When she’s not hunting customer truths, Diana prefers the amphibian life. She kayaks, snorkels, floats, dreams. She didn’t write this blog underwater - that’d be pretty difficult to do.