Strategy, Strategy, Strategy, Strategy…

A couple of years ago Microsoft held a conference for developers where Steve Ballmer, now the company’s CEO, stressed the importance of developers.

His enthusiasm was quite evident, and is today well known among the developer community (see the embedded video). The same can probably said about myself and strategy… sans the yelling… and sweat. 🙂

This week, I met with a couple of clients and prospects regarding strategic planning for 2013. It doesn’t matter if you work for a business or nonprofit, establishing a clear understanding of your goals and how you are going to accomplish them through marketing communications is important.

I can almost relate to Ballmer’s passion and enthusiasm. As a strategist, I cannot stress enough the importance of having, and following, a written marketing plan. Goals, budgets, strategy, tactics, and measurements outline expectations and where you hope to be by this time next year.

Many times, a business operates without a strategy because they simply do not know how to create one. In lieu, they initiate programs and tactics on-the-fly with no real understanding of its implementation and possible ROI. Even worse, some might even be suckered (yes, I just said that) into an expensive program from a vendor or media outlet with no basis of measuring its success.

There are five important components of a marketing strategy. Each help build your tactical implementation so you know who you’re going to communicate with, what you’re going to say, and how it might impact your sales.

First and foremost, what do you hope to achieve? Are your goals going to be based on revenue, volume, or something else? Decide what you wish to achieve and make sure each of your strategies and tactics in the plan all support your goals.

Products and Services
Is there a product or service that provides a great margin for your business? Think about what you have to offer, where you want to improve sales, and how you might benefit from advertising these profit centers to your target audience.

Target Audience
You wouldn’t walk out to the street and start talking with strangers, hoping you’d find someone who might be interested in your product or services. Same applies for marketing. It’s important to plan who you want to communicate with to help narrow how you will reach your ideal client.

Strategy and Tactics
Outline the strategy and tactics in your plan. What are you going to do? When are you going to execute them? How much will be spent? These are some of the questions that should be answered in this component of your plan.

Regardless if you have a marketing manager or not, make sure each tactic has a person responsible for it. When you assign responsibility, make sure they get done! From your sales team to your marketing manager, up to your CEO, everyone needs to be responsible – as appropriate – for the success of your business.

Reviewing and assessing your marketing program is important. An ongoing assessment will help you understand how well your tactics are working and what, if any, changes need to be made so that you can reach your goals come year’s end.

While strategy may not be your forte, it is certainly mine. If you know you need help with planning for 2013, or would like a free consultation on how SRJ might benefit your business, I invite you to give us a call today at 214-528-5775. You’ll be glad you did!