How Strategic Marketing Helps You Stop Guessing and Start Growing Your BusinessFebruary 14, 2023 | Marketing, Strategy, Uncategorized
Have you ever seen those highway billboards that read, “Does advertising work? It just did.” Truthfully, they bother me. Why? Because advertising (or marketing) without action is passive. Unless you’re selling a juicy cheeseburger available at the next exit, passive “drive-by marketing” isn’t an effective strategic marketing play. “One and done” doesn’t develop the authority and trust that helps you close the deal with customers. This is especially true for B2B clients who may not make a one-time purchase but rather commit to a sustained relationship with you as a service provider.
Don’t misunderstand me: branding and name recognition are important; however, they’re just the beginning. Effective marketing deploys a strategy that results in action to grow your business.
Spaghetti Marketing vs. Strategic Marketing: Why Planning Is Important
Let’s talk about marketing plans and marketing strategies. When you create a strategic marketing plan, you’re thinking about your destination. Determine what success looks like for your organization and work backward.
Maybe one of your goals is to generate x number of high-quality leads/per month. Or another is to increase profit by 30% in three years. Choose key performance indicators (KPIs) that you can use as targets. Math is your friend when you are determining your marketing ROI. (More on this later.)
Marketing Strategy vs. Marketing Plan
Your marketing strategy is the well-planned route (and steps) you’ll take to achieve the goals in your marketing plan. This includes elements such as your key messaging, branding, ideal client persona, value proposition, overall marketing framework such as StoryBrand or They Ask You Answer (TAYA), and the tactics and channels you’ll use.
In his writings on the “7 Habits of Highly Effective People,” Franklin Covey coaches organizations to “begin with the end in mind.” This means that your activities are purposed specifically around moving you towards your goal. Or, more simply stated by French writer and aviator Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, “a goal without a plan is just a wish.”
Many businesses have a goal in mind; however, their path to get there is poorly marked. They’re well-intentioned and may even have some cool ideas. However, they lack the know-how—or the time or budget—to be strategic about their marketing.
PC Magazine defines spaghetti marketing as “an approach to marketing a product without any strategic plan.” They go on to say, “spaghetti marketing employs a variety of methods in order to learn which one has the best monetary return.” In other words, you’re trying many (or a few) marketing activities simultaneously (or consecutively) in hopes of hitting your milestones.
As much as I love pasta, the “wait and see what sticks” approach usually isn’t a recipe for success. And unless you have unlimited marketing coffers, spending money haphazardly on marketing with no guarantee of an ROI isn’t your best move. This is why marketing planning is important.
What if you could stop guessing and start growing?
A small business marketing strategy allows tactics to work in tandem rather than in isolation, maximizing their impact. Say you’re writing a content piece for your website. You can plug the same blog several times on social media and record a related video to distribute to your email subscribers. That one blog now has a greater impact.
Or maybe you have an outbound email marketing campaign focused on a specific industry. You may include a link to a free educational download that answers their questions about your service and positions your business as an expert. You can also reach that same audience with retargeting ads on websites they’re likely visiting.
Small Business Marketing Strategy: Expense or Investment?
Sometimes when marketing isn’t producing the results you’re hoping for, it’s more about your mindset than your tactics. Ask yourself the following question:
Do you see marketing as an expense or an investment?
If you’re looking at marketing as merely an expense, you’re missing the point. Effective marketing will require an investment of your finances and time.
Experts estimate that companies will invest nearly 14% of their annual budget in marketing in 2023. While this varies by company size, age, industry, and marketplace competition, one thing remains the same: if you’re treating marketing as an afterthought and trying to find out how far your $500 will go, you’re not going to see results.
As a marketing manager, your business owner may be reluctant to make a reasonable investment in marketing. However, there is plenty of compelling data to make your case.
The wealth of information at our fingertips means that consumers have done their homework and formed opinions about your company long before taking a sales call. Consider these numbers:
- 80% of the buying decision is made before the buyer has spoken with a salesperson.
- 33% of all buyers desire a seller-free sales experience – a preference that climbs to 44% for millennials.
An experienced sales team is not a substitute for marketing. Great marketing efforts do not replace sales. Sales and marketing work together to move prospects along the buyer’s journey.
Patience Pays: No Marketing Magic Bullets
Investments rarely pay off overnight. (And if you’ve found one that does, I’m here for it!)
Marketing is often a marathon, not a sprint, depending on where your company is in its lifecycle and where you want to go. Long-term sustained marketing tactics likely won’t drive short-term, overnight results. It’s not realistic to post two blogs a month for three months and expect to see your website traffic soar through the roof. Ask yourself this question:
Are you looking for the silver bullet that gets overnight results, or are you committed to a long-term marketing strategy?
If you are running pay-per-click ads, for example, you might see a return on your investment in as soon as 30 to 90 days.
However, if you’re building a website from scratch, it will take longer to build domain authority than it will an established site. And even if you’ve recently revamped your website, optimized it for search, and are posting useful content, it can take 6-18 months to see a significant spike in organic traffic depending on your blogging frequency or whether you have backlinks.
The good news is that if you’re willing to dedicate the time to create a plan and execute a b2b digital marketing strategy, great things come to those who wait!
Read: Tennessee Accounting Firm Marketing Strategy Has 2,400% Boost in Organic Search
Numbers That Matter: Measuring Your Strategic Marketing
If you’ve invested time and money in your marketing and aren’t satisfied, why? How are you measuring your success (or lack thereof)? Your goals should be quantifiable, and what you measure matters.
Some numbers have substance. Some don’t. In the world of social media, vanity metrics, such as “likes” or “follows” reign, but they lack substance and don’t indicate growth. As we saw with that highway billboard, all traffic isn’t great traffic unless your objective is simply to get noticed. Is advertising, or more broadly marketing, “working” if it doesn’t drive someone to do business with you?
When it comes to numbers, track meaningful ones, such as the number of contacts your sales team has had and where those prospects are coming from. Or your percentage of leads that are converting to clients. (Here’s a formula for calculating your lead conversion rate.) These numbers tell a story and can help you evaluate your lead sources and where to focus your efforts.
Consider what other factors are impacting your ability to hit your goals. When you plan a marketing strategy you can’t always account for unforeseen changes in the market or your business. These can include a global shutdown, new competitors, changes to Google’s search algorithm, or tweaks to your products or services based on changing customer needs. Using tangible numbers to track progress toward your goals and periodically evaluating your tactics is critical to adapting to the market and moving the chains.
Wayfind Marketing: Strategic Marketing Services That Get Results
Because marketing is an investment, invest wisely. Spaghetti marketing lacks the special sauce that powers a strategic marketing plan. It’s time to stop guessing and start growing.
We will partner with your business to create and execute a custom B2B marketing strategy that will get results. We also coach marketers and business leaders who need guidance in brainstorming a fresh plan and putting it into action.