The exciting part of marketing is execution. Writing interesting content, increasing your social network, and watching as your PPC campaign clicks increase are all things that we enjoy as marketers.
The part of marketing that is less glamorous and exciting is preparing a marketing strategy. Spending time at the beginning talking about the “who, what and why” of a marketing campaign can sometimes feel unnecessary. Some in your group might even say it’s a waste of time to talk strategy. The clock is ticking, people – we have sales to make!
The fact is, your content, social, and SEM campaigns will fall flat without a proper marketing strategy. If your well-written and interesting blog post is targeting the pool of your audience that doesn’t enjoy reading blog articles in their free time, you will see less-than-stellar results.
Continue reading below for some of the top points that we have been defining in our marketing strategies, before any work has begun.
Overall Business Objectives
What problems need to be solved? This may seem like a “duh” moment… but in a year you will be glad you defined your main objectives. Pinpointing successes or shortcomings in your marketing program all stem from your objectives. If you are not accomplishing them, your program is not effective.
Some common marketing objectives are:
- Increasing Sales
- Building a relevant audience
- Increasing engagement
- Boosting brand awareness
- Driving ROI for marketing programs
What are the specific actions you are going to take to accomplish your objectives? Tactics are the more defined explanation of how an objective will be met.
If our objective is to increase engagement, for example, we may employ a content marketing strategy and pair it with social media marketing to entice conversation around our brand.
KPI stands for Key Performance Indicator. A KPI is a measurable value that is tied to a tactic. This is the part where your analytics data comes in handy – they are KPI’s for your marketing efforts. Using the above example of increasing engagement, a KPI could be Social clicks or engagement, blog views, and landing page conversions.
Audience and Personas
Before creating any content, it’s important to define your company’s audience. This is another step that can seem unnecessary, especially if you have lots of experience in your industry. However, taking the time to map out your audience’s story can really help make your messaging much stronger.
Brand Voice and Styling
Once you’ve decided whom you are talking to, it is important to decide how you will say what you want to say. Brand voices can vary drastically, from the very casual to the intellectual. Does your brand crack jokes? If not, your tone will be much different than a brand that goes for a cheeky tone. Brand voice and styling are especially important tools for writers and creative teams.
Content Themes and Important Initiatives
In any content marketing program, the hard part is usually deciding your topics. Instead of making it hard on yourself, take the time at the beginning of the program to outline out all possible content themes for the company under “umbrellas.” Additionally, lay out all of your key initiatives for the year. If you always celebrate Breast Cancer Awareness month in October, stick it on your initiatives calendar.
Having these umbrellas of topics will let you easily choose a variety of compelling topics for content, and knowing the timing of your initiatives will make it easier to plan ahead.
As you can see, there is a lot that goes into defining a marketing strategy. This can take days or even weeks to complete, depending on the complexity of your campaigns or industry. Work with your marketing teams to outline the strategy that works best for your company, and factor in the proper amount time necessary to complete it.
What else do you include on your marketing strategy? Leave a comment below and let us know.