Wouldn’t you love a solid marketing plan?
Posted by truecourse
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Is your marketing more reactive than proactive? Are you struggling to align it with your sales targets? If either answer is “yes”, a solid marketing strategy & plan could be just the answer.
1. How do you know it’s time for a marketing strategy & plan?
If you want to generate leads with your marketing, you’ll need to prioritize high-impact tactics that will reach your audience…and come up with a plan to implement them. Here are some clues a marketing strategy & plan is in order:
- You sense your marketing is currently being done too ad hoc; it needs more structure and to better align with your business goals for the year
- You want more visibility on when your marketing budget will be spent, and on what, and to ensure the timing of tactics aligns with your business cycles
- You’re ready to have a strategic marketing plan created—with KPIs—that will act as a baseline and be updated and improved upon each year
Do you put as much structure and rigour around your marketing as you do everything else in your business? If not, it’s probably time.
2. What’s the first step?
We always start a marketing strategy engagement with discovery and our brand strategy and recommendations.
Heads-up!: In our next blog, we will expand on how our brand strategy exercise works.
At TrueCourse, we have developed a guided process that enables us to collect—in as few as 3 meetings—the key strategic information we need to do our work and develop your brand strategy, simply through conversations with your team (very little ‘homework’ required). From there, we write your brand strategy document that includes your:
- Business objectives
- Overview of products and services (current and future plans)
- “Ideal client” and target audiences (including personas)
- Key differentiators
- Value proposition
- Brand promise
- And more…
And, in addition to the brand strategy, when we develop your marketing strategy & plan, we spend additional time during our brand strategy exercise mapping your ideal client’s “Buyer’s Process.”
3. What’s the rest of the process?
Once we’ve established the key stages of your ideal client’s Buyer’s Process, we then create your Go-To-Market (GTM) strategy. We identify the 3-5 highest-value marketing tactics that you’ll need to do at each stage—in fact, that you’ll want to excel at—to give you the best chance of generating high-quality leads and happy clients.
The purpose of mapping your Buyer’s Process is to ensure that in your marketing, you live up to your brand promise at every stage of their journey working with you—because if you don’t, your ideal client may simply walk away before they buy.
The 6 stages of the Buyer’s Process are:
- Research/Discovery: Where do your target audiences seek/find similar information and what first impression do you want them to have of you for them to be interested to learn more about your offerings?
- Evaluate & Lead Generation: What can you provide your target audiences so they can independently assess and determine that your offerings are a likely fit for their needs and decide to contact you for more information.
- Engage: What strategies, tactics, and internal processes can you adopt to help ensure leads convert to sales.
- Purchase: What tactics and internal processes should you implement to ensure the purchase process itself delivers on your brand promise.
- Deploy & Validate: What tactics and internal processes are needed to help ensure the successful adoption of your products/services so your customers feel they made the right decision to purchase your offerings.
- Retention & Loyalty: What tactic and internal processes should you implement to help ensure customers remain loyal to your brand and offerings, and refer other potential clients to you.
4. What are the results of the GTM strategy?
Finally, based on the approved GTM strategy, we will develop a 6- or 12-month Marketing Plan and Calendar of Activities that prioritizes the tactics to best leverage your marketing budget and support your sales team for lead gen and closing deals.
That way, you’ll have an actionable, structured plan that aligns with your sales cycles, business goals, Buyer’s Process, budget, and cashflow. What’s not to love?
If you sense your marketing may be:
Too ad hoc to align with your business goals
In need of a clear structure, action items, and measurable ROI
Missing a baseline plan to improve upon each year
Lacking understanding of your target audiences and their Buyer’s Process
Leaving money on the table—not optimizing your budget or following through on your brand promise
Missing the structure and rigour you put behind everything else in your business
…It’s probably time for a marketing strategy and plan.
Need a marketing strategy? We can help.
#DontJustTakeOurWordForIt: Forbes Business Development Council weighs in—these are the keys to a strong go-to-market strategy.