There are more ways than ever to market your product, which can make it overwhelming and confusing to choose the most appropriate and successful tactics and channels for your brand.
Too often, we see brands employing a random selection of tactics just because they can. Or, they attempt to do too many things all at once — again, just because they can. Neither scenario typically ends in marketing success. And if by some chance one does, it’s not the most efficient way to market your product and utilize your resources.
Create a marketing plan
To develop an effective, efficient marketing plan, use your company’s business plan as a starting point. Your business plan is what the company wants to accomplish in one to three years, as well as how, why and when it will happen. Using your business plan as the foundation for your strategic marketing plan allows everyone to operate from a common plan and move toward the same goals. Thus, the strategic marketing plan should align with and support the business plan. Each initiative is looked at through a marketing lens, with a plan written for it. The marketing plan then becomes your filter for those channels and tactics you will employ.
You cannot and should not do everything. This seems logical, but it’s not always easy. Planning for marketing up front and holistically will result in a better use of your time and resources. Here are a few examples.
- A company is launching new products. It can use a large array of tactics, including in-store, social media, direct mail, a website — the list goes on. However, each channel and tactic will utilize financial and creative resources, as the marketing assets need to be created, and then scheduled and activated (often crossing through many internal teams). None of that is quick and easy, and the costs add up fast. Instead, look carefully at each product’s goals and pick the corresponding tactic(s) that will result in the most bang for your buck. One-size-fits-all doesn’t work, and it wastes resources.
- A small company has three focus industries. It is doing well in one, another is a bit newer, and the third is a stretch. The business plan said it is going to do only what is necessary to maintain sales in the well-established sector and shift more focus on the newer one because it sees great potential there. The problem is that the marketing plan was the same as the previous year, and it didn’t reflect shifting more investment into the new industry. This is an example of having a business strategy but not effectively aligning the marketing plan accordingly.
- A third company has only a few marketers on its team and a vast marketing plan with dozens of channels and tactics. The plan has many great ideas, but execution within the timeframe as outlined is simply not feasible with the size of the team. Not wanting to spend more money for additional resources or giving up on any tactics, the only option is to adjust the timeline of when things will be executed. The team realized that not everything had to launch and be ready on the same day. Spreading things out and ramping up over time results in the additional benefit of providing insights into what and what isn’t working, so they can adjust along the way.
Align your marketing with your business plan and take a step back to work with your team to identify what is going to be most impactful. Just because you may be able to implement a large number of tactics, it’s often the case that you shouldn’t. ●
Sue Stabe is co-founder of Long & Short of It