The marketing strategy is your approach to achieving your competitive advantage — the marketing plan contains the activities that will get you there. The strategy is the why behind the work, and the plan is the when and the what that describes the work.
The strategy is what was done previously, is what will be continued, and describes why it is important.
The plan is a list of the next actions that need to be taken.
Don’t confuse the two.
Let’s dispense with the myth that one must begin by creating a comprehensive marketing plan. It is far better to combine a strategy and a plan as you begin working on your initiatives.
MUST INCLUDE “MARKETING STRATEGY” OR “MARKETING PLAN”
There is a lot of fiction in the marketplace.
The marketing plan sounds like a complete strategy; the marketing strategy sounds like a list of tactics.
Don’t do either.
Begin with a statement of purpose.
Define your vision.
DESCRIBE THE FULL VISION
The vision describes where you want to go, not an extensive list of what you hope to achieve.
It is the core idea of what you will do, a coherent statement that will support the positioning statement.
RELY ON DATAPLANES AND WELL-CRAFTED EMAILS
Don’t concentrate on the tasks ahead. Let your mind be guided by the easy flowing databanks of possibilities and probabilities that are being dictated to you by your customers.
As you start thinking through the strategy/plan, make sure your team is thinking like your customers.
Allow the “accelerator” of your customers to work through the plan — one that is already, well, accelerating.
USE SMARTMATIC TRACKING TOOLS TO COLLABORATE
Smart tools track your progress toward achieving objectives — but they help you to envision your destination as well.
You will not be able to complete your strategy and plan without collaborating with other teams — especially your sales and marketing teams.
You need open dialogue to keep your ideas fresh — to keep them from being diluted by the myriad forces that will work to sabotage your campaign.
This is your most critical moment — whether you plan to launch a new product or company into the marketplace.
Is your team ready; have the sales and marketing teams been educated on what you will be doing? Are your marketing and sales people on the same page?
DETERMINE THE RIGHT HOSTING PLATFORM
If you do plan to host your marketing plan on a website, you will want to make sure that your platform meets the same objectives as the rest of your undertaking.
You don’t want to place your plan into the hands of someone who is obsessed with impressing his or her users with flashy features.
Have the power to control your plan? It comes in handy when things get glitchy.
The platform should also be transparent and contain a good, clear reporting system.
DETERMINE YOUR TRAINING PLANS
Nobody is born being an expert in all the things your business is doing today. The art of the many has been refined over time by generations of business people and you need to support that.
A good training plan should be extremely well researched.
It needs to be thorough and discussed in detail by your team.
Following a solid training plan will teach you and your team to think outside the box.
GIVE YOUR TEAM A VISION
To succeed in a company, there must be a vision that everyone in the organization can answer to — a vision company-wide that is clearly defined.
Don’t let the technical minds of your sales and marketing teams monopolize the definition.
Be careful about trying to identify problem areas — focus on your vision first.
IMPLEMENT A VISION
Do this by incorporating your vision at the beginning of every project.
Use formal meetings to motivate the team toward the vision.
“Goals” and time frames do not equal visions.
You will only get an employee to care about the vision if you begin to expose him or her to it by providing opportunities to participate in it;
however, often, it is as well to accept feedback on your vision and task list — and listen to it, as it can be an invaluable aid to your planning.
COLLABORATE WITH THE CORPORATIOIN
You will need the support of senior management to make this happen.
Management will be supportive of you if you are successful in teaching your team the principles of marketing.
They need to see this as a benefit to the bottom line and to the organization.
CONSPIRE WITH OTHER MANAGEMENTS
See what others in your industry are doing.
Who are your competitors — what are they doing?
What is working around your industry and why?
ENGAGE IN DYNAMIC INDUSTRY SCIENCE
This is better handled through using an industry science tool such as Watson with IBM or Intelius.
Often, you will be working on initiatives that are distinctly different.
With this approach, you can check your entire industry against your initiatives by using your industry operator to search and retrieve relevant information.
You will be able to track and share the activities that are working in your industry.
SETTING SALES SMART GOALS
Your sales team thrive on taking orders.
Be sure that you set your goals in such a way as to allow your sales team to see their successes, instead of only being concerned with ticking off marked-off tasks.
Find out what your sales team wants to achieve and allow them to “piggyback” on your plans for the future.
CLUSTER YOUR MESSAGING STRATEGY
Think about how your customers are likely to receive your messages.
Are they likely to read your messages?
Are your messages going to be read in the afternoon or on a weekend morning?
Think about what time personas are likely to be reading your messages.
CREATE GOOD DATA
Let’s face it — you don’t have a fortune to spend on data entry and information retrieval.
Use the data that is already on your site or that has already been shared — it will be for the best.
Use social media data, social media profiles of your customers, and other sources to create “data” that relates to marketing — not just your products.
What about your site?
Analyze the data on your site to find out which products and services sell best.
BIG DATA CAN BE LIKE A JACK-IN-THE-BOX
Higher profile events or opportunities in the market will send out a blast — one that captivates the attention of the right people.
When you see a post like this, pay attention and put your big data to use. It will be to your benefit.
REAL-TIME MARKETING STRATEGY
You must think big — with the right kind of thinking.
“Big” means thinking in a way that expands your markets and changes your thinking — from targeting to broadening your base.
Look to incorporate big data into your marketing strategy right away.
You can acquire big data in many ways — but it must be big to be useful.
Don’t cut corners when it comes to quality data.
The way technology is improving and facing us with changes to the way we advertise — you have to adapt.
The latest developments in technology have changed the landscape in ways you perhaps cannot comprehend today because you can barely handle the practice of placing your own ads.
Don’t overlook the content of your ad — the voice, which tells the story of your product.
Write of a product that has been developed by a creative mind.
You will need to go onto the Internet, dig up the language of the investors, and learn the language of the industry that your product is targeted to.
Too many first time US entrepreneurs misjudge who their markets are — and how to describe them, how to convince them to buy your product, when and how to advertise it.
Hands-on marketing is key.
To do hands-on marketing you will need to relocate to a location that the company is targeting.
This gives you a good working knowledge of your customers and their needs.
LESSONS FROM THE MARKETPLACE
The Internet is a big stage, and it is changing fast.
But it is also a great place to market your new product.
Get out there and advertise.
Share your new product.
Stay in front of the customers.
TAKE TIME TO MINIMIZE RISK
In a well-constructed campaign you will need to constantly monitor your progress, steering through troubled waters.
You need to have some sort of protection mechanism in place, making sure that if something turns a negative, that you have a contingency plan ready to go.
Clarity in the marketplace of your product is a key risk element in the campaign.
You need to understand what kind of marketplace exists and whether it is a favorable, an unfavorable one, or somewhere in between.
Most important of all, take time to get to know your customers, to know their needs, their frustrations, their joys.
AFFILIATE MARKETING PLATFORM
One way to launch your new product is to do so through an existing affiliate marketing platform.
It is important to have a list of existing affiliates to start with because you know what kind of customers will be most likely to buy your product.
The quickest way to get lost in the marketplace is to take on a product and at the same time be battling against all of the competition.
You should always have a backup plan — something else that you can sell to your customers.
The easiest way to understand a product is to buy it.
Sell it yourself in a high-profile location — and make sure that you actually do it yourself.
This is not all that inexpensive; however, it is the fastest way to start with the customers who are already a part of the marketplace where you are looking to sell your product.
GO FOR BROAD MARKETING NOT THIN MARKETING
If you focus on only finding the most limited customers available, and only communicate with them, they are going to get turned off at the very beginning.
Your customers are a small percentage of the people in a demographic of a geographic location.
It is far better to think of your target market as big as possible.
Instead of trying to reach all these people with a potential advertising campaign, think of it as a long-term involvement.
Some of your customers will not buy your product — but don’t lose sight of the need to be communicative with the people who do because that is where you get your information for future improvements and product development.
CREATE A GUIDELINE
Instead of simply trying to hawk your product, create a guideline that your customers will follow.
This is especially effective in a specialty program in which you can take customer information to make decisions on which products you will sell.
MAKE IT WORK
You need to make your business website work for you — time and time again.
When you program your site, your keywords should be thought-out and determined.
Again, the accuracy of your site’s content is of the utmost importance.
When people come to your site, you need to be able to take away their information which is readily available in the form of a good website.
INPUT THE PRODUCT
Dig deep into your customers’ needs and deficiencies through a variety of information.
Add the new things you discover to your website and make sure that it is easy to access.
THE ART OF E-COMMERCE
This is a big market out there — make it work for you.
Think about how you can target the customers.
An e-commerce area is crucial to your business plan as it keeps your business fresh. You need to make sure your customers are served well.
CREATE A CAMPAIGN PLAN
Write out a plan for your marketing campaign.
The plan will look different depending on how much money you already have.
How can you make an ongoing marketing campaign that is as successful as possible?
Assuming that you are not out of cash, and you have a solid plan, you have options.
Ask yourself questions about where you should expand your business into next.
Will there be another outlet for your product? If not, what should you do?
There are a few business ideas that are really hard to market.
Do not think these ideas will not be attractive to a new set of customers.
You might change the concept, the design, the packaging — whatever will attract your consumers to your product.
You are the one in charge of your business.
It does not matter what anyone else is doing.
Take charge of your business and drive your customers to your website.
Every link that your customers click toward your website is one step toward the satisfaction of your customers — at least for them.