Do you actually need a marketing strategy?
Unless your product or service is so in demand that business just falls into your pretty little lap, then you probably don’t need a marketing strategy.
So to the 90% of businesses that DO need a strategy here’s a framework to help you.
First you must understand your company’s “why”. Why do you exist? Why do you sell products or services? Remember, people rarely buy your product for “what” it is, they more often buy products for the why behind it. If you can identify “why” a company exists it’s much easier to understand “how” they can help potential customers and “what” their product needs to include.
“We are the lowest cost, no frills airline.” -South West Airline
“Organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.” – Google
“Invoke the imagination, provoke the senses and evoke the emotions of the people around the world.” –Cirque Du Soleil
“To provide the best customer service possible.” – Zappos
“Every book ever printed, in any language, all available in less than 60 seconds.”
“To inspire and nurture the human spirit – one person, one cup and one neighborhood at a time.” -Starbucks
Once you have established your “why” you must then set a bhag, a big hairy audacious goal. Jim Collins first mentioned this concept in Built to Last, in the context that the visionary companies who were in fact built to last, had a major goal in mind that would seem, for the most part, unattainable.
That’s the weird thing about goal setting, no matter how far out the desired outcome may be, these companies were resilient in trying to achieve these goals.
Does your company have a BHAG? Why not? A BHAG shows a company has a long term outlook, that they aren’t just around to make a quick buck, that they actually care about how they grow.
Sam Walton set a BHAG for Wal-mart that they still haven’t achieved yet. Key word in that sentence is “yet”. I have no doubt in my mind that they one day will.
How, What, Who, When
Once you have your BHAG set you’ll have an idea of the direction of where the company is going. Now you must determine how you’re going to achieve it. What your short term objectives will be. Who your target audience will be (no it can’t be everyone). And when you can begin implementation.
Gone are the days of the “master strategy” you must have objectives to be moving towards but any detailed planning past a year is useless. Things change, industries shift, and the only thing you can guarantee is that change will occur. Being ready to pivot and to adapt means you have an intimate knowledge of your customers and you’re always trying to provide them with more value. It’s your loyal customers that will be the gasoline to your firestorm of growth.
Tactics: Awareness, Purchase, Experience
As Jim Lecinski points out in “Winning the Zero Moment of Truth” you must understand the complete purchase cycle of your customers. From awareness of your product to comparison and consideration. If the product holds up after research (ZMOT) you will move on to purchase (FMOT). Once the item or service is purchased the experience (SMOT) will be a part of the marketing mix because the service it’s self can influence repeat purchases and/or spreading the newly found delight to social circles on and offline.
It’s naive to think a little big of advertising here and there will suffice anymore. You have the option to strategically breakdown what stage your potential customers are at in the purchase cycle and deliver them an anticipated, valuable, dare I say, enjoyable message to help make their decision easier.
Yes, fine-tuning your website will satisfy the zero moment of truth but what about the first and second moments of truth? Are you taking advantage of every stage in the purchase cycle?
Hint: The secret is in finding your “why”.