02 October 2017 Category: Blog
A carefully formulated marketing strategy is the backbone for any successful campaign and essential to achieving a solid return on investment for your sales and marketing effort. According to statistics, however, 51% of businesses don’t have a strategy at all (Source B2B Marketing)
When it comes to setting out their plan, many marketers find themselves tied in knots trying to pull together the different strands of each programme, taking account of the need to integrate multiple channels, align activity with sales, and deliver results. All of that whilst seeking the right balance between quality and quantity of results generated. With many years of outbound B2B experience, we have walked this tricky path many times with clients of all shapes and sizes, and gained insights into how best to develop and coordinate the various elements of any marketing strategy.
To give you the benefit of our experience, here are our top tips:
Top tip 1: Use a framework
There are many frameworks designed to help marketers formulate successful strategies, that lead you systematically through each and every step of a building a strategic plan.
- SOSTAC – SOSTAC is a great way to map out each stage of the marketing process and is often the first port of call for many marketers. It stands for:
- Situational Analysis - where are we now?
- Objectives - where do we want to be?
- Strategy - how do we do it?
- Tactics - how do we carry our strategy out?
- Action - what are our next steps?
- Control - how do we measure it?
- RACE – RACE is a go to for digital marketers looking to plan and manage activity. It maps marketing strategies against the purchase funnel in order to make the most out of each campaign. It stands for: Reach, Act, Convert and Engage.
- The Ansoff Matrix – The Ansoff Matrix is an essential for marketers looking to formulate a strategy for a particular product or service. It breaks down products and markets into ‘present’ and ‘new’ categories to determine the approach needed. For example, an existing product looking to enter into an existing market would be placed in the ‘market penetration’ category. In other words, marketers need to come up with a new way of positioning a familiar product into an existing market that makes it the most attractive option.
Top tip 2: Define your USPs and what differentiates your product
Knowing what makes you and your product or service different will form the foundation of your whole approach. Your USPs will help you to pinpoint your exact messaging and positioning, making it that much easier to develop a strategy that achieves your objectives. You’ll also want to find out what your target audience needs from your product and which benefits you offer that your competitor’s can’t match.
Top tip 3: Get to know your target audience(s)
You can only find out what your customers need from your product if you know who they are first. You may have a niche target audience, or a range of different segments, but either way, you’ll need to get to know them all in depth. Make audience profiles of typical members of each of your segments and map out their wants, needs and interests. It is worth carrying out market research to make sure your persona are fully fleshed out and accurate. This way you can form a strategy that is based on solid insight rather than superficial data or inherited assumptions that might take you off track.
Top tip 4: Know your budget
You might have great ideas but you need to plan and fully cost your activities from the start, so you can carry them through; there’s nothing worse than embarking on a campaign that falls flat when budget runs out. Costing activity in advance enables you to prioritise elements that are critical to success and assign resource proportionately, so your investment is really targeted. Allow some flexibility for testing and fine-tuning ideas, especially when trying new approaches. By tightly managing your budget, you can keep a close eye on cost per lead and ROI and halt programmes that aren’t performing well.
Top tip 5: Look at past results
There’s no point strategising if you don’t pause to take stock, review what you do, and refine your approach. Look at past activity and results to get a clear insight into what’s worked and what hasn’t and feed that intelligence into any new plan. If a certain channel/ segment/ message hasn’t behaved or performed how you expected in the past, that’s unlikely to change. Factor this into your current strategy to make sure your campaign is working its hardest.
Top tip 6: Set the right KPIs
A successful marketing strategy doesn’t end when your plan is complete; you need to make sure you have the right benchmarks and KPIs in place to know whether or not your strategy is truly successful (this will also help you with tip 5!). Look at your company’s long-term goals, as well as industry benchmarks and break these down into metrics that can be easily analysed. Make sure these are both relevant and achievable to keep the whole team focused and motivated!