DIY Marketing Strategy
Let’s begin this blog with a couple of pithy quotes from scholars you’ve probably never heard of:
“A vision without a strategy remains an illusion.”
“Creativity without strategy is called ‘art.’ Creativity with strategy is called ‘advertising.’”
Setting aside the skepticism we should all reserve for academics who don’t work in the ‘real word’ and the natural suspicion we should all have of a guy named Jef who spells his name with just one lonely “F,” when it comes to marketing and advertising, these quotes should be taken to heart. Because formulating any kind of real marketing plan begins with a basic understanding of why you’re doing what you’re doing, how you’re going to do it, who you’re doing it to, and what you hope to accomplish. That means having a strategy. And here’s a little secret that most marketing professionals don’t want to let you in on: it ain’t that hard.
So, to make it easy for you, here’s an outline of a Strategic Brief that all you DIY marketers out there can use to help formulate a solid strategy before you start spending money on tactical creative initiatives. This is a brief, not a deep dive into a comprehensive marketing plan, but it does provide the framework to help you:
- Clearly define your marketing purpose
- Understand the current marketing environment
- Understand your customer
- Understand your product or service
- Understand your competition
- Position your organization in the marketplace
If you complete your strategic brief by answering the following questions as honestly and thoroughly as possible, we promise that you’ll be better positioned for marketing success.
Defining the Marketing Purpose:
- For what product or service are we developing the marketing strategy? Describe it generally.
- What is the primary purpose of this marketing effort? Think carefully about this. Is it to educate the market? Create awareness of a new product? Address misconceptions about an existing product? Introduce an expanded product line to an already popular brand? Create good will?
- What is the total marketing budget?
- What is the general timetable for action?
- What are the criteria for success? Specifically, what metrics will you use to measure success?
Understanding the Current Marketing Environment:
- Overview: Big picture. What’s going on in the market that may affect your business?
- What is the demand for your product or service? How do you know?
- What marketing successes have you already experienced? To what do you attribute this success?
- In what ways might the market change, and how might these changes affect your marketing message?
- Can you anticipate these changes and be there first, ahead of the competition?
- Do any negative perceptions of your business exist? If so, how do you overcome them?
- Do you anticipate any marketing problems? Do you foresee resistance to your marketing message? If so, how do you adjust your messaging?
- What are the greatest opportunities for your business in the next 12 months?
- What are the greatest threats to your business in the next 12 months?
- Are their political or cultural changes that might affect your marketing message? How can you adjust to those changes?
Understanding the Customer
- What qualifies a person to be a potential customer?
- Who makes the decision to buy your product or service?
- Who else strongly influences the decision?
- Who is your ideal customer? Consider the following:
- Ethnic identity
- Marital status
- Educational level
- Family size and makeup
- Geographic location
- What problem is your ideal customer trying to solve that you can help with?
- What commonalities to your ideal customers share?
- What differences do they have?
- What are your ideal customer’s ruling precepts? In other words, what is most important to them? How do you know?
Understanding the Product or Service
- What is the purpose of the product or service? In a nutshell, what problem can you help solve?
- What is the core idea behind the product or service? What is the customer to expect? What is the promise? What are you really selling?
- What is the ONE KEY BENEFIT of your product or service?
Understanding the Competition
- Who is your primary competition?
- What product or service do they provide that you don’t?
- What product or service do you provide that they don’t?
- What is their unique selling proposition?
- How is this different from your USP?
- What are their strengths? What are their weaknesses?
- Who do we admire or want to emulate? Why?
- What business are you in?
- What are your driver brand attributes, i.e. what are the few attributes you have that truly differentiate you from your competition?
- What position have you intended to take in the marketplace? What have you meant it to be known as?
- What position do you actually occupy in the minds of customers? What is the company actually known as? How do you know?
- What are your ruling precepts? Why do you do what you do? What is your cause?
- What are your strengths? Why should customers come to you?
- What are your weaknesses? And what do these weaknesses suggest about a position that would be ill-suited, even if you may desire it?
- What can you do to mitigate those weaknesses?
- What do people think of first when they hear your company’s name?
Considering all the above, what “Big Idea” would best guide the entire marketing effort?
Now, what is a succinct statement of your position in the marketplace?