Please Do Not Launch Your Marketing Strategy This Way

Every business needs a marketing strategy for their company or product or service. Doing so means knowing where you want to go with the business, and who your ideal customer is. While there is (I’m guessing) an obvious need for your product, you aren’t really sure that marketing works because you don’t seem to be getting results, sales or awareness from your efforts.

You are not alone. One of the most overlooked reasons that companies say “marketing doesn’t really work for us” is not because marketing doesn’t work, but because the execution of your marketing isn’t working.

Marketing execution refers to how you get it done, the actual work of deciding what marketing element to use, knowing what to do with it daily, weekly, monthly and quarterly, and then actually doing it.

This is often overlooked as companies and business owners spend time thinking about their vision, and developing ideas for where to take their company, and less time figuring out how they will really make it happen. There is a lot of business press coverage on visionaries and strategists, but not much on implementers. But if the company vision and strategies aren’t executed, what good is it?

This happens more often than not.  The trick is to find out where you may be off-course. Here are the top four things NOT to do when executing your marketing strategy with tips on what to do to get it back on track:

Execute with experience

  • Do not leave the execution of your marketing strategy to your team member(s) with the least experience, such as an intern.
  • Action to remedy this: You need a good implementer on your team — someone who understands strategy and can turn it into action. This person requires knowledge in marketing and people management, and must be both detail- and deadline-oriented.

Match marketing element to goal

  • Do not assume you can choose just any marketing element (i.e., tradeshows, webinars, videos, newsletters, events, social media, website) because you think they all work the same. Maybe you decided you want to exhibit at a tradeshow because the competition or a company you know had great success doing so, or maybe you heard that a weekly newsletter is, without doubt, the best way to increase sales, so you want to do the same thing.
  • Action to remedy this: Understand that there are many marketing elements available. Just because one thing works for one company doesn’t automatically mean it will work for yours. Be clear on what you’re trying to do, and then choose the right marketing element to help you achieve that goal.

Marketing launch one time

  • Do not think that marketing is a one-time thing and does not need ongoing effort. Perhaps you once sent out a company newsletter or launched a website without updating it. Or you attended an industry event, but didn’t follow up with anyone you met. This may be why there were no results to show for all that effort.
  • Action to remedy this: Imagine someone says “Hi,” to you. Would you buy from them? Would you trust their advice? With a simple “Hi,” you just don’t know enough about them and what they can do for you. Now, take that same thinking into marketing. You say “Hi,” to a potential customer, but you need to do more. You also need to do it more often to show how helpful you can be to them. Frequency matters.

Marketing strategy: business goals

  • Do not think that marketing operates in a vacuum without any effect on the rest of your business. Let’s say you put on a sale, but don’t staff up your customer service team to handle the orders. Or the product-development team makes a change to the next version, but doesn’t tell the sales guys. You can imagine the chaos, frustration and lost sales as a result of these poorly executed actions.
  • Action to remedy this: Understand that the actions of marketing affect all, and are affected by all parts of your business. Before implementing any marketing element, run through the process of how it will affect every area of the business. And let your people know what you’re starting, why you’re doing it, and how it will impact their area of the company.

 

In each of these examples, the best of intentions were behind the changes. The sale was to move more inventory. The change was to improve an existing product. However, by only making the change “locally” and not working through how the rest of the business would be affected by these marketing-driven changes, the business would not benefit from the positive effects expected.

Marketing execution could be the missing link between marketing not really working for you and marketing really working for you. And that is a big difference.

[Originally posted on the Toronto Star Business Club]

Photo credit:  Creative Commons – Steve Jurvetson from Menlo Park, USA

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