Peter Drucker, the famous “founder of modern management,” once said:
“Strategy is a commodity, execution is an art.”
What he meant by that is this:
Everyone and their brother will promise you “the top 7 secrets to business success,” or “the 3 things I changed which helped me build an online business,” or “the killer business strategy that made me six figures in six months.”
But the fact of the matter is, talk is cheap.
People will try to sell you strategies and plans for growing your business all the time, but if they can’t also sell you execution, then you will end up wasting your money.
Execution, as Peter Drucker said, is where a strategy is put to the test.
Can you develop a strategy that will win your market, and then implement it successfully?
That’s what strategic marketing is:
Performing the research and groundwork necessary to find your market, and make your business a lean operation machine targeting the right people in the right way, and then;
Taking the information you have on your market, and doubling down on the successful and repeatable marketing techniques which will win your market.
So how do you come up with a strategic marketing plan? Let’s take a look.
First, you need examine the situation in the marketplace, and answer these four questions:
- What is the problem I’m trying to solve?
- Who has this problem?
- Are there competitors also solving this problem?
- What makes me different from these competitors?
This step is called “market research.” Every business owner, at some point, has done some measure of market research.
This time, however, take several hours (or even days!) and delve deeply into this process. The process of writing this information down will force you to clarify to yourself the importance of what you do, and who you do it for.
Purpose & Plan
So what does your business do to solve the problem you identified in Step 1?
This is the moment when you answer exactly how you and your company solve the problem you discovered in the marketplace.
Answer these two questions:
- What do I do for my customers?
- How does it benefit them?
If you are struggling to be hyper-specific in your answers, try to re-frame the question.
What do your happiest customers say about you? Have you re-read your best testimonials and reviews? Ask your current clients what you do best for them, that will jumpstart your thought process.
The more specific you can be, the better grasp you will have on your value in the marketplace.
Now it’s time to dive into your audience.
Can you explain a little more who you’re targeting? Not just who they are, as a large group, but what each one looks like individually?
That’s the goal of this step.
Create “buyer profiles,” which are detailed pictures of who your individual target client is, what his pain points are, his motivations for acting, his concerns, and his frustrations in trying to solve his paint points.
A completed buyer profile should look something like this:
Who you’re going to talk to and what you’re going to say are important things to figure out. Equally as important, however, is how you’re going to say them.
People respond to stories. They don’t just want to hear you say how great you and your company are.
Customers respond to visualizing their own success. If you can get them to think about their problems, then offer a solution to those problems and let them envision their lives without it, then you’re much closer to actually getting them as a client.
So you need to figure out these five things: attention, need, satisfaction, visualization, and action.
- Attention–how to bring attention to your customer’s problems
- Need–show your customer what he or she needs
- Satisfaction–get your customer to agree on what would satisfy this need
- Visualization–help your customer visualize their success
- Action–get them to take action
No strategy works without an execution plan. What are you going to do to accomplish these goals?
You need your marketing objectives. Do you want 15 new clients every month? Do you want 50,000 pageviews on your website? Do you want 20 shares on your post on Facebook?
What do you want to accomplish with your marketing?
Have you heard of SMART goals? The acronym stands for specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound.
If your goals meet all five of these criteria, then you are likely to complete your goals successfully.
Once you know exactly what you want (#1, specific), you will be able to gauge your progress towards that goal (#2, measurable) and whether you’re on track to achieve it (#3, achievable).
Part of the point of answering questions about your goals prior to implementing them is figuring out if accomplishing it will help you (#4, relevant). And putting a due date on it motivates your progress (#5, time-bound).
Fill out one of these SMART goal templates from the University of Texas Health to get you started.
Who is in charge of setting marketing goals, assigning tasks to members of your team, and tracking your progress?
It’s an important question.
If you don’t have a dedicated team member whose job it is to figure out what you want to accomplish through marketing, come up with the best strategy for getting there, and then implement that plan, then you at least need to set aside some time each week to devote to this.
As Peter Drucker would say, “Strategy is a commodity, execution is an art.”
Be monitoring your goals, your progress, and your marketing ROI as you are executing, so you aren’t surprised by the outcome, and you can successfully market your business.
Just to recap, your strategic marketing plan needs six things:
What problems do you see in the market, and who has them?
Purpose & Plan
What will you do to alleviate that problem?
What is the person who has that problem like?
How will you attract that person?
What are your specific objectives with marketing?
Are you meeting those objectives?
If you have any questions, be sure to ask us in the comments, or leave a question on our social media pages.
William is Director of Marketing at Enable. William is passionate about sales and marketing, and is always looking for more efficient ways to do both. When he’s not creating new content for Enable, you can find him spending time with his family and friends.