When growing your business and thinking about your business strategy, common sense tells you to ramp up the marketing. But if that’s the way you’re thinking, you may want to hold your horses, because investing in marketing before another key area could be very damaging.
“But I want more leads”
Of course you do, everyone does. I do!
The problem is that you could go out there and just 'do' some marketing - and you might even get some leads back off it - but unless it links into an overall business and marketing strategy, your success will be short-lived.
Think about it like this: you could go out there on a boat and fish one time, in one area, with a few rods and catch a few nice kippers to take home with you.
Alternatively, you could build an entire fishing strategy, identify the best areas of every lake and stream to target, when to target them and with which bait. Investing in a strategy like that first means much greater long-term success.
The sad thing is that many businesses are going fishing over and over again without thinking about the when, where, what and why of it all first.
That's something that takes time and proper, well thought-out investment in marketing strategy rather than just a few one off campaigns.
Without a pre-defined strategy, what may seem like an incredibly inventive one-off marketing campaign might end up falling on its face or, worse, attracting the wrong sort of attention.
Not investing in strategy first means:
- You don’t spend crucial time drilling down into who exactly your target market is, and while you think you might know this, there’s always more detail that can be found and new prospects you hadn’t considered
- You don’t analyse your customer data and identify their pain points and why they buy
- There’s little cohesive discussion about the unique value of your product/service
- You’re not analysing how you’ve done with marketing in the past and allowing those findings to inform your next campaign
- You don’t agree on your customers’ preferred channels – you just post
- You allow individual perceptions of your customers and your business to inform decisions, not actual insight
- You don’t decide what metrics you’ll use to measure your campaign
- Your marketing campaigns have a greater risk of failing
It’s that last bullet point that should make you think the most.
Go to an agency or consultant, tell them the campaign you want to run. Even if it succeeds in the short-term, it won’t do much for your long-term business growth.
You’re far better off investing now in an overall marketing strategy, which will serve your whole business long-term, than you are doing a few bits and bobs to try and generate some quick wins.
Another key feature of any solid strategy you put together is looking beyond marketing. Your marketing strategy, after all, has to fit in with the rest of the business' goals and departments, particularly sales and operations.
Not aligning sales, marketing and operations means:
- You risk warming leads up only for your salespeople to fail to act at the right time
- The operations team don’t know what new customers want
- You spend more time marketing and not enough on delivering
- You struggle to retain customers
- You don’t see much of a return on your investment in marketing
- The relationships between marketing and sales risks becoming strained
- The customer experience you provide may be poor because what your customers were sold on is not what you’re actually able to deliver.
Customer experience is everything for today’s consumer; some people have gone as far to dub it ‘the new marketing’, with many companies actively making efforts to improve customer experience through a better use of data and more rigorous attempts to map the customer journey.
Mark Sherwin, MD of Accenture Interactive, summed up the importance of customer experience nicely when he said “Experience is the battleground for brands today. Consumers and even business buyers have the ability to pick and choose more freely than ever. And industries are being disrupted constantly to give new choices.”
But you won’t be able to deliver the experience your customers want without alignment and a strategy that informs how you talk to them at each point of the customer journey.
That’s what we mean when we say you don’t want marketing. What you really want is a strategic plan which involves marketing, but also does much, much more.
One-off bits of marketing might sound like a good idea. But no matter how good the idea you had in the shower this morning, or that creative campaign that flew into your head while you were driving to work yesterday, the smart money is invested in the long-term future.
That's not to say the creative ideas and campaigns you and your team have come up with can't fit into an overall marketing strategy, but running them without first considering everything across the business could be detrimental to your overall success.
Investment in strategy is the only way to ensure your business growth is sustainable rather than short lived; if you haven’t already, it’s time to start thinking about the bigger picture and not just a small part of it.
Whether you decide to create your marketing strategy in-house or outsource the job, everyone needs a starting point. Click the banner below to download our Effect Marketing Strategy for Growth.
For more on our strategic consultancy service, click here.