Do I really need a marketing strategy?

Do you ever feel lost in your marketing? Not sure if you’re spending your time, energy and money in the right places? You wouldn’t be the only one.

Marketing can feel complicated for businesses of all sizes. For small business owners who are “doing it all” it can be especially difficult. 

Come in close and let me tell you a secret… 

Like most small business owners, I’ve struggled with knowing how best to invest in marketing over the years and even today, as my business and my brain has matured I’m still learning! 

With more marketing channels available to businesses than ever before, opportunity can quickly turn into overwhelm. 

You’re already juggling the many hats that come with being a small business owner. Pop your marketing hat on and suddenly you’re thinking about what content to post on social media, how to improve your SEO, what budget to set for your Google Ads; the list goes on! 

Not to mention that “marketing guy” at the BBQ last weekend, who has told you that Tik Tok is the next best marketing channel and you should “definitely be on there”…

Well, guess what? Good marketing – thankfully – is not as complicated as it’s made out to be. But it does require a bit of strategic thinking. 

Do you need a documented marketing strategy?

Honestly, I don’t believe you do. 

The number of small business owners who have outsourced their marketing strategy to a big fancy marketing company to produce a 30 page dossier for tens of thousands of dollars and are none-the-wiser astounds me. But it happens on the regular, BECAUSE marketing can feel overwhelming.

Sure, there are parts of marketing that are complicated (I literally have no idea or desire to learn how to run ads or how to retarget, for example), but that doesn’t mean your strategy needs to be hard. Especially if you’re still finding your feet in how you want to position your business.

If you want to go ahead and whip up a 20+ page strategy document that’s fine with me. But if you want to do it smarter, stick with me! 

Do you need to think about your marketing strategically? 

HECK YES YOU DO.  #sorrynotsorry, this one is a deal-breaker.

If you’re not thinking about your marketing strategically, you’re not thinking about what marketing tactics you could and should invest in to get a return on investment. 

And if you’re not getting a return on investment? You’re spending money, not making it, which gets a big fat no from me. 🙅‍♀️

How to think about your marketing strategically

So many people jump into marketing based on what they think they ought to be doing. Because they’re competitors are doing it. Or someone they know told them to.

*Insert Shannyn, taking a breath*

However, I’d recommend we all take a breath and look at the big picture. And this should start with your business strategy. 

If you don’t have a business strategy, I highly recommend you get one. 

An important part of your business strategy, particularly when it comes to making marketing decisions, is your competitive strategy. 

Not sure what your competitive strategy is or where to start? Michael Porter’s five competitive forces is a great framework that can be used to understand the forces that shape your industry. 

Once you have an understanding of those forces, you’re in a great place to start to define how you want to compete within your industry. 

With greater clarity on how you want to, and can compete, the next step is to refine:

  • What your product or service offering is
  • How that product or service solves a problem for your target market
  • How you’ll market your products or services in a way that differentiates you from your competition and captures the attention of your target market

There are three key aspects of this that you need to think about in developing your marketing strategy:

Who is your target market? 

Also known as your buyer persona, customer avatar, or ideal customer, you should have a thorough understanding of who they are, their demographics, what they think about, value, believe, fear, and doubt. 

I absolutely love working out the answer to the question “what problem do they have that I can solve with my product or service” and “how does this keep them up at night”. 

This helps to refine your key messages (see below!).

What is your key messaging? 

What does your business need to say to break through the noise, encourage consideration and ultimately sales? How does your product or service address a need or solve a pain point for your customer? 

Refining your messaging to help highlight these points of difference is the key to your marketing (as hard as it can sometimes be to get that clarity of voice!).

What channels do you need to use to be heard?

Where are your ideal customers hanging out? Where should you be sharing your key messages in order to best be heard?

[insert picture of funnel here]

Why is it so important? Well, the decisions you need to make about what marketing channels to use largely depend on where the customer is in your marketing funnel. 

For instance, SEO is generally a marketing awareness tactic, designed to get people to your website. But if you have thousands of customers visiting your website but only a handful making a purchase, this might not be the best marketing tactic for you to invest in, because the problem is not traffic, but conversion.

Final word

There is a lot to unpack when developing your competitive strategy, and your marketing strategy – oh, and did we mention that you needed to start with a business strategy –  so yes, there is a bit to consider. 

But it honestly doesn’t have to be hard or complicated.

If you need a hand determining what strategies and tactics are right for your business I’d love to help.  

If you can’t already tell, I’m passionate about helping business owners avoid wasting their time and money on marketing that doesn’t solve their problems.

I’d love to help you start demystifying your marketing. 

Get in touch today to find out more.

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