Do I need a marketing strategy to get started marketing my business, is a very common question asked by new business owners and new marketers alike. It’s a very important question, because whether you start with a strategy, or choose to get right into tactics will change the way you think and act in regards to your marketing. One of which will be a lot more frustrating than the other.
It’s all about planning to succeed in marketing
Jumping in the deep can be a viable way to get started. The old, sink or swim approach. But there’s a pretty slim chance you’ll be able to swim, and an even slimmer chance you’ll be able to swim as well as those already in the pool.
Marketing is no different. Jumping into tactics without a strategy will result in your either drowning or getting left behind by your competitors.
You need to have a plan on how you’re going to start, progress, and measure how well you’re performing. These are the reasons why you must have a marketing strategy.
Developing a strategic focus
Marketing at its core is pretty straight forward. Tell people who you are and get sales. But there’s much more involved to achieve what seems like such a simple thing.
Your strategy, if developed properly, will give you a road-map to success. It will help you decide on who to target with your marketing, and how to talk to them. It will also provide you with a set of objectives and metrics that will allow you to measure how well your marketing is performing.
Related: What is Marketing Strategy?
It’s quiet amazing how many businesses (and not just small business) start marketing using what they think will work from a tactical point of view. The worst part about that isn’t so much picking the tactic without establishing a desired outcome, but that when completed there is no way to know if it was successful or not.
I know a tactic will work, so why do I need a marketing strategy
This is a good one, and I hear it way too much.
Anyone who’s listened to a podcast, or done some research online, or talked to an agency, or freelancer, or another business owner can figure out what tactics have worked for other businesses in the past. The problem with this is that there has never before been a business like yours.
Sure there’s been businesses in your field before. But never has there been a business exactly like yours.
For example if you where to start a new law firm. You definitely would not be the first. But you would be the first to offer the service in your particular way. The specific field in which you practice will have been done before (most likely), but not in the way you’re planning on doing it. So a tactic that may have worked for another law firm in another part of the world won’t necessarily work for you for these reasons and many more.
Therefore, it’s imperative that you have a roadmap, or strategy, for your businesses marketing which takes these elements into account. It will help you to identify your audience so that you communicate to them in a way that will work for them (not for you). Understanding how to position your unique business will determine which tactics will work for you, and how to execute those tactics.
Still not convinced?
You could always give it a try without a strategy. But here’s the cold hard facts answering why do I need a marketing strategy:
- You’re success measurement will be, at best, industry standard based (if you can even find these standards for the particular tactic you use, they will not be specific to your location and your particular offering)
- You’ll have no idea if your goals and objectives where achieved – because you wont have any.
- At every fork in the road you will have no way to determine the right path to take – a strategy will have a higher level direction which will guide your every decision
- Anyone who says they succeeded without planning – is a liar, or someone who settled for something less than they could have achieved
- I tried both tactical and strategic approaches to marketing – the tactical approach will only get you so far, where as a strategy will get you that far and push you further.
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