Few things are more confusing to business owners and marketers than the idea of marketing strategy.
I think that’s due in part to simple misunderstanding by many who try to apply the concept, but it’s also due to the fact that strategy is very malleable – that is to say, it can be many things.
A very solid way to define business strategy is the effective use of resources to reach stated objectives. Perhaps a more tangible way to define marketing strategy would be the effective use of resources to create and communicate a valuable and profitable difference in the marketplace.
Either way you can see there’s lots of room for interpretation.
But, rather than debate the proper way to define what marketing strategy is, I would like to share how to develop it, bring it to life and give it a voice. No matter how perfectly you state your marketing strategy, if it doesn’t live firmly in the tactics you employ to develop customers it’s all for naught.
The act of driving strategy deeply into your marketing consists of three elements:
Determine a core point of difference – This is how you state why someone should hire you as opposed to someone else who says they do what you do. It’s your unique value proposition and it must be developed with a narrowly defined ideal client in mind.
Create an engagement framework – Strategy based engagement thinking forces you to push your core marketing strategy into every marketing activity. I’ve developed a very powerful tool for building this kind of framework called The Marketing Hourglass.
The Marketing Hourglass is a concept that asks you to create processes, products, campaigns and engagement aimed at logically moving prospects and customers through seven stages – Know, Like, Trust, Try, Buy, Repeat and Refer. By viewing each of these stages as a place to reinforce your core difference as well as deliver key information, you create the kind of engagement that leads to you most profitable clients.
Map content to strategy – Once you develop your core difference and outline your Marketing Hourglass it’s time to give your strategy voice. This is based done by mapping how you will communicate your core difference through content that creates awareness, educates, builds trust and converts.
You won’t necessarily create every tactical element involved in implementing these three steps, but the planning process involved in fully developing your organization’s marketing strategy must consider these elements as three parts of the strategy puzzle.
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