In last week’s blog, we focused on the more high-level, fundamental tasks involved in bringing your small business vision to life via your marketing team. Now, let’s dig into the “nitty-gritty” you’ll need to accomplish to ensure your marketing team follows through.
Here are some steps to nail down a process to help build a marketing roadmap.
1) Mapping the Buyer’s Journey
Understanding the path your customers take throughout their lifecycle with your brand is vital to your marketing team’s success. Your marketing team owes you a crystal clear idea of how to reach your customers at all stages—from awareness and engagement to purchase, retention, and even churn.
Overall, this means knowing:
- What customers need at each stage of their usage lifecycle for your product or service
- What your brand can offer them at each of these stages
- Which channels to use to most effectively deliver value at each stage
Without a clear understanding of your customers’ dynamic and ever-evolving needs, your marketing team won’t know how to nurture authentically and effectively as prospects get to know you. Nailing down their specific needs throughout their journey, your team will always know exactly what to do to keep them moving forward.
2) Tailoring Your Message and Approach to Different Audiences
Providing a “one-size-fits-all” experience isn’t going to cut it. It’s important to tweak your engagement approach based on the audience you’re targeting. Each audience you serve will have their own set of needs, pain points, and expectations.
Providing a 'one-size-fits-all' experience isn’t going to cut it.
The fact is, some marketing tactics will work better for some audience segments than others. Similarly, certain audiences may engage more on certain channels—while avoiding your other marketing channels entirely. Depending on their familiarity with your brand, or even the types of products or services you offer, the data from testing will inform just where you’re getting the most traction over time.
As your marketing team continuously focuses on creating and delivering curated messaging, experiences, and value to your various audience segments, they’ll learn where to improve, add, or adjust based on the result each initiative yields against your performance measures.
3) Systematizing Your Marketing Team’s Decision-Making Processes
Because marketing is a creative endeavor, it’s all too easy to fall into the trap of taking a “spaghetti-against-the-wall” approach to your initiatives.
While there is some trial-and-error involved in figuring out what works best for your audience, a solid marketing strategy and plan won’t be based entirely on test-and-measure. Each project should have a set of expectations—preferably based on past in-market experience—as well as innovations you haven’t tried before. Put aside a piece of budget to A/B test as you go that includes some outlier ideas. The market will tell you what works best.
Your marketing team needs to develop a systematic approach to their decision-making process. This will involve:
- Defining specific outcomes (quantitatively and qualitatively) for certain initiatives
- Identifying the resources needed to successfully attain these outcomes
- Documenting outcomes and lessons learned from each initiative—and working to make improvements moving forward
This way, your marketing team will always know whether they’re moving in the right direction and can always pinpoint what to do to stay the course as time goes on.
Speaking of moving in the right direction...
4) Make Incremental Strides Toward Your Vision
As you’ve probably learned, your organization’s vision isn’t going to become a reality overnight.
Still, it will be tempting to start making drastic changes to your operations once you’ve fully solidified your growth strategy. This can end up overwhelming your teams—and cause them to become just as disoriented as they’d previously been.
The market will tell you what works best.
With that in mind, your best bet is to roll out incremental changes to your approach to marketing, sales, and customer service over time. That way, you can be sure that each change made keeps your organization headed in the right direction—and that your teams have a solid grasp of the “new way of doing things” before adding another change to the pile.
Before you dive into making the necessary changes, you’ll want to define:
- The most important and impactful changes to focus on first
- Your team’s capacity for making the necessary changes
- The specific procedures to follow as you make the needed changes
For example, if you’re looking to revamp or improve your brand’s presence on social media, you’d want to identify:
- Which channel to focus on optimizing above all others
- What tools and resources you’ll need to invest in or dedicate to the initiative
- What you’ll be doing on the channel in question in to achieve your goals
Developing a strategic, focused plan of attack will not only equip your team to best accomplish the task at hand, but it will also ensure that their efforts consistently bring your organization close to attaining its vision.
Realize the Vision You’ve Set Forth
Defining your company’s marketing strategy—and keeping your team focused on making it a reality—is a major challenge for small and growing businesses.
But, it’s not impossible.
If your company needs a more DEFINED marketing strategy—one that optimizes the above steps—here are some resources to help:
- See more videos on marketing strategy on our YouTube channel—and don’t forget to subscribe so you get the new ones in your inbox.
- Check out the Strategy Lab video to help break the cycle of random acts of marketing through a proven three-step framework to maximize every marketing dollar they spend.
- Let some air out of your marketing strategy “balloon” by exploring a part-time CMO to guide your in-house or outsourced marketing teams. Make sure your tactics have a strategy to stand on. Let's talk specifics.
- If your team needs a strategy primer to finesse your current strategy roadmap, get in touch so we can set up time to discuss timing and cost so you're in good shape moving into 2022.