I’ve seen businesses rush to spend time and money on hiring outside marketing firms before they're ready. They come to the table asking: “What should I spend on marketing?” That’s just backwards.
If you’re hiring for marketing, and you’re still asking that question, you may not be ready to outsource your marketing activity.
Actually, check that… you aren’t ready to outsource your marketing activity.
The hope is that outside marketing firms will deliver a return but often they fail to meet your expectations. Why? Because, there may not be a direct line between the business realities you’re facing and marketing services you’ve hired.
One Strategy Lab CEO calls this “Marketing by accident.”
A strategic marketing plan will help you focus on your most urgent needs first, so your marketing activity is poised to handle your biggest priorities--not everything at once! Until you’ve got that sorted out, you’re not ready to put marketing dollars on the line.
First Things First: What Marketing Strategy Is--And What It Is Not
Contrary to what many think about marketing strategy, it’s not just a “theory” sitting on a shelf collecting dust. Today, it’s a living, breathing document—your go-to for data and guidance at every step. A marketing strategy helps you prioritize what you need to do first, focused on the right audience, messaging, and marketing channel.
Implementing a single tactic is not the same as having a strategic marketing plan. Set-it-and-forget-it schemes are more folklore than anything else. Every business is unique and requires its own strategic plan to drive measurable results and sustainable business growth.
For Your Consideration: Is It Time to Change the Channel?
The concept of a channel strategy is anchored in where your most viable prospects are on the buyer journey. But, companies will often select a marketing path that’s based on a channel they’re comfortable with, instead of the channel best poised to reach an audience where they are in the consideration process.
“One Strategy Lab CEO calls this Marketing by accident.”
For example, they may rush to spend on paid search to expand reach, or outbound email marketing to find new leads--when other channels may be better suited to a first-tier audience that’s most likely to buy.
Here’s where we ask business leaders to take a step back and assess. If you have an existing email database ready for nurture, email may be the best first step. Conversely, if you have an 18-month purchase decision cycle for your B2B brand, expecting immediate results from paid search may be the last channel you should select.
Stop: You Shouldn’t Execute without a Plan
Building a plan that embraces this type of focused approach gives you a competitive advantage. Selecting the right service providers based on that plan means you'll spend wisely, generate a return, and be ready to invest in the next step. Start by concentrating on three questions:
- What drives your definition of business success?
- How can you focus on discrete growth priorities (vs all growth opportunities)?
- What will resource needs and a timetable look like for your business?
Preparing your business strategy before hiring a marketing firm provides a roadmap so providers you eventually hire know where to focus their expertise.
Don’t Waste Resources on the Wrong Marketing Services
Trying to execute marketing tactics without a well-laid marketing plan is like attempting to build a house without a blueprint. Unless you want a stove next to the toilet, it's a bad idea. Like builders, most marketing firms know all the "tricks of the trade" and are great at executing, as long as they have a guide to follow. Let the Whitespace Marketing Group’s Strategy Lab show you how to build your own marketing blueprint for your business.