Every marketer knows that strategy is necessary for effective execution, but oftentimes we get that deer-in-the-headlights look when it’s time to get down to business. . This hesitation isn’t necessarily rooted in fear. Rather, key players become anxious thinking about all the “stuff” that accompanies the strategic process—so much so that the process gets marginalized.
Resist the Urge to Speed Ahead
The truth is, strategy takes time. It demands critical thinking. It can face multiple roadblocks and sometimes gets completely shut down if the C-suite isn’t buying in to what the in-the-trenches team is proposing—even if it fully supports established business goals.
Strategy takes time. It demands critical thinking.
A well thought out strategy is particularly important when introducing a new trend or technology into your marketing efforts. For example, video. Everyone has been talking about video. Advances in technology mean that pretty much anyone can create a video and make it look professional (thanks, iPhone!). Quality is a consideration, of course, but even the most Oscar-worthy production isn’t doing anyone any good if it just sits on YouTube.
Do you have a communications plan to get it viewed? What are the KPIs? Is it a drive-to-sale tool? An educational piece? Before the video—or any asset—is even produced, these are all goals that need to be clearly identified and agreed upon before strategy moves forward.
The Rinse-and-Repeat Approach
As much as we do our research; prep, plan, and dig into trends, there are a lot of times when a definitive answer evades us.
Fear comes with the unknown, and a lot of time marketers are making decisions without the benefit of historical data. This is why marketing software is so important. Good strategy isn't as painful when you have data to support recommendations.
Good strategy isn't as painful when you have data to support recommendations.
As basic as it may sound, the best marketing has a “rinse and repeat” component:
- Establish a goal
- Build the strategy
- Create the plan
- Develop a timeline
- Execute the tactics
- Analyze results
- Reallocate marketing dollars to either a) do more of it or b) do more of something else.
Learning to Enjoy the Process
If there’s comfort in anything, it’s knowing that strategy is never done. If you can come to terms with that, the process not only becomes less anxiety-inducing, but you might find you enjoy diving into the details (and perhaps get really good at it as a result).