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Before You Waste Moves, Build a Strategy First


Whether you are a small or established business, attempting to sell a product or service requires a strategy.


While this may seem obvious, it is surprisingly shocking the number of businesses that focus on “just doing” (tactics), rather than the big picture (strategy).


Tactics alone is like shooting in the dark. Hopeful, but likely to miss. It confuses customers and jeopardises the brand and potential sales.


What Can Go Wrong


A brand all over the place, is simply that, all over the place.


If your social media does not represent your company culture, if your packaging does not deliver your values, if your tone of voice resembles that of a M. Night Shyamalan character (you get the point), then you are likely to confuse your customer and struggle making sales.


The dangers of not having a marketing strategy are grave. It confuses the customer, ultimately, disengages them from your brand.

Doing things for the sake of doing them is not the right move to make. I have witnessed numerous cases in which companies push content, ANY content (press releases, social media, blogs, etc.), without really saying anything substantial, then complain about the lack of engagement and results.


This is simply a waste of time, resources, and money. This also puts the company’s reputation at risk and when the damage is done, there is little that can be done to reverse it.

A study by IBM — The Consumer Conversation: The experience void between marketers and their customers, found that 56% of consumers felt most brands communication being irrelevant — This is largely due to the lack of strategic approach and listening to the customer.

What happens when we lose the communication with the consumer? We lose the consumer.


Simply put, a brand cannot survive without a strategy.


Have a Game Plan


The average revenue increase attributed to always presenting the brand consistently is 23%. (Lucidpress)


A brand strategy ensures that you and your customer understand WHO you are, WHAT you do, HOW you do it, WHY you do it and WHERE. It establishes a connection between you and your customer. You, the brand, become a person(a).


Here is what a strategy can do for you:


Builds Brand Equity


When your brand communicates in a consistent way, portrays one image and conveys a clear message, your customer can understand and relate to your brand. It adds credibility and builds trust.


Google, Nike, Chanel, are examples of brands with strong brand equity. Customers recognize the brands and the value they bring to them, resulting in brand loyalty.

In order to build brand equity, a business needs to remain consistent with the way it presents itself across all its touch points. It may take some time, but the customer will eventually understand you and engage with you.


Gathers Data


Data matters. Data will tell you if you are utilizing your resources and budgets properly. Data will help you find ways to streamline and eliminate redundancies. It will ensure you stay on track, contribute to your strategy, to your sales, revenue and to your growth.


Gives You a Clear Growth Path


When you have a strategy in place, brand decision making becomes easier.


Take this old Colgate initiative as an example <insert facepalm emoji here>. In the 80s, Colgate decided to expand its product range by introducing frozen food. Ready to eat meals where everywhere and they wanted in (an example of doing things for the sake of doing them). Colgate launched Colgate’s Kitchen Entrees. It is safe to say that people did not swipe right.


Aligns Your Marketing Campaigns With Your Sales Goals


One of the most important pieces when building a strategy is understanding how marketing contributes to brand building and sales. Otherwise, what is the point.

A strategy will ensure that your marketing tactics translate to dollar value.

“The new reality is that sales and marketing are continuously and increasingly integrated. Marketing needs to know more about sales, sales needs to know more about marketing, and we all need to know more about our customers.” — Jill Rowley

Some Dos and Don’ts To Consider


Don’t

  • Launch activities that don’t inherently represent the brand

  • Push content without understanding the point and the goal. Or without consideration for the person receiving this content.

  • Don’t do things for the sake of doing them. Just because it may seem like everyone else is doing it, does not mean you should.

Dos

  • Set clear objectives and KPIs that contribute to the business and its objectives.

  • Consider your company culture and the values it stands for

  • Listen to your customer. Communicate. Humanize. Be clear and relatable.


In conclusion


Have a game plan. If you want to win, then build a strategy. Follow it, review it, and constantly improve it to achieve the goals you are after.


#business #strategy #marketing #communications #planning #gameplan #smallbusiness #startups #SMEs

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