We talk a lot about “strategy” and the importance it has on building a successful business and brand. And whilst most startups understand the importance of having a robust strategy in place, some established businesses are put off from the notion of creating a marketing strategy to be successful. Very often, they’ve enjoyed years of growth and profit on the strength of providing a great service and achieving ‘word of mouth’ customers.
Of course, this is a great way to penetrate a market and gain market share, but we just wonder how much more successful these businesses could be if they took a step back, assessed the market and focused on creating a brand with a consistent message that resonated with their customers.
When we approach any project, we apply a philosophy of INVESTIGATE, INTERPRET and IMPLEMENT.
The ‘Investigate’ stage involves a complete audit of everything the business is currently doing to establish what is, and what isn’t working. It’s also when we get back to basics and conduct some in-depth research including, amongst other factors, the market dynamics, the customer personas and a complete competitive analysis. This part of the process helps us to create a marketing strategy that will deliver on the businesses vision and expectations. It is the ‘Interpret’ part of the process and allows the business to realise its full market potential. Once the research has been interpreted and a working strategy that all stakeholders understand has been created, the business is ready to ‘implement’ marketing communications.
If the first two parts of the process haven’t been carried out, then how can any tactical marketing activity add to the bottom line? It becomes marketing for marketing’s sake and is usually a complete waste of time and money.
We have recently spent time with an impressive traditional, professional services business. Their heritage, culture and vision were all admirable, but they were conscious of emerging digital disruptors, and rightly so. Having delved deeper into their marketing efforts, we noticed the message they were communicating was to the wrong audience and via the wrong channels. It had put them off doing any future advertising because they didn’t see a return. Now, the Director’s are all highly intelligent people with an unrivalled knowledge of the services they offer BUT, they needed support in turning the business benefits into a marketing message that the customer understands and appreciates. They also needed support to buy media that has been identified as relevant to the customer and not just because a media vendor happened to call them when there was a few pounds left in the marketing pot.
The creation of a marketing strategy will ensure that any marketing expenditure made by this business, and many like them, will offer a measurable return. It means that media planning and buying decisions will be made on merit, rather than opportunity.
Businesses seem scared to embrace the services of marketing consultants to create a marketing strategy and think they’ll be paying for someone, who doesn’t possess as much market knowledge as them, to produce a white paper that will sit on a shelf and never be looked again. And we don’t disagree. Some consultants will do just that (we’ve met them in our previous careers!). However, a good consultant will work with businesses to extract their undeniably important insights and turn that knowledge into a meaningful and actionable plan of how to attract and convert the right audience, with the right message, at the right time and through the right channels. A good consultant will be committed to achieving the business objectives with a plan that focuses on measurable results.
So call it what you want. If the word ‘strategy’ doesn’t float your boat, then think of it as a marketing plan with purpose. Or effective marketing direction. And if the word ‘consultant’ doesn’t agree with you either, then think of Tidal Marketing as interim or retained senior marketing experts.
We promise not to use the words ‘strategy’ or ‘consultants’ if you’d prefer. But we say…...embrace strategy, ingrain it in the business and enjoy the results it will undoubtedly bring!
Tidal provided us with a clearly defined strategy for our new service that has guided the market launch and continues to be used across the business. They helped us define our tone of voice and key messaging for different stages of the buyer journey, which we are now using to help shape our marketing communications going forward.
Laura Warren, Digital Marketing Manager, MyLondonHome