There are probably a thousand marketing strategies you could employ at any given time. They come in all shapes and sizes. All you need to do is pick one and get started. But before you do, it's important to have a strong foundation underlying your marketing. This is the basis on which your ultimate success rests. Just like you need to cover all your bases before you can score a home run, or you need a flight plan to avoid a holding pattern, you need a roadmap or plan for your marketing.
Most business owners skip this step, but end up paying for it in the long run by investing double or triple the time, money, and energy trying to fix their mistakes.
The big question for many is where to start. The roots of marketing can be found in your core values.
Your core values are the principles that underlie everything your organization believes, says, or does. It's important to define these core values since they have such a huge effect on the direction your business will take. Without clearly defined core values, you're just wandering around rudderless.
For example, you might choose "innovation" as a core value. This means that everything your business does should be somehow innovative. If your customers know you for this, you'll know to avoid products, strategies, or methods that are outdated or appear ordinary.
An important part of a business's foundation is an understanding of its natural strengths. Natural strengths are the things you're good at without really trying. These are the qualities of your organization's "personality."
Your natural strength might be your effortlessly friendly customer service. Knowing that you talk to your customers just like old, close friends, you might choose an email marketing campaign as a marketing strategy, since it's an intimate and friendly way to market to your audience.
Your organization's foundation should rest on clear and well-defined long-term goals. Long-term goals should show the direction you'll take in the next five, ten, or even twenty years.
Long-term goals align with the core values and fundamentals of your business. But they also tell you where to go once you've reached a short-term goal. For example, you might grow your social media following to 1,000 people, but what then do you do with them? Look to your long-term goals to guide your next efforts.
Getting Everyone on the Same Page
The foundation of your organization gets its members on the same page. It provides a map of where your company is going. It also defines the culture of your company and makes it clear, so that everyone within it knows where they stand.
Before you get started on any marketing push, start by defining a few key business fundamentals:
1. What are your core values? Core values can be expressed as single words like "diversity," "results-oriented," "service," or "flexibility.”
2. Identify your natural strengths. Try to think of the compliments you get from customers. What do they praise you for that comes naturally to you?
3. Identify a unique value proposition. This is a statement that explains what benefit you bring those who use your product or service, and what separates you from competitors.
4. Create a list of long-term goals that reach beyond the next year or next few years. Imagine where you want your organization to be at specific points in the future such as five years, ten years, and so on.
Once you've done this, write it up in a way that's easy for those in your organization to understand and communicate it clearly to them. There are other considerations of course, such as your customer avatar analysis and taking the right measurements so that you know if you are investing your money wisely.
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If you have had disappointing results in the past, for any reason, then you will want the bonus materials (included for free), such as checklists and infographics that can help you understand where you may have gone wrong and what to do about it.
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