The desire for instant gratification is part of human nature. Delaying rewards, even if they are greater in the longer term, takes will power and focus. Just ask a child at the dinner table feigning torture while forcing down Brussels sprouts for the promise of an ice cream sundae.
Often when we tell new clients that we’re going to begin their project with the critical step of developing a marketing strategy we get an underwhelming response. A comprehensive marketing strategy includes industry, market and competitive analyses; definition of key target audiences; definition of brand; a SWOT analysis; confirmation of marketing goals and objectives; outline of tactics; budget; timelines and a plan for measurement and evaluation. Most people know they should do all of this for the sake of their company’s health, but would prefer to go straight to the bells and whistles of a new website or the oohs and aahs of fancy swag.
But fear not! Developing a strategic marketing plan is not akin to plugging your nose and guzzling kale ginger juice. Instead, it’s more like taking the time to prepare tasty, healthy entrees to earn the rewards of a sweet dessert.
Chatting with clients who have not prepared a strategic marketing plan in advance of tactical execution, we hear common complaints. Most begin with, “I spent a lot of money on…,” and then end in ways such as:
- “…webinars, and they don’t work.”
- “…giving roadshow presentations in six cities, and I didn’t see any ROI.”
- “…having a company manage our social media, and they got our brand all wrong.”
- “…redeveloping our website, and we’re still not getting any leads from it.”
- “…tradeshows, and we didn’t stand out.”
- “…a newsletter, and nobody read it.”
All of the above can and should be avoided with proper planning at the outset of a project. A well-crafted strategic marketing plan ensures you know exactly why you have selected particular tactics or campaigns, how each should be executed to guarantee success and how each should be measured and evaluated.
Which is our way of saying that you don’t necessarily have to like Brussels sprouts to have your cake and eat it, too.