I haven’t always been a planner. Most of my younger years were spent being “spontaneous” – more like flying by the seat of my pants. And while there’s lots of fun to be had heading down the path less traveled, there’s also a lot of risk.
When it comes to strategy, recent studies are pointing out that many marketers must be opting for fun versus results:
- The Smart Insights Survey by KISSmetrics found that 69% of the 40,000 marketers surveyed did not have a digital strategy
- A McKinsey study found only 46% of marketers have a Content Marketing strategy
- And Marketing Land released a recent article outlining a scary statistic from a Skyword survey: Only 25% of marketers are measuring the results — or ROI — of their social media content marketing efforts
The list goes on and on, but I think you get the point. Why are marketers so apt to spin their wheels when CEOs have already made it clear they don’t trust us?
According to a Fournaise Marketing study, 80% of CEOs do not really trust marketers. And here’s why:
“Marketers are too disconnected from the financial realities of companies.”
The article adds:
- 82% of B2C CEOs would like B2C ROI Marketers® to focus on tracking, reporting and very importantly boosting four Key Marketing Performance Indicators: Sell-in, Sell-out, Market Share and Marketing ROI (defined as the correlation between Marketing spending and the gross profit generated from it).
- 85% of B2B CEOs (and B2C CEOs in prospect-driven industries) would like prospect-driven ROI Marketers® to focus on tracking, reporting and boosting four Key Marketing Performance Indicators: Prospect Volume, Prospect Quality Rate, Marketing Effectiveness Rate (defined as the percentage of Marketing spending that directly generated prospects) and BizPM™ (business potential generated by Marketing).
So how can marketers get back on track and start incorporating strategy and results into their daily routine?
A Blueprint For Strategy
Strategic planning will vary from business to business, but there are some key elements that everyone can (and should) follow when starting to plan day-to-day as well as an overall and cohesive marketing strategy.
- First and foremost, what do you want to achieve? What’s the point? The goal? The outcome you’re desperately seeking? Answering this has to come first!
- Perform an Audience Analysis. This will not only help you understand who your ideal customer is, it will help you understand where they are active, ready and willing to receive YOUR information online. [Hint: Visit my last SteamFeed article and check the comments for an insightful look at how to go about talking to your customer base from fellow SteamFeeder Daniel.]
- Pick your hot topics. When working with clients we usually start with Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) first as these can give a ton of insight into what your current and would-be customers are really yearning to know. And I think it goes without saying that your messaging should not be all about you (or sales-y).
- Perform a Competitor Analysis.There’s no need to recreate the wheel. Even companies that don’t have that much savvy, but are smart enough to peek in on their competitors, can often find a leg up. Glean from them what’s working and what isn’t – then formulate a plan to take what they’re good at and be better, and to take their weakness and be GREAT (in that area).
- When it comes to content, you need to have your brand persona down pat. What’s your tone? Your language? Do you use emoticons or keep it strictly professional? How frequently will you publish, and where? I had the pleasure of working with a savvy group of marketers who said their brand persona would be Tina Fay (if female) and Matt Damon (if male). Get that specific!
- Think Conversation. All of your efforts will be for not if you’re not able to entice your audiences to engage with you. Figure out how and where this will happen, and then make darn toot’n sure it happens as frequently as possible!
- Have another well-planned strategy for results. While being organized and having a plan is going to boost your efforts, the CEO is still mainly interested in the bottom line. Figure out ways to best track your campaigns so you can easily prove what’s working and what isn’t.
So while being on the unknown path may be fun for wild and crazy kids, marketers should know where they are, where they’ve come from, and where they’re going. By creating a path (strategy) to get to their final destination (sales, loyalty, brand recognition … SUCCESS), we can hopefully create a better bond and shared vision with the CEO and C-suite.
What would you add when it comes to strategy? Let us know in the comments section below!