As Lewis Carol once wrote “if you don’t know where you are going, any road will get you there”. The same can be said of a non-existent or ill-defined business / marketing strategy. Consider your marketing strategy to be a vital routemap for your brand or business.
- Start with a thorough situation analysis. This examines your competitive environment and identifies your own company’s strengths and weakness. In the process, you can clearly define your business targets and what they need or want. (And how you measure up.)
Your value proposition defines what’s interesting about your offering. How compelling are your benefits / promise? Or do you merely have some simple product or service features?
- Once you understand your competitive promise, you can align your business processes and internal culture to focus on delivering a unique brand experience.
- You can support your brand in a clear way with great content that gives customers and stakeholders a reason to believe.
- You can also develop accountability with SMART KPI. (It’s surprising how easy it is to overlook the clear call-to-action and the metrics that measure your marketing success.)
How to turn marketing from a cost to an investment
There are some important questions you need to consider around short-term tactics and quick fixes versus long-term sustainable growth, but that’s a discussion for another day.
But no matter how you slice your theoretical pie, it’s still vital to get a good handle on attribution, measurement, metrics and data. In the digital marketing era, what matters is learning what works, then applying that knowledge to build your business.
It’s vital to measure audience delivery and engagement. Consider all your touchpoints: websites, social media marketing venues, dynamic content engagement, outbound e-mails, thought leadership and PR.
By clearly identifying which channels are delivering audiences, you can focus on producing the desired business outcomes (leads, sales, customer acquisitions, repeat purchases and referrals). Through smart attribution, you can see how KPIs (key performance indicators) turn into business opportunities.
KPIs can track metrics like cost-per-lead, cost-per-customer acquisition or even help determine the estimated lifetime economic value of a newly acquired customers. Then various marketing channels can be compared – based on these KPI metrics.
Marketing can help drive long-term, sustainable, profitable growth for a business – large or small – when it’s planned and deployed at a strategic level and focused on ‘what matters most to customers’.
Smart strategies crystallise how the marketing spend can be optimised. This approach produces the most cost-efficient business results. Marketing ROI / return-on-investment measurements can be made as well.
Smart, transformational – and more relevant – customer experiences will help your drive sales and profits. In turn, this helps drive equity valuations and shareholder satisfaction. In turn, market confidence can provide working capital for business expansion.
The CMO is now well placed to prove that marketing is an investment that pays returns, even to the most sceptical CEO or CFO.