SHOULD WE BOTHER WITH STRATEGY

                                                                                                                                        By Becky Sangster

Is strategy really important? Can’t we just cut to the chase and just DO some marketing? These are two questions that I regularly get asked in my marketing practice.  The simple answer to both is yes, but the results are wildly different if the ‘doing’ precedes the strategy development.

The Importance of Marketing Strategy

To answer both questions, I offer the following analogy. All organisational strategy, be it financial, operating, corporate or marketing, provide organisations with a map to success.  It should have directional instructions (tactics) focussed on a single goal (destination). This map, if plotted well, will be client-centric, contain key milestones ensuring a course and allows for ‘tacking’ (re-calibration of the strategy) to ensure the destination remains in sight.

Without a marketing strategy a business is rudderless and beholden to its environment, including the undercurrent of the competition and the wind of market forces. If this rudderless approach is adopted businesses will find themselves constantly changing at the mercy of well-intentioned ‘good ideas’ focussed only on achieving quick wins and short-term gains.

The result will generally expend a lot of resources (time and money). After the exhaustive process businesses find them-selves no closer to the desired destination. Focussing on the strategy in the first instance establishes a solid foundation upon which the future marketing pillars can be built. As well as setting the entire organisational team on a clear course and destination. The process of developing the strategy ensures that macro environmental forces; the competition, the industry sector outlooks, and market segment nuances are taken into consideration.

Marketing

Unfortunately, this approach is seldom adopted by SME’s who too often resort to a ‘soap-boxing’ approach to marketing which only involves one methodology of telling the market how ‘wonderful’ they are with little regard to emotive engagement of a targeted client base.

Business Branding

Businesses that take the time to develop a marketing and brand strategy prior to ‘doing’ any marketing, benefit from a cohesive approach to all their marketing and communications, with each marketing touch point moving the organisation closer to achieving its goals and objectives through positive ROI. Brand strategy is something that I particularly love assisting businesses with. It is so fundamental and so important. I always recommend some time is spent on developing a strong brand strategy before significant marketing money is incurred.

For many people, the term ’Branding’ usually conjures up images of company logos.  In simple terms, they are correct, but it is so much more than just a pretty logo. A strong brand creates trust and establishes emotional connection with a targetmaking their buying decision easier. It is all about demonstrating value, perceived benefits, and immediate distinction from your competitors.

Building an effective brand strategy puts the client at the centre of the story, establishing them as the hero, with the supplier acting as an effective guide to that hero, supporting them in achieving their goals. This strategic shift in thinking and marketing narrative will effectively differentiate a business through acute customer centricity. The process we adopt to assist businesses with developing a strategic brand for their business addresses all aspects of the brand, from the tangible product features to customer benefits as well as the intangible elements which focus on the personality of a brand and the experience it offers clients.

It’s a really insightful process that many businesses had never taken the time to consider before, therefore it can be really productive for the business leaders and provide strong pillars for the future marketing of their business.

See our latest edition of The Buzz Magazine for more articles and insights.

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