There is no set way to do this – for as many people as you ask, you will get as many answers!
What we would suggest is that you look at a number of different tools that may help you (and we have a blog “insert title” which lists and summarises them), however, we think that the best starting point for all – those new to the process and those for whom this isn’t their first rodeo – is not to follow a prescribed process but to ask the questions below.
The results ought to provoke discussion, reflection, introspection and rigorous self-examination and evaluation! Not bad for a day at the office!
So, get the team together, load up on paper, pens, post-it notes, white boards, flip charts, plenty of refreshments and sustenance and settle in!
Your starter for ten is…
1. As a company where do you want to be?
Unlike the 80s band ‘Talking Heads’, you don’t want to be ‘on the road to nowhere’! In the same way that we were often asked as children, ‘What do you want to be when you grow up?’…What do you want your business to look like, to achieve? Like humans, companies need to have hopes and aspirations. So, what are yours?
Okay you’re off – whatever united answer you have all agreed upon for the previous question, it will set the compass for the direction you will take with this next one…
2. Where is your business going to perform best?
There’s a reason why people prefer their ‘home ground’ – football teams tend to perform better, leaders and heads of state have imposing places of residence to intimidate and assert power advantage. So, there will be a myriad of marketplace locations available to you but what is your best fit? Which markets are you going to actively pursue and which are you going to avoid or pass over?
Having established where, move on to…
3. How will you stand out from the competition, how will you beat them?
In this day and age it is unlikely that you are going to be a Christopher Columbus (and even if you were, there were actually natives there ahead of him!) so you are going to encounter competition. Others will be in the same forum and will be actively courting the very people opportunities that you have set your sights on. How very dare they? Well, accept it, they dare! So how are you going to get to the finishing line first?
Keep at it, you’re past the halfway point and already you know what you are doing, where and for whom – on to question 4…
4. Can we actually do this?
This isn’t a case of self-doubt or negativity but do you have the resources and skills required to deliver these objectives? It’s all very well having the strategy so far but if you can’t do it internally, it a service or skill that you could use an outsourced resource to assist with?
Yippee! You’re nearly there – the end is in sight…
5. Will it stand the test of time?
An extension of all that precedes – having pulled all of this together in a concise and logical manner, you need to ensure that it is something that will stand the test of time – this is where you need to put the management element in place – continual review and management will enable you to act proactively to make sure that you are able to ‘grow with the flow’, building and maintaining competitive advantage.
How to get started…
We’d recommend approaching your marketing strategy by completing questions one and two – and then referring back to question one to review and consolidate. Then on to three and back to two, and so on.
If you need any help with getting started with your marketing strategy, Thrive is able to develop both marketing plans and strategies, with years of experience in doing so.