Every marketer’s dream is that there is a silver bullet for marketing. One strategy that increases brand awareness, drives quality leads and drives them immediately. But we all know that just isn’t the case. Marketing requires ongoing strategy and a constant commitment to achieve your goals. Testing strategies, reviewing data and then recalibrating.
We have worked with many brands for more than three decades from large brands to start ups and everything in between. And while we haven’t seen or experienced a marketing silver bullet yet, we tend to see brands facing the same marketing challenges no matter how large their marketing department is or how big their budgets are. And it is understandable as we are all facing immense pressures every day to deliver results and deliver them fast but pump the breaks. The three biggest mistakes tend to be during the strategic planning process.
- Target audiences are too broad: Unless you have unlimited funds, it will be very challenging to target very broad audiences. Categories like “homeowners who like technology” or “commercial architects” and “women 25-50” are very large audiences that can be challenging to target effectively. Consider who really are your niche audiences demographically, geographically and sociographically? Who is going to continue to buy your product and service over and over? Take Coke as an example… the goal is to target people who drink Coke or soda every day not people who drink Coke or soda once a month.
Certainly, this easier said than done. It’s hard to exclude audiences who might buy the product or service you are selling or influence a sale. But you are much more likely to make an impact on a target audience if your resources are focused there.
- Goals are not measurable: This seems so easy to say and we all know as marketers we need to set measurable goals, but often times it doesn’t happen. “Drive website traffic. Drive leads. Increase awareness. Increase sales.” These are just too lofty and don’t give teams something to measure success by. We need to push ourselves further. How much do you need to increase website traffic by and among whom? What kinds of leads do you want to increase and by how much? Who do you want to increase awareness with and how will you measure awareness if you do not conduct awareness surveys?
Setting measurable goals takes times and let’s be honest… it can be scary too. What if you don’t accomplish your goal? Shift your perspective and realize that if you don’t achieve the goal, evaluate what you did learn for better or worse, how to adjust your strategies and set out to accomplish it again with newfound knowledge.
- Diving into the tactics before having a solid plan: Okay… I admit this is easy to do. Pressures are so strong to increase results that we dive into just doing “things” and not spending the time to effectively plan. We know we need to plan but we feel better that we are “doing something” to drive results. But taking the extra time to plan effectively can save time, save money and have a direct impact on results over the long term.
A quality plan is equally as important as quality execution. But if you don’t lay the foundation correctly it will not matter how excellent your execution really is. Silver bullets aside, strategic planning needs to rank high on every marketer’s priority list.