Armies don’t head into battle without a plan of action. Football teams don’t hit the pitch without a formation. So why would you run a business without a marketing strategy? With fierce competition no matter what the sector, you need to use every avenue you can to reach success. In a hyper-connected world, those who fail to utilise every tool struggle to keep their heads above the water. But marketing alone isn’t enough – which is where the ‘strategy’ comes into play.
A marketing strategy is critical to achieving your long-term goals. It will allow you to define where you want to be in the market and how you compare to your competitors. Ensuring you have a well-structured marketing strategy can help you understand your customers. Not only this, but it can also help you gain revenue by making sure your ideas will prevail in the future. A strategy alone isn’t enough though – you need to monitor it throughout the process.
Monitoring your marketing strategy from start to finish allows you to assess your plan and all its minor details. It can also be reassuring to you as an individual to notice something earlier on in the process, as well as saving your business both time and money. With 50% of businesses failing after 5 years, your marketing strategy needs to be the focal point of your business plan.
All businesses will benefit from tracking the process of their plan – in fact, those who are more organised are 397% more likely to report success. However, it’s immensely useful for SMEs and solopreneurs. When you’re first starting out, surrounded by large competitors, it’s easy to get left behind. Monitoring your marketing strategy ensures you’re targeting the right people, in the right place, at the right time.
You can see how you’re performing and make judgements about how you’re going to tackle the next stage in your plan. You can also make adjustments early rather than later. With customers’ wants and needs constantly changing, monitoring your strategy allows you to make amendments based on current trends and patterns. With 56% of people saying they have higher expectations for customer service now than they had a year ago, it’s important you understand their current desires and expectations. The problem is how do you measure results? After all, 47% of people find this in particular to be a massive challenge.
An effective marketing strategy will give you a competitive advantage by allowing you to deepen your knowledge of your intended target market. It begs the question though – how can you even monitor it? Numbers aren’t just for accountants, they’re a key part of measuring your strategy’s effectiveness. If your goal is to increase web traffic to your site you’ll want to measure unique site visitors. If you want to convert leads you’ll need to measure the number and monetary value of recent conversions. Only this way will you have verifiable data that the respective plan of action is working.
For example, Google Analytics gives you an insight into your metrics and who’s visiting your website. It even tells you how many people are making single-page visits. This deep information will allow you to micromanage certain aspects of your strategy and see exactly what is working and, more importantly, what isn’t.
One way to ensure your products or services are right for your customers is to engage with the public personally. This doesn’t have to be face-to-face either. Twitter is a cost-effective, time-saving channel that will allow you to engage with your consumers on a 24/7 basis. Customer service interactions over Twitter have increased by 250% in the last two years. If you want your business to thrive alongside your competitors, ensuring that you communicate effectively with your customers and showing that you understand them is an easy but highly effective method. If they respond negatively to something, you’ll know what to change and you can do it immediately.
Evaluating your progress along your business journey is vital to ensure maintenance and growth. This can be in relation to both revenue and customer satisfaction. The policies and plans you create should offer an in-depth, well-thought-out analysis of each stage of the process.
What’s important at this stage is flexibility. Don’t let your ego get in the way – if something isn’t working, change it. When it comes to your business and your strategy, there’s a certain level of pride tied to it, but the only way your company can grow is if you do what is needed to fix it. You have a wealth of valuable information at your fingertips – use it.
Monitoring your marketing strategy helps you to maximise the effectiveness of your business plan. It allows you to avoid useless efforts, eliminate unneeded areas of focus, and increase sales. But, most of all, it offers you a sound understanding of your consumer’s wants and needs.
At Jam Thinking, our consultancy services give you the opportunity to go beyond your competitors to create a successful marketing strategy that works for you. To find out more about how to create effective business plans to achieve your commercial goals, you can get in touch here.