Refining a marketing strategy for your business is a steep learning curve for almost every entrepreneur. Most people start their businesses because they’re really passionate about what they do, not because they love the admin and business side of things.
In this blog, I’ll show you some of the traps entrepreneurs can fall into, explore what a marketing strategy is and aim to give you a few tools to supercharge your marketing strategy.
Typical Marketing Mistakes by New Entrepreneurs:
1. Trying to Achieve Perfection
Many entrepreneurs who are new to business feel a lot of pressure to deliver the ‘perfect’ marketing strategy, right off the bat. But the reality is that this is near impossible, for a number of reasons:
Firstly, when you start your business you’ll have a good idea of who your customer is. But defining your *exact* audience and who you think they might be is very different. It takes time for your audience to evolve and for you to understand who they are. There will always be periods of unknown in marketing and therefore having the ‘perfect’ strategy is near impossible.
Secondly, the amount of time and effort you spend on marketing is usually relative to the success you’ll achieve from it. Most new entrepreneurs have a finite budget and little time to invest in their marketing, so they need to be really smart about what they are doing.
2. Being on all Social Platforms
Your product or service will be best suited to a handful of channels. There are a bajillion social networks and each one comes with its own audience. Using social networks effectively is all about understanding where their target audience is spending their time online. For example, in 2007 the audience on Facebook was VERY different to the audience using it today…
My advice is to choose two or three of the platforms most suited to your audience and do them well.
3. Don’t have a Marketing Strategy
Yes, you need to get the word out about yourself and your business, but just throwing out posts and paying for adverts without a wider plan can be a waste of time and money. It’s really obvious and comes across as disjointed or worse, desperate.
What is a Marketing Strategy?
A strategy is an overarching plan that enables a business to get from one position to another. Marketing is both an art and a science – you develop your hypothesis (I think x people will like y product because of z) come up with creative solutions and communicate this with the target audience. It will always include the following areas: Current situation, goals, timescale, audience, tactics, resources, and measures:
Current situation: This is where you and the business are ‘at’ at the moment. Describing the current situation is useful to paint a clear picture of what is
Goals: What do you want to achieve? It might be really specific: ‘12% increase in income’, or it might be vaguer: ‘explore partnership options within Devon’. But if it’s not written down, it’s probably not going to happen!
Timescales: In marketing, strategies might be developed to run for a short period of time (one month) or a longer period (12 months). Over this time the strategy might adapt depending on the results, or it might be analysed at the very end ready for the next period.
Audience: Who is the campaign targeting? It might not be your whole business’s audience, it could just be a subsection. Or it could be a new audience group. It’s helpful to consider things about your audience that will give you a better understanding of them, and therefore your tactics things like: what are their likes/dislikes, what are they motivated by, where do they live, who is in their family, what sort of work do they do, etc? This insight can be invaluable to getting the next step just right….
Tactics: This is all about the ‘how’. How are you planning on achieving the goals? And why? What insight do you have about the audience that might assist you here? How will you turn this marketing strategy into action?
Resources: What resources do you have available, or not? Think about the people who will be doing this, your budget, and what systems and processes you have available for rolling out this strategy. Answering this question effectively might lead you to understand what hoops you need to jump through before you can begin, such as hiring the right resource or developing the right processes.
Measures: How will you measure the success of this marketing strategy? What controls will be put in place? How will you learn from it and make improvements?
How to Develop your own Bespoke Marketing Strategy?
Take down the above seven areas and start writing: current situation, goals, timescale, audience, tactics, resources, and measures. This won’t be perfect and that’s okay – test your marketing strategy over a shorter period of time and learn from it. Then bring those learnings into your next plan of action. Et voila.
Ipsa Consulting is offering The Tribe members 50% off for their one-to-one strategy sessions with lead consultant Cath Harris. Just use code TRIBE50 at the checkout.
Marketing and Sustainability Consultant, Cath Harris, is a specialist in mission-led and nonprofit organisations. She holds an MBA in sustainability and has 16 year’s experience running various marketing departments and leading award-winning creative agencies.