Implementing Your Marketing Strategy
In this three-part series we are exploring the common small business problem of “broken marketing”. In Part 1, we discussed how to determine if your marketing is broken, and how to recognize the signs and symptoms of a program in need of help. In Part 2, we covered the development of a marketing strategy and a plan that will help to focus your company on success.
In this final installment, we discuss the implementation of your strategy to create coherent, consistent and successful marketing programs to grow your business
It’s time to fix your marketing
With a clear strategy defined and a set of tactics determined, you can now fix your broken marketing process. Start by looking at your strategic plan and determining a reasonable budget for your programs. This budget should include any outsourced needs as well as the efforts of your internal resources and the time they will dedicate (e.g., if your Customer Service Manager is authoring a blog post, they will need time in their week to do that, which will be hours they are not spending on current job responsibilities). Your budget will determine what you build versus what you buy, what you need to outsource and what makes the most sense to take on internally.
With your marketing budget, you can now look to your strategy team to find leadership for your marketing programs. Together, decide who should be in charge of each project, whom they will answer to and make it clear what the repercussions will be for the entire program if a project manager does not complete their job as needed. We strongly encourage the use of schedules and calendars to tie clear deadlines to all projects. This will not only help with budgeting, but also in driving results because stakeholders will have a clear deadline to work toward.
Understand that your marketing won’t be fixed by just assigning tasks and responsibility. To know that what you’re doing is successful, you need to measure results. Create reporting systems that track overall effectiveness of the plan, not just the individual tactics. Plan regular reporting schedules as it is reasonable for your team -- some may report weekly, others monthly. At the very least, you should be reporting once per quarter to know where your team is seeing success and where your plan may need to change.
And when it comes to change, don’t feel disheartened if a part of your grand plan still isn’t achieving its goals! Marketing is an iterative process. You need to test your programs regularly to determine what will work best. We tell our clients to test, test and test once again. Be confident that your tests are providing data by measuring results and use that information to make smart decisions about how to move forward.
This seems like a big process… am I ready?
If, like many small businesses, your previous marketing was based on individual tactics, this will seem like a big and potentially complex process. But don’t be intimidated, there are many great resources out there to help you. Read great blogs, subscribe to marketing industry emails and keep up with the latest marketing industry developments. You will soon find that getting a handle on your marketing is not as intimidating as you think.
For those who are already strapped for time, don’t think you are a failure if you outsource some of this process. It’s your job to run your company the best that you can, which also means managing available resources. If you don’t feel that you have those resources internally, you should, by all means, hire or outsource so that you can still manage the direction of your company’s growth. It’s your job to lead, and you should do that in the manner you feel most confident to reach success.
Good luck with your process, and remember, we always love to hear your success stories!