Marketing Strategy Demystified
A process to make sure your strategy is on point and delivers results.
This week, I had a wonderful opportunity to talk with my good friend and Mastery Partners marketing master Michael Orr. I encourage you to listen to that conversation in the Maximize Business Value podcast here.
I think Michael is a marketing genius. (Please don’t tell him I said that… he’ll never let me forget it!) Like nearly everything else in your business, developing a great marketing strategy is a process. In our conversation, Michael lifted the veil on his process for creating a great marketing strategy. Here are his 7 steps:
# 1 - Take a Hard Look at the Competition
The first place to start is to take a look at your competitors. Think about what they are saying to customers about the same stuff you’re selling. How are they talking about it? How are they connecting with them? Or, are they just saying we’ve got this stuff… want some? (Don’t laugh… that is more common than you think!) While you look at your competitors, document what they are doing and saying. Big companies spend millions of dollars researching the competition, but you can do it on your own. I always start on their websites. If you can't tell how your competition is differentiating themselves on their website, you probably don’t have to look any further. If they haven't done it there, they're probably not doing it anywhere.
# 2 - Features and Benefits
The second thing to do is take a very hard look at all the features and benefits of whatever you're selling. Write down a laundry list of products and/or services, and document the features, followed by the benefits of those features. People don’t buy based on features. They buy based on the benefits those features deliver. If you think of it in reverse, you can write down the benefits first, and then the features that deliver those benefits. Features are the “proof” behind the benefits.
# 3 - Force Rank the Benefits
Probably the most difficult thing to do is “force rank” (put them in order of importance) the benefits. It’s difficult because you really have to decide which child is your favorite because we have to decide what we’re going to talk about. We can’t just spew everything. What we’re getting to is how we're going to talk about ourselves. Really go through an exhaustive process to get all of your features and all your benefits (every great thing we want to say about us and products) put down on paper, and then prioritize them. Prioritizing doesn't mean you're abandoning number 5 on the list. It simply means that whatever is #1 is what you need to lead with.
# 4 - Positioning Statement
Once you’ve boiled down all your benefits (and features) and put them in order, the next thing is to come up with a positioning statement - a business statement, not a creative statement, not a tagline, not a headline. A business statement that says what you’re about... the thing you want customers to think about you first. What do you want your customers to understand about you? What problems can you solve for them?
A really great positioning statement says how you can make your customer’s day better. How can you help them sleep better at night? At this point, it’s good to go out to your customers and ask them, “Does this sound like us? Here's why we're saying it.” Your customers can validate your statement for you. Even without customer input, you’re probably already 90% there, but it's that last little bit of input from your customers that can help you find the real gold.
# 5 - The Creative Message
Once you have your positioning statement you can decide how you're going to creatively grab their attention and convince them to read on and take the next action. With all the messages we’re bombarded with daily, it takes a little something extra in the noise to get our attention enough to act.
News flash: Even if you’re in B2B, you have to motivate your prospects in a human way because even in B2B, we’re all human.
# 6 - Media Plan
Now that you have your creative message, you need to decide where you’re going to communicate that message. Where is that message going to go so it can best get in front of your customers? This is the media plan, which may include radio and television, publications, and certainly digital and social media. Although many people separate the old traditional advertising from the new digital options, these are all still “media” options for getting in front of your customers and prospects.
# 7 - Measure the Results
This is where many businesses fall short. You have to be able to measure the results. What did you want to achieve with this message, and how did you do? Know what “success” looks like and then measure the results. You can specifically measure the ROI of your marketing strategy. And you should be able to.
So there you have it - a marketing strategy in seven easy to follow steps. Notice I didn’t say “easy steps” - I said “easy to follow steps” because some of this is hard and you might want some help along the way.
So, stop right now, and go examine your own marketing strategy. This would be a great time to make sure your strategy was developed using all of these steps. If you left something out, go fix it! And if you want help, reach out to us and we’ll point you in the right direction!
Having a great marketing strategy will have a huge impact on your business value. What are you going to do today - to Maximize Business Value?
And remember, we’re here to help. If we can help you in any way don’t hesitate to reach out!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Tom Bronson is the founder and President of Mastery Partners, a company that helps business owners maximize business value, design exit strategy, and transition their business on their terms. Mastery utilizes proven techniques and strategies that dramatically improve business value that was developed during Tom’s career 100 business transactions as either a business buyer or seller. As a business owner himself, he has been in your situation a hundred times, and he knows what it takes to craft the right strategy. Bronson is passionate about helping business owners and has the experience to do it. Want to chat more or think Tom can help you? Reach out at firstname.lastname@example.org or check out his book, Maximize Business Value, Begin with The Exit in Mind (2020).
Mastery Partners, where our mission is to equip business owners to Maximize Business Value so they can transition their business on their terms. Our mission was born from the lessons we’ve learned from over 100 business transactions, which fuels our desire to share our experiences and wisdom so you can succeed.