Ten years ago, your business’s marketing strategy could be more simple and still drive the results you needed to see. However in today’s economy, with an exponentially increasing landscape of tools and tactics, it is more difficult than ever to find a winning, actionable marketing strategy.
Oftentimes I hear Directors of Marketing talk about their comprehensive social listening and social media campaigns. When pressed for their results, they often have little or nothing to show.
Conversely, it’s easier than ever to stay busy as a marketer (or even be exhausted!) and deliver fewer and fewer results.
If you’re looking to build a comprehensive, robust marketing strategy, you need to follow this recipe:
First, you must communicate the vision for the company to your team. If they are unable to see the vision for growth, they won’t be able to help you achieve it. As you know, a business looking to scale to exit needs different marketing results than a business looking for capital investment or a lifestyle business pumping out maximum profits for the owner.
After vision, the marketer must audit and collect all the assets available to use for marketing campaigns. These include PDFs and whitepapers, past webinars, any podcast episodes the management team has been on, video presentations, eBooks, etc. On top of these more tangible assets, the marketer must understand deeply the capabilities of the team they are working with. Who has experience in content writing? Copywriting? Is anyone experienced in Google Ads or Facebook Ads? LinkedIn and cold email?
The next step is to lay out all of these assets on the proverbial table and assess what the business can do to reach the vision.
KPIs then need to be clearly defined, which measure the outcomes. While leading indicators are helpful in KPIs, the most important KPIs are those of outcomes. For example, it’s better to know how many MQLs (marketing qualified leads) are generated over how many impressions a post got on LinkedIn.
Focus on 3-5 core KPIs and have the marketing team agree to their importance. Then empower them to achieve those KPIs through creative campaigns. Always check back against the KPI and don’t get lost in the day-to-day tactic to achieve the KPI. It’s easy to get sidetracked on calls diving into why some tactic isn’t working. It’s much more valuable to focus on the team hitting their KPI goals (new leads, new site visitors, average time on site, total emails opened/clicked, etc).
The trouble marketers find themselves in is that they don’t know the tactics and campaigns that can give them the highest likelihood of success. As a result, they continue to do the best they can, which is rarely strategic. Instead, many companies are hiring a fractional CMO, a part-time chief marketing officer, to build out the perfect marketing strategy for their business. Learn More about what a Fractional CMO is and how one could help you.
A fractional chief marketing officer acts as an in-house employee in terms of commitment and support, although they only cost a fraction of a full-time CMO. Furthermore, a fractional CMO may be supporting other organizations and have additional “boots on the ground” information on what campaigns are working today.
Critical to the success of your company is to do fewer campaigns, but to do them so well, your company becomes a leader in that tactic. For example, I’ve witnessed many companies checking every possible marketing tactic box:
- Monthly webinars (that no one attends)
- Weekly newsletters (that nobody opens)
- Near-daily social media posting (that nobody engages in)
- Excessive spend on ad platforms without clear ROAS (return on ad spend) metrics
- Slow iterations on website development
Even worse, there’s a prevalent obsession many marketers have with “funnel building” as if some new funnel is going to fundamentally change their traffic, offer and messaging problem.
Core to the success of any marketing strategy is knowing the assets available (to lessen the time to develop new tests), and to deeply understand the customer. Then it’s about crafting an offer that the prospect wants to hear simply because the offer solves their problem.
For an example, a great formula to craft an offer for your business is:
“We _____ without _____ in ____ days.”
Try that mad lib and come up with something for your business.
“We cut healthcare infrastructure costs by 25% without any new hardware in 60 days”
Boom. That’s a clear offer. I know what I’m getting.
It doesn’t matter how good your product or service is if you can’t succinctly tell your prospect what you offer and why it matters to them.
So again, it’s not about doing every marketing campaign possible, it’s about doing a few campaigns so well, you become a clear leader in your field.
Think of Airbnb… they grew the demand-side of their business with one single growth strategy: Stealing Craigslist’s traffic. Airbnb had the properties to rent, but needed the vacationers to book the property. Instead of running a bazillion marketing campaigns to find and attract those customers, they simply found Craigslist had all the traffic they needed. A simple campaign of posting properties on Craigslist exploded the success of Airbnb.
When it comes to finding a perfect marketing strategy for your business, you can invest in your team to learn trainings from dozens of experts. You can attend live events, masterminds, or study your competition. But the shortcut to finding a winning strategy for your business is all about understanding the assets you have available, developing measurable KPIs and bringing in an experienced fractional chief marketing officer to help develop the best roadmap to get you from where you are to where you want to be.
You’ll know your marketing team and the fractional CMO have done their job when each week they’re reporting on the KPIs, thereby keeping the most important thing center in their mind and activity.
If you’d like to learn more about hiring a fractional CMO, or if you want to see the 7 most important KPIs all CEOs must be tracking, head over to cmox.co and grab the free report.