In order to grow your business, what is more important, marketing strategy or marketing execution?
Let’s be honest there are doers out there and there are thinkers out there. It can be very difficult to do both. Most of the time when you are really good at marketing strategy, you suck at marketing execution. When you love to sit behind the computer and get things done, you probably are missing the strategy portion. It is hard to do both at the same time.
This leads us to focus on one or the other. So its marketing strategy or marketing execution?
The Case For Marketing Strategy
“The essence of strategy is choosing what not to do.” – Michael E. Porter
Let’s face it. We all want to focus on the right tactics and pull the right marketing levers to see success. So, why is a marketing plan important. Your marketing strategy is the overall plan to get your products or services in front of your customers. When your company has the right message, company slogan, logo, and target market you are set up for success. There is no doubt about it.
So how do you get the most out of your marketing strategy?
5 Ways To Make Your Marketing Strategy Effective
A solid marketing strategy is going to be the key to the success of your business. So, let’s take a look at 5 steps to creating a killer marketing strategy that will set you up for success.
Start With Your Customer
Your entire marketing strategy should revolve around your customers. Get to know their needs, wants, and answer their questions about life. The more you understand your customer, the better your marketing strategy will be. Your business should revolve around your customer base.
Analyze Your Current Situation
Self-awareness is a great asset to a business. So, get to know who you are. What are your strengths and weaknesses? What external threats are out there from competition, environment, or competition. Getting to know your current situation will help your company position your product or services in a competitive environment.
Identify Your Goals
They say if it gets written down, it will get accomplished. Ensure that your goals are measurable so you know if you met them. Setting goals helps you determine the tactics needed to get where you are going or hope to be going.
Define Your Brand Message
Your brand message is the underlying value proposition that you want your company to portray to your customers. Your brand message helps your company and brand relate to your customer base. Creating a brand message that appeals to your customer is vital to the success of your marketing.
Determine The Appropriate Marketing Tactics
You now have your brand message nailed down, know who your ideal customer is, have looked at the competition, and set your goals. What tactics are you going to take to get your message in front of your potential buyers? Are you going to rely on inbound marketing, traditional sales, radio ads, social media, or another form of marketing tactic to get your message to the masses? The tactics you choose are the final piece of your marketing strategy, so choose them wisely.
Marketing tip: Keep in mind that there are different marketing tactics for different buyers and different stages of the buyer’s journey. Make sure that your marketing strategy covers all the different stages of the buyer’s journey.
The Case For Marketing Execution
“Ideas are sh*t, execution is the game.” – Gary Vaynerchuk, CEO of VaynerMedia
Marketing execution is about taking your marketing strategy or plan and putting it into place. It is where the rubber meets the road and makes or breaks your strategy. Execution is the name of the game.
The Importance of Marketing Execution
In my experience, marketing professionals want to be classified as idea people, creatives, or strategists. Yes, I get it, marketing strategy is sexy but the execution is where you make your money. Even the best strategy without execution is going to be a lost cause. Execution is where growth comes from.
Move Your Company Forward
Executing against your plan is the only way to move your company forward. Putting a solid strategy in place is great, but if you are not able to execute and see our plan through, you will still just be sitting around waiting for something to happen. Let’s face it, running a business is hard. The only way to move forward is by executing your strategy. Focus on revenue-generating marketing tasks to take the next leap in your business.
Measure Your Results
Not measuring your results is a great way to fail. If you are not measuring your marketing execution and tactics, it will be easy for you to deviate from the strategy and chase the next shiny marketing object. Trust me, there are tons of new shiny objects in the marketing space and we are always looking for new marketing ideas. It is easy to get distracted and move away from the strategy. Measuring your results against your goals will help ensure that you are moving in the right direction, or if you need to pivot and change course.
Determine If Your Strategy Is Valid
I feel that this point is pretty straightforward. If you do not execute against your marketing strategy, then you will never know if your marketing strategy was valid. Yes, you could sit around and talk about the strategy and ways to improve it. At the end of the day, if you are not executing on your marketing strategy, you will never know if the time and effort were worth it.
Improve Your Marketing Strategy
You are executing against your marketing strategy and seeing results. Your quarterly review is approaching. You analyze your results and make recommendations on how to improve your marketing strategy. Maybe your message could be refined or the tactics you are using could be altered. Let your marketing execution alter your marketing strategy.
The Case for Marketing Strategy with Marketing Execution
Okay, I think you figured out that having a great strategy and flawless execution is the way to go. It’s like peanut butter and jelly. They are great separately, but when they are put together, magic happens.
Here is the problem I see in the industry. We have “marketers” that want to do strategy, but let’s face it, execution is hard. So we forget about the execution of the strategy and hide behind creating the perfect strategy to not do the hard work.
We can spend hours and hours in strategy meetings, but 80% of marketing strategies are not implemented and fail to get executed. I don’t know about you, but the hours spent in meetings about strategy keep us from actually getting things done. The less we execute, the less likely we are going to be successful.
Your marketing plan is going to change as the environment changes, competition changes, and you learn from your mistakes. Create a marketing plan and see it through. Execute your marketing plan daily. Every quarter revisits the plan and ensures you are on track to meet your goals. Find out what worked and pivot as needed.
Marketing Tip: I believe that your marketing should be a combination of strategy and execution. You should start with a stellar plan, this could take a month or two to get in place. From there, your business should only revisit your marketing strategy every quarter. Spend 2 weeks a quarter planning, analyzing, pivoting, and coming up with new ideas. Spend the rest of your time executing your ideas. This is going to help you get where you need to go.
General Patton said it best.
“A good plan violently executed now is better than a perfect plan executed next week.” – George S. Patton
Marketing strategy vs marketing plan, which one is it? In my opinion, both are important. However, marketing execution is more important than ever. The days of developing a product and telling the customer what to do (traditional advertising) are long gone. This makes the execution of your plan more important than ever.
Focus on getting a solid marketing strategy and plan in place. See it through and learn along the way. Stop hiding behind “marketing strategy” to avoid doing the real work. Marketing is about finding your ideal customer, you will never find them hiding in a meeting room talking about your next move. Determine the next move and go find your customer.
Start getting things done and move your business forward.