From ancient times to modern day, scholars, businessmen, sports celebrities, and regular folk have expounded the virtues of planning.
“A man who does not plan long ahead will find trouble at his door.” – Confucius
“A goal without a plan is just a wish.” – Antoine de Saint-Exupery
“A good plan is like a road map: it shows the final destination and usually the best way to get there.”- H. Stanley Judd
“If you don’t know where you’re going, you’ll end up someplace else.” – Yogi Berra
Yet, if the annual Content Marketing Institute survey is to be believed, many marketers, at least those in the digital content marketing realm, fall short when it comes to planning and strategy. This could be due to lack of bandwidth, or understanding – or it could be because today’s marketing environment is evolving so rapidly, it’s hard to keep up.
In any case, it’s valuable to step back and think about the core elements of a good marketing plan – because knowing what to shoot for is half the battle.
A strong strategy and plan is more than an editorial and distribution calendar. A strong plan starts with the what, delves deeply into the who and ends with the how.
- Spell out the value proposition—What are the benefits of your product or service? The highest and lowest selling points? What sets it apart from others like it? These questions determine how to sell the product or service, and its worth in the competitive market.
- Craft clear objectives and policies—Be specific. Define how many prospects to reach via each channel, establish a desired conversion rate, and craft a timeline. These goals and the timeline can be aggressive, but should always be attainable.
- Have scope and sequence—Define your target audience and territory, breaking down prospects by market, company, and position titles. Consider current leads and look to potential new markets. Take into account existing customers as well. In each scenario, identify buyer profiles and relevant points of contact.
- Perform competitive analysis—Look at the current market using both qualitative and quantitative data. Identify your closest competitors, both geographically and in terms of sales, to determine your edge. Take into account indirect competitors – the alternative services or products a prospects could purchase in lieu of what your company offers.
- Utilize appropriate channels—Consider all options at first: content marketing, event marketing, paid media (TV, radio, etc.) and online marketing with its own diversity of modes (SEO, social media, paid search – the list goes on!). Start with a few highly relevant channels and expand from there.
- Create engaging branding/messaging—Use your company’s value statement to craft messaging and adjust for different channels. Pay attention to the sales cycle and spread messaging to correspond, increasing chances of converting a prospect to a buyer. Be consistent across all channels.
- Implement marketing automation—Use marketing automation to fortify email campaigns, automate lead nurturing, and integrate website and social media platforms. Automation gathers prospect data, and scores leads to determine which prospects have a higher conversion potential. Targeted messaging is essential here, especially differentiation based on channels and audience.
An effective marketing strategy can increase leads, but these leads are meaningless until converted by a sales team. NuGrowth offers solutions in sales and marketing integration, mapping a strategy for successful lead conversion and customer retention. To find out more on what NuGrowth has to offer your business, contact us 800.966.3051 or fill out a simple contact form today.
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Author: Sarah Deak
Sarah is a copywriter for NuGrowth Digital clients. She likes to look for the unexpected angle, and uses her background in nonprofit development and marketing to create interesting and informative pieces that drive prospect engagement.