Marketing, in and of itself, is an enigma. Some of the world’s largest brands can equate at least some of their success to marketing and the strategy associated with it. With that kind of influence, it’s no wonder so many businesses – large and small – are trying to crack the code of what strategies will garner them epic success.
And while we spend a great deal of time spreading our personal belief in the power of ‘marketing strategy’, the term does come along with its fair share of misconceptions. Before you jump head first into developing your marketing strategy, we’ll break down some of the common myths.
Don’t learn the hard way – that’s what we’re here for. We’re cool like that.
MYTH ONE: An Industry Expert is Right For You.
You might be thinking to yourself, “Self! Maybe I should place my trust in the hands of industry experts.” And don’t think we’re surprised. If there is one thing you can count on from industry experts, they’re going to know your industry (shock!). The nuances, the competitors, the trends, and all that jazz. While this is definitely an arsenal of insight, it ain’t everything either.
Take, if you will, a potential suitor. If you know a dude always goes for the same type of lady, and you fit the profile, one can assume his game hasn’t needed to evolve. His game works: same lines, same moves, and same dating strategy. Maybe there is something to be said for a suitor who is more challenged by you. He’ll probably spend more time considering how to woo you and seal his success by… really trying to get to know you and what makes you tick.
When you choose to work with an agency solely focused on your industry, you run the risk of getting delivered cookie cutter solutions. They’ve doled out enough marketing expertise within your industry, that a common issue is being offered solutions that are homogenous and don’t give you an edge on the competition. You deserve better than that!
Don’t get it twisted, we’re not saying they aren’t worth looking into, but take the time to review their case studies and assess the type of solutions they offer. If they all seem about the same, maybe it’s time to consider an alternative and request a proposal from a more diverse agency to view their recommendations.
Getting a fresh perspective from marketing pros who are looking at your strategy more holistically can pay off tenfold. Dare to be different – you never know which strategies inspired by an unlikely or unrelated industry can sway you towards big time success.
Personally, I’d be suspicious of any guy who doesn’t tailor his dating strategy to my unique needs. You’re unique, let them woo you.
MYTH TWO: Deliverable Experts Know Best
Okay, so maybe you have something specific in mind and you know exactly what you’re looking for. It would make sense to go to some pros who are really focused on that deliverable, be it a website or a flashy new stack of print materials. Well, let’s stop you right there.
When you clock a professional portfolio with fabulous work on a specific deliverable, yeah it’s hard not to offer a thoughtful nod. However, they might be more focused on the aesthetics rather than the big picture. Good looks, while head turning, are no longer enough to stay afloat in the market. You need to ensure that all the good looks are backed up by substance.
Just like my next suitor. May he be head turning but also full of substance. Pray.
It’s imperative that you have laid out the foundational framework first, with stunning strategy to support every deliverable you decide to pursue. Once the strategy is laid out, and you understand what the intention behind the deliverable should be, you’ve got the makings of something great with better chances for the results you’re after.
If it isn’t working towards your end goal, what good is a deliverable anyway? Much like my past suitors. They may have been babes, but I’m still very much unmarried and childless. Next time, strategy first.
Let’s see if I can get through the rest of this blog without using my dating life as a metaphor. (I won’t.)
MYTH THREE. Strategy Is Just a Fancy Word For Plan
So another thing a lot of people fail to realize is that a marketing strategy isn’t just ‘having a plan’. Sure, one might plan to be married with children, but without true focus, that plan is never going to get off the ground. You can definitely meet someone in a manner of hours after downloading Tinder, but is just banging out dates really helping you?
The secret to strategy success is having a clear and poignant focus. You’ve got to ask yourself “Am I focused, or are my actions a result of my instincts?” Shotgun marketing is a very real thing. It’s easy to be influenced by a gut feeling. Take it from me, sometimes you just need to swallow those feelings and bury them somewhere deep inside. You can visit them again later.
To avoid this mistake, you’ve got to make sure you’ve built that strong foundation and never sway (sounds familiar!). At times, you’re going to want to jump on a trend, but it can often wind up a waste of your resources and marketing dollars. The beauty of investing in a strategy first is that you’ll have direction and you’ll know exactly where you need to place your attention.
If you’re looking for husband material, but you’re going to go out with any babe with a pulse and a valid driver’s license, you’re probably wasting a bunch of time and no where closer to your goal. However, if you have focus and you know you want a Grade A man of quality, don’t waste time on dates with dudes who don’t check at least 80% of your boxes. They may be cute, but again – substance!
Save money, time, and energy for the things that are going to guide you to your goals. Sometimes – if not most of the time – people write plans that create a great deal of space for them to try different things based on feeling. Having a plan and having a strategy aren’t mutually exclusive.
MYTH FOUR: Strategy Is Enough, Hunni
Okay, allow us to blow your mind. Strategy alone, while fundamental, isn’t enough. Strategy is merely 25% of the game. It’s your commitment to the strategy that is the key to your success.
When writing out strategic marketing plans, that is just the beginning. Often, people are surprised at the amount of dedication and hours needed to stick to the plan and stay the course. Strategies are rarely put in place for quick wins, and it can be seductive to stray from your strategy in order to get a quick burst of sales or engagement.
Think of it this way – you may be trying to make a relationship work with Jake. He’s seemingly got all the things you’re looking for. However, you still don’t have a ring on that pretty finger of yours. You could jump ship and hook up with hot Tyler – but who are you kidding? You know that’s only going to be fun for a couple weeks – he has terrible hygiene.
Stick with Jake, be patient, surely that ring will come if you just face the facts that commitment means missing out on a couple steamy nights with hot Tyler. It’s better to remain dedicated to your strategy (i.e. Jake), when you know it’s what you want.
There’s a reason people have a fear of commitment. It’s not going to be easy, and it can be tough to stick with it when you’re not seeing results immediately. But stay the course, and you’ll enjoy the fruits of your labor. We promise. Commitment and dedication are at the base of every organization’s successful marketing endeavors.
MYTH FIVE: Strategy Is a Destination You Arrive At
Ah, strategy. By this point, you’re probably well aware there is no easy road to success. There is no one simple strategy you can put in place to grab expect results, unless you’re willing to invest your time and dedication. Sometimes, the truth hurts.
Our final point is that strategy isn’t a destination – it’s a journey. While you’ll definitely have goals and objectives you’re hoping to achieve through strategy, you should expect to refine and prune your strategy as you travel down its road.
Like a budding relationship, you’re going to have to keep your eye on it in order for it to stay the course. What’s working and what’s not working will reveal itself as you move forward, and you should expect to revisit the strategy and make adjustments as you go. When you continue to give it your unwavering dedication, you’ll be the first to know what needs extra love and attention. You’ll only learn from experience.
I’ve learned plenty from trial and error, making decisions based on gut feelings, and jumping around waiting for a quick win. Don’t make the same mistakes. Remember to step back, consider where you’re going, and what you want – and develop or invest in a focused strategy which will truly benefit your organization.
We’ve helped dozens of organizations like yours to see the power in strategy first. We help people to lay strong strategic foundations that garner big time results in the big picture. Whether you’re looking for help in focusing on what exactly your strategy should be, or you need a team to help execute your strategy with fiery attention to detail – we’re only ever a phone call away.
And don’t you worry about my relationship strategy, I got a cat instead. He’s excellent.
If you want to learn more about specific key elements of an effective marketing plan, read our 50+ page booklet on How to Write A Strategic Marketing Plan That Yields ROI – complete with explanations