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Marketing strategies are not a boring necessity or a smoke and mirrors show. They define the soul of your company, and the soul is in the details.
To reach your business goals, you need a data-driven, granular marketing strategy that turns your ideas, passion, and hard work into tangible results. However, not all marketing strategies will get you there. A cookie-cutter strategy will outline the general direction, while a granular one will show you the exact, customized steps you need to take. This is increasingly important in times of crisis. Those who stand out from the herd and follow the customized, granular strategies will not only stay afloat but will experience unprecedented rapid growth.
For some, marketing strategies suggests a list of buzzwords and acronyms. For others, it conjures thoughts of companies desperately trying to stay relevant in a rapidly changing world. Others are more open to innovating, but still consider marketing to be solely related to sales and advertising. Marketing is so much more. Marketing, in reality, is a philosophy.
Obviously, the goal of any marketing strategy should be to accelerate growth and skyrocket your Return on Investment (ROI). It must help you connect the dots and map out a business plan which outlines every step on the way to success.
For many entrepreneurs, a marketing strategy is not written down, and is more about "the way we do things around here." They have a vision for their business — offering the best possible experience to satisfied customers and standing out from the competition. Instead of designing and implementing a detailed, granular marketing plans, they work hard at their business every day, investing in billboards or social media ads when they can, crossing fingers that it works. This ad-hoc, inconsistent system provides a small boost in sales. Without the strategy and analytics, the marketing budget is often wasted on tactics that have inconsistent results.
Unfortunately, a good idea, passion, and hard work are not enough. To develop an actionable plan that leads to tangible results, one needs to develop and implement a granular marketing strategy. The right data-driven, granular marketing strategy helps define the soul of the company in fine detail and directs it towards the goal.
By definition, a marketing strategy is a concept that outlines the goals and provides a formula for optimally using resources and opportunities to reach those goals, rising above the competition.
This may sound vague — because it is. Most entrepreneurs seeking to grow their business have run across at least one consulting firm that wants to help them create a vague, general marketing strategy. This causes many issues to arise, where some can even be catastrophic.
Generic "marketing packages" or cookie-cutter strategies lure businesses with low prices and false promises of success. They result in unclear plans that don't fit the business quite right, causing subpar results.
A granular marketing strategy is one that provides an overview of the company's long-term targets and develops the dynamic steps needed to achieve them down to the smallest details. It is akin to the detailed blueprints that are required before the start of any construction project. It leads the business from envisioning big goals to setting out the specifics of how to get there. This type of strategy will tell you what you need to do, when you need to, why you need to do it, and how you can get it done. Through real, meaningful metrics it ensures that businesses are engaging in a fact-based decision making process that accelerates a company's ROI.
The granular marketing strategy will evolve with the company's growth. The overarching structure will keep you on track with long-term goals, and provide the opportunity to fine-tune details to find what gives the greatest returns. It will help you pinpoint what drives your customers, so you can focus on that and cut out everything that is inefficient.
Outlining in detail, each step, allows for real time dynamic changes to ensure that ROI is maximized, while keeping risk of failure at minimum. Every tactic that does not work is replaced with an alternative before it can absorb any more resources. It also quickly identifies what is working, allowing for one to amplify those steps to further accelerate profits. As a result, a granular strategy enables quick, dynamic, and simultaneous changes across different segments, exponentially compounding gains, minimizing risks, and accelerating a company's ROI.
Many businesses falsely believe they do not have the time, money, resources, or employees to develop and implement a granular, data-driven marketing strategy. However, a granular strategy is developed with the business' specific resources and constraints in mind. No matter the size of the initial investment, it can deliver a high ROI that is scalable. This is because, it is predicated on the fundamental principle that as the company grows its needs and resources will evolve and change.
A generalized marketing strategy does a poor job of acquiring, engaging, and retaining customers. It will say you need a website without any further breakdowns. Imagine a website that has not been designed with the specific business's customer experience in mind: it's going to have issues ranging from seeming similar to its competitors, a confusing layout, scattered information, etc. Customers will quickly lose interest and patience with a business that appears to fail to meet their needs. A granular strategy will consider every touchpoint. Every step of the customer experience is carefully planned out, from initial contact to final purchase and beyond.
Comparing the two approaches is like comparing paper maps with modern apps — one gives a general static outline of the road, while the other shows, in real time, how to avoid traffic with alternative routes and what each milestone looks like with constant changes as road conditions change.
A granular strategy is particular to your business and vision, making it highly unique.
By nature, human beings are often drawn to mirror what everyone else is doing. Research has shown that this happens when one thinks that one does not have enough information and place trust in decisions made by others. Many times, people feel they will be ridiculed by peer pressure if they try something out of the ordinary. This is one reason why many entrepreneurs embrace the one-size-fits-all packages offered by some marketing agencies. They are often encouraged by low costs and the fact that it seems to have worked for others.
However, trailblazers stay ahead of the curve instead of following trends. Consistent, dynamic, strategic innovation is a way to not only seize the opportunities but to create opportunities. This creates a message that does not get lost in the noise that people have learned to tune out. This is because a granular strategy will show them the step-by-step guide on how to accomplish this and resonate with the ideal clients.
Creativity is the key ingredient for any entrepreneurial endeavor. It can seem at odds with strategic thinking, but these two cannot be separated. The strategy is about relating to the circumstances, while the essence of entrepreneurship is using opportunities found in the environment creatively. Experts describe strategic entrepreneurship as the integration of capitalizing on uncertainties with seeking advantage to create strategies that bring in results. Those that continuously focus on new solutions through strategic and entrepreneurial thinking will always be a few steps ahead of the competition.
A lot of entrepreneurs don't think about differentiation in their marketing and include as many channels as possible, without analyzing the potential ROI. For example, social media is presented as a "must-have" by various marketing agencies, businesses decide to use it no matter what. Research suggests that B2C companies can expect a greater return than B2B companies, and only with a critical mass of followers. Time, money, and knowledge invested in social media are significant resources. A granular strategy allows you to amplify what's working and find the next best alternative to what isn't. It lets you determine, test out, and analyze what will produce the maximum return.
Having a granular strategy will let you know which marketing channels give you the best results. This is especially important in times of crisis. When funds are scarce and stress is high, it's vital to know where to double down and which channels to put on the back-burner.
A business without a solid plan can only react to problems and shifts in the market as they come, instead of acting to tackle issues before they arise and quickly adapt to changing economic climates. The best innovations are created in response to specific, urgent, and significant problems. After the COVID-19 outbreak started, 76% of people have picked up new habits, and 89% of these people plan to keep them in the long run. Thirty-six percent of consumers plan to stay loyal to new brands and services they have used during the crisis. A recent survey established that a third of US entrepreneurial ventures and small businesses responded by expanding their services and delivery channels, maintaining a hopeful outlook. But every entrepreneur needs to ask themselves how this new reality fits in with their strategy.
For example, a small family jewelry business used the opportunity to start a live stream gem show. In the times that jewelry is not on customers' minds, this show not only helped them stay connected but generate significant sales. This mom-and-pop venture realized over $30,000 in sales from just two shows. This success wasn't random; they included the live show in their strategy for 2019 but didn't have the time to bring it to life. When the lockdown began, they suddenly acquired this resource and pivoted accordingly.
Understanding your unique position and intrinsically knowing your customers are foundations for building strategies that can adapt to market volatility and crises. When you're secure in your long game, you can easily pinpoint and pivot short-term objectives to continue growing. Solid long-term goals based on data should remain the guiding course while the world is still in unruly waters.
Strategic thinking in marketing requires a holistic approach to understanding the underlying structures of your business and the market, bridging contradictions, and developing alternative solutions. A granular marketing strategy translates this into actions that bring in results, regardless of your budget.
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