In a word yes. Now I know you are probably having visions/nightmares of a bureaucratic form filling exercise that gets completed and never used. But don’t worry, I’m going to give you five reasons why a small business marketing strategy is a must, and four tips for making it straightforward and succinct.
Why a marketing strategy is a must
Reason 1: Writing it down makes it real
Your marketing strategy might be really well formed and in your head, but you need to get it down on paper. It’s proven that our thinking is clearer, and we are more committed once we write something down.
Reason 2: It helps you get clearer on why your business exists
Your strategy will ask you some big questions about the vision for your business, who you should be targeting, whether your products/services measure up, and why a customer would choose you over the competition. Let the soul searching commence.
Reason 3: It helps you prioritise
No doubt you have a to do list as long as your arm. How much of it is stuff vs activities that help you move closer to your goals? The good news is that your small business marketing strategy helps you decide where you need to focus your time, effort and marketing budget. You might uncover that you need to refresh your product offering, explore a new advertising opportunity or build your sales pipeline.
Reason 4: You can actually measure your success
Your marketing strategy is a statement of intent with measurable goals. So keeping it nearby to check your progress is invaluable.
Reason 5: You get what you ask for
There’s an old saying that your advertising is only as good as the brief you give the agency. So if you aren’t clear on your strategy, it’s hard for you to explain it to a paid marketing service provider (e.g. a creative agency), and get the results you want.
Four Tips to keep it brief
Tip 1: Brainstorm first, then consolidate
For each section of your strategy, brainstorm and capture everything relevant. Then distill down the key points (colour coded highlighters are great for this). This is a really good exercise to get you to narrow down and focus on the areas that will have the most impact.
Tip 2: No more than four pages of A4 or two pages of A3 paper
If you can’t manage this, you’re not focused enough. See number 1 above.
Tip 3: Include your vision, mission and overall business objectives
This is grounding. It sets the scene and helps you make the linkages between why you are in business and how your marketing supports that.
Tip 4: Make it a living document
Change is inevitable. Your business does, your competition do, and your customers evolve. Keep it on your desk or on the wall and refer back to it often. And don’t be afraid to change it along the way.