From building a brand to developing a website or creating a campaign, behind all truly successful marketing endeavour is a well thought out strategy and plan. Think of any creative communications project, boiled down it is all about making a series of decisions.
With a solid strategy in place, you can be confident when making those decisions instead of just throwing spaghetti at a wall and hope that something sticks.
Objective / Subjective
Not all plans are created equally, depending on the situation and the person creating them. Strategic plans in the marketing world can look like a highly researched, incredibly analytical spreadsheet based almost entirely on numbers and outcomes.
On the flip side, a creative strategy can also be more subjective and be centred around events, culture, and market trends. In our industry, one is not necessarily better than the other because they are both valuable and have a place in the creative planning world. Often a nice mix of both is appreciated by everyone on the team, from the project managers to the graphic designers and everyone in between.
When starting a plan you will want to get lots of input from all of the stakeholders involved, your client should be a wealth of information. Look at studies that have been done in the field and on the market, talk to the demographic, get your research done and then synthesize that information and boil it down to its very essence and you have your strategy. It doesn’t have to be a giant 92-page document that proves you did all of that work, as something that huge will muddy the waters and never get looked at again.
Take the ego out of strategic planning and create a nice, easy to read and understand document that clearly lays out your findings and the path the brand should take. Consider it a North Star document that will help guide the team and keep everyone on the right track.
Depending on the need, strategic documents can contain a whole host of info; that being said, pretty much all marketing strategies should have at least one thing in common. Defining the demographic and (hopefully) a customer persona or two. Find out the pain points for your demographic and how your brand can solve those problems. That is what your marketing strategy will be based around.
This type of planning is often solo work done by high-level management. Too many opinions and too many voices can cloud a strategy and make it more complicated than it has to be. That being said, once a plan is coming together it is advisable to have it gut checked by the experienced people on your team and you can make sure that you’re going down the right path.
Does it ‘ring true’ to pretty much everyone on the team? No person is an island, it is not only the person planning whose opinion and research matters – if the human element rings true with most others on the team then it is likely a good strategy. If you have a strong, confident team they should help you course correct on necessary pieces.
Of course, developing a solid marketing strategy is not all butterflies and roses. It can be a daunting task and it is easy to get lost in the information. If you think you need an experienced marketing professional build your strategy, give us a call and we will get a plan going for you!