Developing a strong marketing strategy is at the heart of any company’s success.
It helps crystallise the vision for the future and maps out the goals and the corresponding milestones to get there. But without the means to turn strategic intent and goals into executable actions, and align your teams around those actions, your strategy can’t hope to contribute to bottom-line results.
So how can you turn strategy into action? This article looks at the important steps to ensuring all parts of the puzzle are where they should be.
Your marketing strategy is the roadmap that explains how marketing will help achieve the overall business goals of your company.
For example, your business goals could be to boost sales, increase brand awareness, and reach new audiences; the contributing marketing goals to those business goals could include, amongst others, improving conversion rates, earning more followers on social media and getting more traffic to your website through.
While your strategy is long-term and high-level, your marketing plan can take a shorter-term view, for example, with a quarterly focus, and needs to be detailed enough to cover all the elements that will contribute to achieving your overall marketing goals.
The advantage of this timeframe is that it gives you time to actually deliver results, but also allows for a more agile approach that can take into account internal and external changes, as well as valuable information you gather from your tracking and measurement.
So what are the steps towards turning strategy into action?
- Based on the goals of your high-level marketing strategy, establish your objectives for the quarter. For example, if your goal is to earn more social media followers, your quarterly objective might be to grow your LinkedIn followers by x% by the end of the quarter.
- For each objective identify specific goals, e.g. revamp LinkedIn company page, launch LinkedIn campaign, Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) that can help you track your objectives, e.g. number of LinkedIn followers, amount of engagement on posts, and the deliverables needed to ensure that goal is met, e.g. perform content audit for current company page, create content for company page to fill gaps, create snackable content items that can easily be shared, develop content calendar etc.
- Break deliverables down into tasks, clearly identifying what needs to be done, by who and by when. For example, to perform a content audit, you might need to list all content elements, attribute scores to show how complete elements are, etc. It’s also important to think about interdependencies between deliverables and tasks – perhaps some can be done in parallel, while others need to be consecutive.
Once your team is in execution mode, it’s important to keep a close eye on progress. Ensuring that your marketing plan is on track is hugely important, otherwise you risk falling short of your quarterly objectives.
Organise regular meetings with the team that is actually executing the plan, e.g. at the beginning of the week, to check in with your team to take stock of what they already achieved and what they will be working on in the coming week, to celebrate progress and success, and to identify challenges or gaps. This way, if adjustments to the plan are needed, you can act fast. Don’t forget to inform any other key stakeholders of changes to the plan so that everyone is on the same wavelength.
Check in on your KPIs at least once a month to see how you are progressing towards your quarterly objectives. Hopefully this will just be a confirmation that you’re on the right track. But if not, regular checking will help you see if you need to change focus, or could help you spot external factors impacting your progress.
Before starting on the plan for the next quarter, make sure to analyse the previous one. Was everything delivered? If not, why not? What have you learned that can be applied in the future? This way, you keep building on your strengths and identify ways to keep improving as you go forward.
At the end of the day, breaking down your marketing goals and objectives into their component parts is the only way to turn strategy into action, and get the buy-in and commitment of your team.
Keeping regular track of progress will ensure you can identify any issues before they escalate into full-blown problems, and celebrating victories along the way will help your team feel engaged and motivated to push through and delivers results that are greater than the sum of its parts.
Eager to learn more? Keep reading about marketing and sales strategy to maximise your results.