Why is getting the perfect marketing strategy so difficult?

In order for any business to achieve the growth that the founder wants, it needs to have in place a comprehensive growth strategy. The best way to get growth is to get new customers. The best way to get new customers is via marketing. Therefore, the marketing strategy is fundamental to the growth of the business. Simple. Yes? Not quite. In this article, I will highlight the reasons why it can be so difficult for a business to get the perfect marketing strategy. The steps a business can take to attain such a strategy and what to avoid. An expert in marketing strategy, such as a growth hacker or outsourced CMO is most likely the best option for a business whose revenue is less than $50m per year.

Who is in charge of creating the strategy?

This question is as important as any. In order for any business to do well, you have to get the right people in the right seats. If you talk to the founders of some of the greatest companies and ask them what the key is to success, many will tell you it is about getting the right team. Steve Jobs at Apple was obsessed with getting the right people around him. And, if he doubted whether or not someone was the right person for the job, he would have no hesitation or qualms about firing that person. A ruthless approach to the notion of surrounding yourself with the right people.

In order to have the right people in the organization, you need to make sure that the person in the job is competent and hungry for what that role entails. Competence can include whether or not they have experience in the position, therefore know what to expect or if they have the intellect, emotional intelligence and focus to handle the stresses of such a role.

The best and easiest way to ensure that a person is competent and prepared for a position is to see if they have done it before. In marketing, we often look at someone’s portfolio of businesses they have worked with. This gives us, and a potential employer, confidence in whether or not this prospect is capable. So if a CEO needs someone to come in and layout a marketing strategy, that CEO needs to be confident that this person has done it many times before.

A specialist in this area is therefore the obvious choice. Chief marketing officers are experts in leading marketing strategy, however are generally for very large businesses, such as $50m+. Marketing consultants often come in to help businesses iron out the creases in their marketing, and can drive strategy. What a lot of businesses need is a CMO but not a full-time in-house one. An outsourced CMO is therefore a very desirable option. An outsourced chief marketing officer creates and leads the marketing strategy and ensures the success of any campaigns within the strategy. The outsourced CMO does not handle lower-value tasks that could be handed off to an entry-level or mid-level marketing manager. An ultra focussed job to do, for five hours per week means the business is not overspending and the CMO is solving high-value problems.

Which direction should the marketing strategy take?

Each industry is different. As is each business. So there is no right or wrong answer to this as it is a broad question. There are some simple truths that can help a business decide which direction its strategy can take.

1. Look at your competitors

Pablo Picasso once said, “Good artists borrow; great artists steal.” What he meant by this was that in order for your work to have the greatest level of impact it can have, you have to be willing to take what has worked for other people. It is not a call to plagiarise your competitor’s marketing campaigns, but definitely steal what is working for them. If they have found success in PPC, you should take a piece of that pie.

The problem with never inventing any new marketing methods is that you are always one step behind. The first-to-market advantage is a very real thing. Also, consumers are not stupid. They can tell if you have taken inspiration or outright copied an idea from a competitor. If a consumer notices this, they will see the original creator (your competitor) as the trusted source. They are the authority on this specific thing. That is not good for your brand. So, be very careful when taking inspiration from competitors. There is a risk to your brand image.

2. What do you already have?

You would be amazed at how many businesses overlook their current marketing assets and instead have the concept that new is always better in their minds, therefore spend thousands of dollars on new ideas, when really they could have optimized what they already had, or repurposed it. This is something that your outsourced CMO will help you with. This taking of inventory is also beneficial in that it will allow you to analyze your current marketing efforts and give you better insight for future campaigns.

By using some of the ideas and examples that have been laid out in this article, you will be able to have a better grasp of what constitutes a successful marketing strategy and how one can be implemented to maximum effect. For content on marketing strategy, please visit cmox.co to find out more.

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