How to Find Your Strategy
Today we’re moving on to Part 2 of How to make a marketing strategy. If you haven’t yet, be sure to go back and read Part 1 about what strategy means!
Prefer listening? Watch a video of this blog instead:
When you’re ready to start mapping out your marketing strategy, you’ll begin with your customer. I talk a lot about personas, which are profiles of your target client, so it should really be no surprise that I believe personas are the starting point for your strategy.
Why is it important to start with your persona in mind? Remember that marketing is a conversation. Your goal is to reach into your target client’s life to make a connection, build a relationship, and ultimately have them trust you enough to buy your product or engage your service. By designing your strategy to meet a specific person, you will reach the people most likely to be interested in what you have to offer.
Not all marketing strategies start with the customer in mind. Alternative options for how to build your strategy might begin with:
What resources you have available
What other businesses are doing
What you like doing
While these are all factors that you can take into consideration, they tend to come later in the process. If you start with these without knowing who you’re trying to reach with them, you’ll probably end up missing the mark with your marketing strategy.
Your persona is a character you’re going to get to know very well, both while building the profile and while building your marketing strategy.
For your strategy, picture your target client, and think about the specific goal they have as it relates to your product or service. There should be an initial goal that easily comes to mind. Examples might be: save money for retirement, get a good haircut, buy a first lawnmower, or plan a milestone birthday party.
These goals are very broad, but you know who your persona is already, so you know what the motivations are behind his or her specific goal.
For example, the retirement saver wants to live independently for life rather than depend on family in old age. The person who needs a haircut wants a style that only requires a minute or two in the morning so that they can be more productive. The lawnmower buyer is really looking for guidance, advice, and products to help him care for his yard in his first home. The party planner is looking for a full-service solution that will take her ideas and bring them to life without any stress for her.
Once you’ve identified this goal and drilled down on the specific motivations that make you the perfect solution, you will start mapping out the journey your persona will go through to accomplish it. To do this, we use a 5-stage process for mapping out the persona journey:
Awareness of Need: When and how do they become aware that they need or want something?
Consideration of Options: How do they go about finding the options they could use to get that thing?
Final Decision Making: How do they make their final choice?
Use of Final Decision: How do they utilize the solution they selected?
Formation of Opinions about Decision: What do they think about their decision?
When you think through each of these stages, visualize the individual actually going through the motions.
Imagine their life - Who are they talking to? What else are they doing? When are they doing it?
If you’ve gone through a persona-building exercise, this is where you’ll want to review the aspects of their whole life: people who help them make decisions, the hobbies they enjoy, the books they read, the places they shop, etc. I know it may seem tedious to put this much time into a fictional character, but remember that this character is the next best thing to actually having your ideal customer by your side.
Now that you know how they spend their time, start to identify the points of their journey at which you can make an intersection with them. Write down your ideas as you brainstorm the places and spaces you can meet your persona. Some examples might include:
They do the grocery shopping: local grocery stores or coupon circulars
They drive their kids to school or activities: radio stations
They attend minor-league baseball games: stadium advertising
They read online newspapers and magazines: digital advertising
Keep writing down ideas. Once you’ve listed out several, take a look and see if you can group particular ideas together. Is there an overall theme?
There are different ways you can classify marketing strategies, but these are a few simple examples:
Digital vs. traditional media
Target vs. influencer personas
Website vs. social media
Paid vs. organic
See what your brainstorm list shows you. It’s not going to be perfect, but you’ll get an idea. Remember, strategy isn’t about the nitty-gritty details of how it will get done, but the means by which you’ll get to your end goal.
Remember those alternative factors that I said come later in the process? Well, now we’re there! Let’s look at those again:
What are your budget, time, and other resources?
What have other businesses tried before?
What do you (or someone on your team) like doing or know how to do?
Again, these aren’t the determining factor for what you should do, but they do influence your strategy. If you simply don’t have the budget for lots of print advertising, a local print campaign shouldn’t be your strategy.
If there’s something that you really hate doing (don’t be afraid to admit that it’s social media - that’s very common) or have no idea how to do (SEO usually for the win here), this is where you might want to consider outsourcing or expanding your skillset.
Once you identify the overarching strategy for your marketing, you can then start planning out the specific tactics and timelines for implementation.
One last note - those 5 stages of the persona journey I talked about? You can go really in-depth into each one of those. There are specific questions that your persona has in each stage, and you need to be able to answer those with your marketing efforts.
When we work with clients, this is an area we look at to help develop what to actually say to the target. It’s all about helping the person move into the next stage, getting one step closer to working with you!
If you’re ready for a more in-depth look at mapping out a persona journey to make your marketing strategy, sign up for one of our upcoming workshops or get in touch with us to learn more about working together.