You can’t use an old map to explore a new world.
Marketing is dynamic and constantly changes its character with the ever-changing consumer and technology reality. This is why marketing should be well planned, over and over again, with defined milestones and objectives. Once you have the right map, the chances you’ll reach the goals you’ve set to your business, are much higher.
That means, that while most of us are eager to start launching our marketing efforts the minute after we decide to start a business, we actually need to invest in planning so we won’t waste our limited budget and energies on the wrong things.
We’ve put together the 10 main steps that will help you build the different layers of your marketing strategic map.
Here is a template that you can use to visually design your business marketing map.
We call it “From story to glory”
As you can see, every step is meaningful, but don’t panic :) this guide will take you hand in hand through the process, so you won’t miss a thing and get your marketing strategy well figured out.
We have some very useful tips and examples that will make it easier to understand.
Your brand strategy is about defining the core values of your brand, with alignment to what your customers find important, to your industry trends and competitive environment, and to what you actually offer.
A brand is about taking over territory in your target audience perception. That’s not an easy task, but without it, all the other marketing tasks become much more difficult.
Here are some good examples for brands that succeeded in doing it right:
Innocent - Healthy & delicious at the same time
Innocent is elevating a market trend led by consumers that look for healthy and nutritious food & drinks, that are delicious at the same time.
They understood people don’t want to feel the blame after eating or drinking something unhealthy just because it’s tasty. This brand is solving a cognitive dissonance for its customers, and that is a winning brand value to define.
TD Bank - Convenient
TD managers understood that nearly 80% of people don’t feel comfortable about their financial future, so they took that role for themselves.
If this is one of the major pain points their customers experience about their financial lives, what would be a better value proposition for this financial brand to deliver?
There are a lot of big and abstract words thrown around when talking about brand values creation.
A simple formula to find the right values that define your brand is this:
- Think about the main pain points/needs/frictions your brand is solving
- Translate it into a value-based language
- Make sure it fits your beliefs and motivations
My value proposition
Now that you have your story right, it’s time to build the right strategy for your marketing. That means making business decisions about what are you delivering and to whom.
Your product or service tells the most about your brand.
This is the actual hands-on experience customers have with your brand, and it can affect their perception about it the most.
Use your values to make sure you walk the talk and implement what you said about yourself in your offering.
Here are some examples to help you get the hang of it:
Walmart - translating brand values to service language
IKEA - Brand values & design
Most people will know right away this is IKEA’s products - humble, simple and functional.
My target audience
Deciding on your target audience could change the way you present your brand and even the language you use to do it.
We love to use simple models for complex decisions.
We found it is much more effective and fun.
Use this model to map the different target audience groups that you have, and prioritize them accordingly.
(This is actually one of the models we used to determine our target audiences)
You’de want your first tier target audience to have good market potential for your business growth and that it wouldn’t be a Via Delarosa to convince them to purchase what you have to offer.
This is not the only tool you need to characterize the people you are going to invest most of your marketing spend to reach out to.
The second tool we recommend for you to use is defining your personas - or in other words, asking who is your ideal customer, to the smallest details.
To define your main persona you can use this question list:
- Who is my persona? Is he a male or is she a female? What age is he or she? Name your persona and attach a photo so it will be easier for you to plan your messaging accurately.
- What is my persona initial state of mind? - his or her emotions and thought before starting the decision-making process?
- What are the different stages of his or her decision-making process until purchase?
If you’re about to launch a new service or product that customers are not used to using or buying, you might consider applying this psychology of change model. After all, you’re trying to change people perception here.
Each stage represents a psychological state of mind of people until they reach a decision to take action. You can use the needs that are listed below to create your marketing creative tools that will effectively move your persona to take action.
Now, for each stage of the decision making:
- What are your persona’s expectations? What are his goals?
- What process does she go through in this stage? Where does she look for information? Who do they speak with?
- How would you describe his experience?
- What is your objective for each of their decision-making stages?
- What actions can help you achieve these objectives?
Digital marketing plan
Executing your marketing strategy will usually involve digital marketing efforts, especially if you’re a small or medium-sized business.
Most businesses can’t afford to hire a digital marketing specialist in-house so they use the services of freelancers or digital agencies. Here is an article about how to choose the right service provider for your unique business needs.
The words ‘for your unique business needs’ are important here.
From now on, you have a critical job of guarding your brand’s values and strategy in the messaging and creative you’ll create and the different tactics you’ll use.
That’s what storytelling is about.
Make sure the service provider you hired is aligned with your brand and marketing strategy, so they can apply your strategy to the actual marketing communication you’ll have with your potential customers.
See how this brand keeps its brand strategy constantly communicated through its ads:
National Geographic - “wow” and “wonder” using visual language
National Geographic know how to present stunning photography and help us discover the wonders of our world. They constantly keep the language they use on their ads to be aligned with these brand values.
It’s performance time!
At this point, you have your brand story and values, your go to market strategy and a professional to run your digital marketing efforts.
From this point forward, you should focus on a much more tactical management. That means iterative testing of your messages and creatives, of your target audience segments and even of the words you use on your ads CTAs (call-to-action buttons).