Should You Re-Visit Your Marketing Strategy?
I've been thinking about a quote from the Art of War by 孫子 Sun Zi (Sun Tzu for those who prefer the Wade Giles translation). That "Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat". And as it’s a brand spanking new year, it’s ever more prudent as we think about rolling out our marketing strategies for 2022.
When’s the last time you thought about your Marketing Strategy? Per above, I’m not talking about the tactics that you plan on incorporating for your small business, I’m talking about thinking about the over-arching strategy so that the tactics you do choose to utilise will maximise effectiveness. While we should be re-evaluating every 3-6 months, it’s prudent to dive deep every 1-2 years. With COVID-19 still an unfortunate reality, I’ll be unfortunately be referring to it a lot in my explanations.
“Tactics Without Strategy Is The Noise Before Defeat” ~孫子 (Sun Tzu / Sun Zi)
In taking a look at your Marketing Strategy, consider the following questions:
Unfortunately, after 2 years, we’re still talking about COVID-19. The beginning of the pandemic is a great example of a change in demand drivers. When the first lockdowns first started, one of the first items that started being sold out, was flour. Where prior to the pandemic, people were spending time with friends and family, meeting at restaurants, malls, theatres, etc. All of a sudden, people were stuck at home, looking for things to do; baking ended up being immensely popular.
What changes in demand drivers do you anticipate will occur in 2022 and perhaps 2023 for your business? How can you adjust your marketing strategy to accommodate for these changes?
Routes to Market
A storefront is an obvious example of a route to market. But when the governments locked us down, no one was showing up, so a lot of people started buying online. It was therefore beneficial for those who had an online store.
What about your business? Maybe you used to do tradeshows, had a booth. Physical tradeshows are few and far between right now. What other routes are available to you?
Especially for those offering professional services, we talk about ‘Know, Like, and Trust’ a lot. And while referrals are great, have there been any other shifts in how people decide to work with you? What does the decision-making process look like for your potential customer/client? How is your business helping with that process?
Diminishing Returns to Strategy
Even a great strategy gets stale. Back when Shaquille O’Neal was in his prime, he was dominant on the inside, near the basket. He was large and quick, with soft hands. All his team mates had to do was toss him the ball on the inside and he’d put it in. But that only worked for so long before the opposition learned how to defend against this move; enter, Hack-a-Shaq. The effectiveness of simply tossing the ball to Shaq around the rim started to diminish.
How long has your business been utilising the same marketing strategy? Is it still as effective as it used to be?
Changes to Brand Mission and/or Values
As you and your business grows and matures, you might be finding that your mission and/or values have changed. Maybe you’ve entered a different stage in your life, or maybe something’s happened where there’s another segment that’s become important to you. Maybe you have a neighbourhood restaurant. But as your patrons in the neighbourhood age, it might be prudent to offer some heart healthy meals. So if your company is making such changes, you’d likely have better results attracting clients and customers that reflect your company’s new direction.
Changes to your company’s size or shift in position
Most people start their companies on their own. And it’s a lot about that personal touch. But as your company grows, while you might still have the same values, you might not be interacting with your clients the same way. Make sure that your marketing efforts reflect that.
Or maybe your company is making a major directional pivot. Take Blackberry for example. The world knew them as the smart phone company from the early naughts (2000-2009). But they’ve divested themselves from the phone business and are focused on cybersecurity now. You can easily understand when a company is making such a monumental shift, but what if your company has just added services? Wouldn’t you like to incorporate those changes into your marketing?
Change can be scary, but since change is inevitable, why not embrace it? Revisiting your marketing strategy is an opportunity for you and your company to not only do better, but also to refresh and reinvigorate. It’s an opportunity for you to re-focus your agenda and re-align your company’s messaging and image.