Back to basics with marketing strategy

marketing strategy
Document marketing strategy to stay on the path to business growth. (Photo by Nik Shuliahin on Unsplash)

As a content strategist, I tell clients to set marketing goals that support key business goals. And pay attention to customer pain points, I tell them. Make time to document your marketing strategy. Then refer back to it.

For the longest time, I didn’t practice what I preached. Hypocrisy? Certainly not. I was facing down the cobbler’s child syndrome.

Ben Dattner, an industrial and organizational consultant, notes that this problem is pervasive in the workplace.

“Like the proverbial children of the shoemaker who go without shoes, I have consulted to technology companies that have outdated computer systems, marketing firms that don’t market themselves in any way, and consulting firms that fail to put into practice for themselves a single theory or model upon which they have built their businesses,” Dattner wrote in an article for Psychology Today.

In this post, I’ll talk about goal setting, one of the first steps to achieve a return on investment from marketing. Then I will describe the process we at Hirsch Media use to document marketing strategy. Lastly, I will share part of our own strategy as an example of how you can begin writing down your company’s strategic goals.

Goal setting

Every piece of marketing content should advance a strategic goal.

All marketing activities may seem like brand building. After all, each one affects your reputation. But brand awareness on its own does not turn people into customers.

Content Marketing Institute provides six examples of business goals that justify investments in content.

  • Raising brand awareness
  • Email list building
  • Nurturing prospects through the buyer’s journey
  • Customer conversion
  • Customer retention
  • Brand loyalty

Almost all these goals may feel urgent, especially for the fast-paced startups that we work with. Would any reasonable marketer say that customer conversion isn’t a priority? I wouldn’t.

But think of strategic marketing like an accordion. Sometimes, you expand it to strike the right note. Sometimes you compress it. At first, focus on goals that produce measurable results on their own. Nurturing prospects through the buyer’s journey—helping them discover your brand, consider what it offers, and agree to pay for it—does this.

Big companies have multiple buyer’s journeys for different consumer segments. They fine tune them regularly. Smaller companies should start with a single buyer’s journey and build upwards.

Keep reading to learn how to set up a buyer’s journey and the associated costs, followed by a sample of Hirsch Media’s own marketing strategy.

Step-by-step strategy

The process we use to document marketing strategy comes from a template that content strategist Isla McKenna posted on Moz in 2014. The template applies bits of storytelling. This approach is useful at Hirsch Media, where we use storytelling techniques to create content.

We begin with brief descriptions of the brand, business goals and content goals, existing marketing assets, and the competitive landscape. Next, we write about the brand’s core strategy and themes that shape its perspective. Themes must be timely and relevant for consumers. Lastly, we discuss each step of the content plan.

Collaboration yields the best results. An experienced consultant knows how to maximize clients’ resources without becoming a drain on their time. Abraham Lincoln delivered the Gettysburg Address, upholding the merits of representative democracy, in two minutes. The speech has 272 words. Brevity is not only the soul of wit. Above all, it’s a key to effective marketing strategy.

Hirsch Media recently documented marketing strategy for an enterprise software company and a residential solar installer. We started once with an on-site meeting and once with a video conference. We drafted marketing strategy documents shortly after each set of meetings. Client time was limited to a half-day or less. Likewise, the cost was less than $1,000 per client. Both clients can work with Hirsch Media to periodically revise the document. Or they can manage the process in-house and consult with us as needed.

Sample marketing strategy

Here’s part of Hirsch Media’s own marketing strategy. After reading, please share your feedback. Nobody outside our organization has seen our marketing strategy before. Thanks for reviewing it.

Marketing Strategy @ Hirsch Media

Brand

Hirsch Media provides full-service marketing to help cleantech companies improve business performance. We are a go-to resource for senior marketing professionals in solar, storage, and smart grid companies. Think of us as a reference for deep, substantive advice, the kind of information you can’t always get from a quick web search. Hirsch Media deploys marketing innovation to drive the adoption of the world-changing technologies.

Goals

Hirsch Media has built a strong reputation based on customer satisfaction, referrals, and speaking events. In 2018, we will begin publishing daily social media, weekly blog posts, and a monthly email newsletter. We’ll take insight that we share with clients during on-site visits, or at industry events, and bring them online.

Setting

Hirsch Media has an office at the Impact Hub co-working space in Berkeley, California. We also have a website featuring over a dozen samples of our work, two testimonials, and a blog. An email newsletter and a consistent presence on social media will help develop relationships with people considering our services who are not ready to buy.

Competitors

Companies spend a lot to educate consultants about their businesses. No agency has fully integrated content with the customer journey. Hirsch Media is poised to become a content marketing leader among marketing agencies.

Core Strategy

Hirsch Media aligns marketing activities with underlying business goals.

Themes

Marketer’s toolkit. We learn from the best and integrate winning ideas into our work.

Expectations with consultants. Transparent pricing and process are big challenges in consulting. Transparency is a key feature of our approach.

Who’s who in cleantech marketing. Using examples from our large and growing network, Hirsch Media will lift the discussion about what works in cleantech marketing.

Content Plan

Hirsch Media will create content that supports the three key steps of the customer journey: discovery, consideration, and conversion.

Discovery. The journey starts with social media, where we will sharing timely and relevant advice for cleantech marketers. There, people can sign up for a monthly email newsletter. When they do, they advance to the consideration stage.

Consideration. Newsletter subscribers receive in-depth discussions of relevant topics. They will also be invited to sign up for a 30-minute meeting with a member of our staff. When they do, they go ahead to the conversion stage.

Conversion. In meetings, staff will discuss specific marketing challenges and make suggestions. Participants will then receive an offer to help prepare marketing assets for an upcoming industry event.

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