It can be easy to “set it and forget it” when it comes to your marketing strategy, especially if it feels like things are going well. However, we firmly believe that every business should revisit its marketing strategy at least once a year (along with any time you drastically changed your business goals or offerings).
We aren’t talking about your marketing tactics (i.e. your marketing plan), which should change more frequently.
We’re talking about the strategy that informs your marketing plan, and we’ve pulled together 4 steps from our OTM Path to Growth® that will help guide you through the process of refreshing your marketing strategy for the upcoming year.
We talk a lot about marketing strategies vs. marketing plans at OTM, and while they are interconnected they are not the same thing. You can think of your marketing strategy as the “who” and “why,” while your plan is the “what” and “when.”
A solid marketing strategy should define exactly who you are trying to reach and why they should purchase from you, while your marketing plan defines what tactics you need to implement and when in order to deliver on your strategy.
In essence, your strategy provides direction while your plan serves as the tactical implementation that ensures your strategy’s success.
As our client Karrikins Group regularly states, you should lead with your strategy and manage your plan. Check out their webinar, ‘Lead Your Strategy / Manage Your Plan’ to learn how to talk about the space between strategy and planning.
Step 1. Analyze the market
A market analysis is the process of gathering, analyzing, and interpreting information in order to understand a market or industry. Through an effective market analysis, businesses can identify opportunities for growth, predict and plan for future challenges, and better position themselves for success.
At OTM, a market analysis typically includes:
- Determining the TAM (target addressable market) and exploring opportunities for expanding the total size of the market
- Understanding the needs, preferences, and pain points of the target audience in order to tailor products or services accordingly
- Identifying and tracking industry trends and consumer behavior changes that may impact the market
A well-conducted market analysis will identify gaps in the market and develop strategies to capitalize on opportunities or mitigate risks.
Step 2. Analyze your competition
Once you’ve finished analyzing the market, you should know who you are trying to reach and who (or what) you are competing against for market share.
We recommend analyzing direct and indirect competitors by creating detailed profiles of each. Include information about their market share, financial health, size, customer base, offerings, pricing, unique selling propositions, and marketing tactics.
Then, look for opportunities for differentiation and areas for improvement in your own business.
Step 3. Audit your brand’s story
Now that you understand the market and have a handle on how to differentiate from your competition, it’s time to audit your brand’s story.
At OTM, we leverage the 7-part StoryBrand framework developed by Donald Miller and made popular by his book, “Building a StoryBrand: Clarify Your Message So Customers Will Listen.”
The 7 parts of a StoryBrand consist of:
- A character (your customer) who has a want or need
- The problem (that you can solve) that is standing in their way
- A guide (your business) that can ultimately help them solve their problem
- With a plan that helps them go from where they are now to where they need to go
- A call to action
- That helps them achieve success
- And avoid failure
If you don’t have a brand story, check out our article: ‘A Brand Story Exercise: OTM’s Approach to Building a StoryBrand’.
When you’re going through the process of refreshing your marketing strategy, it’s particularly important to make sure that you are still talking to the right audience, solving the right (urgent and expensive) problems, and positioning yourself competitively with value propositions that cater to the aspirations of your customers.
Building a StoryBrand with OTM
OTM is one of roughly ~30 StoryBrand Certified Agencies in the country, and our entire team was directly trained by members of Donald Miller’s team. Ready to get started on your StoryBrand journey with OTM? Request a 30-minute consultation to get started!
The final step is to align your marketing plan with your refreshed marketing strategy.
Start by setting specific marketing objectives based on anything in your strategy that might be new or different. For example, if you’ve found that there is an untapped market for one of your services in a specific industry, your objective might be to gain a certain number of marketing-qualified leads from that industry within a specified period of time.
Then make sure your marketing tactics and channels will help you achieve your newly created objectives. Ensure that your tactics (i.e. posting on LinkedIn, advertising on Google) align with your target audience and your value propositions, especially if they’ve changed as a result of steps 1, 2, and 3.
If you don’t already have a marketing strategy or plan, check out the OTM Path to Growth® our process that guides clients through a series of collaborative exercises to analyze your business and marketing strategy, understand your customer’s behaviors, and ultimately position your brand competitively within your industry.