We all know how difficult running a business can be. It is a challenge in the truest sense of the word. Though of course, running a business can be intensely rewarding; that is why we persevere through all of the difficulty. It doesn’t matter if your business is a startup, an acquisition, a long established multi-national or something in-between, you will inevitably experience difficulty, challenges and rewards. To continue your own personal and business development through thick and through thin you need to have (and maintain) a keen interest in self-development. Key drivers behind strong and successful self-development are clarity, purpose and strategy. These three factors are vital to not only grow your business but yourself as well. Clarity, purpose and strategy need to be at the core of your marketing plan, and if they aren’t then you won’t be actualising your full potential.
Clarity, purpose and strategy may well seem like broad terms, but they are in actual fact incredibly specific. They are also inextricably linked and are at the heart of BOTH self-development and marketing strategy. In my experience many people make the mistake of thinking that clarity, purpose and strategy are secondary to a marketing plan. I am here to tell you that these three factors are actually a vital component of your marketing strategy, your success and your self-development. Neglect them at your peril!!
So what exactly is clarity? What’s purpose? And what is strategy?
Let’s start off with clarity:
The meaning of clarity is not as clear as the word itself would suggest, unfortunately. So firstly, you must know your customer. You must know exactly what their challenges are and how you plan to address those challenges. We like to refer to our customers as buyer personas but you are of course free to pick whatever name you feel suits your audience best. You must understand your role in their lives. Think of it as an elaborate game of connect the dots - you must join your buyer personas issue to your service, and thus, clarity will follow. Clarity of course is a multifarious factor. It is indicative of clearheaded-ness. You must be clear on your S.M.A.R.T objectives, which stands for: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, Timely. (don’t worry, S.M.A.R.T article coming soon!) A bad example of clarity is saying to yourself “I want to grow” because that is not clear, nor is it measurable. A good example of clarity is saying to yourself “I want to grow by gaining 5 new customers from January to April, I will do this by attending to the following…”. That is a goal with clarity. That is the sort of rigour you must use at all times in order to gain clarity.
And now purpose:
Purpose is something that we start off with in starting a business but sadly it is something that often leaves us as time wears on. If you feel yourself lacking in purpose, ask yourself, what is the driving force that is propelling you and your business forward? What is your passion? Why do you care? This passion, once defined, is a highly valuable marketing asset and is crucial in developing a strong and significant marketing strategy. A blog is a great way to get this passion across to your buyer personas, but it is by no means the only way. Once your purpose is outlined and it is strong in your mind you can let your business and your marketing strategy take shape around that purpose. So what has purpose got to do with a far-reaching marketing strategy? It has EVERYTHING to do with it - it’s the brain which controls the body of your business. In this day and age you may only have 10 seconds to engage and attract a potential customer. If your brand voice, purpose and strategy are strong and passionate, then each of those 10 seconds will count. Your purpose is what drives you towards your goals. In other words, your purpose is your motivation.
And finally, strategy:
Now this is where things start to get really exciting. This is also the part that can put some people off as it has a tendency to get quite technical. I’m here to let you know that there is no reason to be afraid. Strategy is your friend and if you are good to it then it will reward you in kind. Clarity also plays a role in this stage. Your goals, for example “I want X amount of new leads with an 80% conversion rate” inform your strategy.
Once your goal is outlined, your strategy is the force that will propel you towards it; in conjunction with purpose of course. Decide which actions you will take and detail each one with assigned end dates. Do not let yourself wander from this path because then the strategy starts to unravel itself and your marketing plan will fall to pieces. Your purpose can keep you on the right track, so make sure to always keep it in mind. If this is your first marketing strategy, the best way to approach this is to confine yourself to a 3 month period. This allows your plan ample time to mature and to deliver to you exactly what you are asking from it. That being said, if your data is showing one thing to work over another, explore your success further. What is very important is to make sure that your team are aware of this plan. Make sure everybody shares a goal
Here are some top tips for creating a strong and coherent marketing strategy -
- Make sure you have the right technology and the right software in place. This will ensure that you are fully prepared for the present as well as the future.
- Be ready to analyse your successes and your failures. This way, you can learn what works for you and what doesn't; adapting your business model and/or marketing strategy accordingly.
- Engage your audience by utilising content. Your readers, and your prospective customers, will only be able to engage with your content, and therefore your business, if it is educational, entertaining, or a mixture of the two. Always bare this in mind when posting content.
- This one is a little self explanatory, but no less useful for it! Build a marketing plan; build it from the bottom up. Make sure it is tailored to your business and to your skillset. Strategies should be bespoke.
- Be active on social media. You MUST prepare a strong and engaging social content strategy that works in conjunction with your overarching marketing strategy. This will set the stage for your success.
- Be ready to ATTRACT, CONVERT, CLOSE and then DELIGHT.
I hope that this article has proven to you just how vital clarity, purpose and strategy are in building yourself a successful marketing plan. In addition to this I hope it is also clear that clarity, purpose and strategy are vital components of continued and consistent personal development. When you combine a marketing strategy with clarity, purpose and strategy all the while allowing the three forces to drive your self-development, there is nothing that you can’t succeed in. If you would like to learn more about creating a brilliant marketing strategy then we would suggest that you attend our seminar on the 27th of January at our offices on knowledge gateway, the seminar is entitled "Strategy Workshop: Building Your 2017 Marketing Plan" . We would love to see you there! Until next time.