Do you have some clear marketing tactics for the next 90 days? If not, why not? The chances are if you don’t know what they are, then nothing will happen. In effect, you won’t be doing anything to proactively market your business. The net result of this is that you are unlikely to show any signs of growth (and may even show early signs of sales decline).
Marketing is a discipline that many business owners struggle to understand, which is not helped by the plethora of marketing suppliers who offer a range of different services.
However, I want to break this down really simply….
Stage 1 – Marketing Strategy
This is the strategic role that marketing is playing in helping the business achieve its overarching objectives. With the marketing strategy should clearly define your offering, your target markets, your positioning, distribution channels, your processes, your messaging and your mission, vision and values.
Stage 2 – Marketing Plan
This is the marketing plan for the year, informed by the marketing strategy, outlining which marketing channels are to be used and create plan of activities and campaigns mapped out across the next 12 months.
Stage 3 – Marketing tactics
These are the individual elements which need to happen, in order for the marketing plan to be executed successfully within the timescales required.
Is a marketing strategy essential to inform marketing tactics?
Now it can be argued that tactical marketing activity can occur without a marketing plan or strategy. This is true. However to be undertaking marketing tactics which are not based upon any sound rationale or planning is like playing darts in complete darkness. By this I mean you know the general direction the dartboard is in, but it is very difficult to hit the board, let alone the number you are aiming at!
In this situation you have three options. Firstly, you can carry on as you are, happily throwing darts in the dark and not even knowing whether you are hitting the board. Secondly, you can keep throwing darts in the dark but start cursing about how you can’t see anything and eventually give up. Or thirdly, you can turn the light on!
So many businesses are carrying out marketing tactics with the light off!
Sun Tzu once said “Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory. Tactics without strategy is the noise before the defeat.”
What this means is that it is crucial to join the dots between the strategy, the plan and the tactical execution. So even if the light is on, unless you are actually throwing the darts, you are not going to score anything.
Enough with analogies. Put simply, if you don’t have a plan of tactical activity for the next 90 days then your business is danger of going sterile.
The marketing tactics 90-Day Plan
So why 90 days? The reason is that 90 days is short enough that you don’t lose focus over what needs doing immediately, but long enough that you can make significant progress towards larger goals.
There are two key elements to marketing which I refer to as “push” marketing and “pull” marketing. Push marketing is around getting your message pushed to the correct target audience at the optimum time. You know they fit your profile of customer and you know your product or service can be of benefit to them.
Pull marketing, on the other hand, is need driven. This is all about being found when the customer need is there. They are actively looking for your products or services and look for someone to fill that requirement.
The best marketing plans have a balance of both activities.
Pull marketing involves having set up correctly to take advantage of any opportunity that may arise. Like a fisherman, you select your spot where you think the conditions will lend themselves to a higher volume of fish, you carefully select the right bait, and you cast your line in the area that holds most opportunity and you wait. If successful, you will repeat the process. If not, you may move along the riverbank to a different spot, try a different bait, or you may even move to a different river.
The point is, is that once you know you are in the best spot with the best bait, you patiently wait for the fish to take the bait. After all if the fish isn’t hungry, they are not going to bite (if there isn’t a need). With pull marketing there is a lot of test and measuring involved, but once you know your system works, you can leave it running.
Why Push Marketing is important
So if you don’t have any marketing tactics for the next 90 days, you may well be relying on your pull marketing. The problem with this is that it doesn’t really fluctuate greatly if you are not changing anything (though you can improve things).
Push marketing on the other hand is where you are pushing communications out to the right people, at the right time, in the right place, with the right messaging. This is where you can proactively influence the number of leads that are driven through the business. Again, you need to test and measure to ensure that any campaign maximises performance, but you have far greater control. There is far more effort on your part, you are not sitting back and waiting for a bite – you are physically dragging a net along the water.
Final thoughts on marketing tactics.
So, analyse what you are currently doing and consider whether it is time to start a little push marketing again and creating a plan of tactical marketing actions. Many of us have been guilty of hitting the pause button indefinitely, as a knee-jerk reaction to the circumstances surrounding us. However, unless we start to proactively market our businesses again, it is only going to head in one direction.
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