Do you have a marketing strategy? Most people don’t. Small business owners generally skip that step, leaving the strategic work to big-name corporations. Then one day they look around and go “Is this all there is?”
When that happens, it’s easy to get sucked into throwing ideas at a wall and seeing what sticks. The trouble is, the “something will work” strategy is the only thing guaranteed not to work. (Or at least, not before you waste a lot of time, effort and money.) Still, many business owners keep bouncing around without a marketing strategy, not doing as well as they could, because they believe one or more of The Big Dumb Marketing Strategy Myths.
Myth #1: Marketing strategies are just fluff with no practical next steps.
This myth is understandable because a lot of strategies we’ve seen are fluff. You’ve probably worked for a place where the strategy came down from on high, Ten Commandments style, and splattered you with a lot of buzzwords before disappearing into the void. But that’s not the way things are supposed to be.
It’s infuriating, because how are you supposed to do something about “Our Company shalt synergize with those that doth align twixt the Company Values.” You can’t. It’s nonsense.
A marketing strategy in the true sense of creating direction has both guiding principles and a set of practical next steps. The purpose of a marketing strategy is to solve the problem of what to do with your marketing. If it doesn’t do that, it’s not a strategy.
Myth #2: A good salesperson is all you need to grow your business.
Salespeople are fantastic. How can you argue with someone who nabs business for you? It seems like a sweet deal because it is.
Perhaps, though, you’ve had the oh-so-fun experience of getting debriefed by the salesperson, walking confidently into your first client meeting, and finding out the client is on a totally different page. I once walked into a meeting expecting to talk about marketing planning, and left tasked with creating a print package. It included a bunch of brochures based on what the employees at the company thought was important, not what customers wanted to see. My questions about whether this was a good idea did not go over well. They didn’t see me as an advisor, they just wanted their brochures (and speed it up, will you??)
If you don’t know who your key client is, or your key value, or how to communicate your value, you can’t expect your salesperson to pull it out of thin air. You’ll end up with a high percentage of bad fit clients who don’t appreciate what you do and take a lot of energy to keep.
Myth #3: My niche is too specific for marketing strategy to work.
Maybe you’ve seen one of those job ads asking for 10 years of experience working in a specific industry, only to scroll further and realize the main duties are filing and data entry. These employers are convinced their industry is so special you couldn’t possibly apply experience from any other realm. “Filing papers is different here!” their ads insist.
Besides not being any fun at parties, people who insist they are business unicorns are just wrong. The principles of marketing work whether you sell toilet paper or engineer aeronautics equipment. There’s no magical niche so unique that good marketing doesn’t apply.
Myth #4: I don’t have time to do a marketing strategy.
Look, you’re the boss of your life. I just don’t believe you. The model I use takes about 12 hours of actual time, spaced out in tiny pieces over 30 days. Need more than 30 days? Take it. Who cares? You make the rules.
So if you’re thinking you need to spend hours a day in meetings, having Big Thoughts or brainstorming, you don’t. You can do your own marketing strategy in less time than it takes to binge-watch a season of Game of Thrones.
So what are you waiting for?
Now that you know the marketing strategy myths that were deviously holding you back, it’s time to kick your marketing into gear. I’ve created a FREE, detailed cheat sheet on the 4 Keys to Unlock a Winning Marketing Strategy to help you get started.
I made this cheat sheet because I’ve had the feeling of staring at the screen, willing a marketing strategy to appear. I don’t want you to get hung up on where to start and quit because you’re frustrated. So I’ve laid out the four key elements you need to set your marketing strategy on the perfect path for your business. Once you’ve got a handle on these, the rest of your plan takes shapes SO much more easily.