The Top 5 Marketing Strategy Best Practices
- The goal of the marketing strategy is to identify the best customer and market growth opportunities and then engineer processes and methods to maximize customer engagement and company revenues.
- Most company executives are not satisfied with their marketing strategies. Marketing strategy best practices can help.
- Marketing strategy best practices share lessons that save time, reduce risk and improve results. They show what actions deliver results and which don't. They help prioritize what to do and can be equally helpful in determining what not to do.
Best Practices in Marketing Strategy
There is no one way to create an effective strategy. But there are marketing strategy best practices that share valuable lessons of what works, what doesn't and how to maximize your results. Here are five of those lessons.
Start with a Design Framework
Strategic planning is at the core of most companies. But while company executives have mature frameworks and ample bodies of knowledge to develop their business strategies, many marketers are without similar experience or methods to develop effective strategies.
Research findings published in the Marketing Transformation Report shared that 29 percent of marketers do not create an annual strategy and an additional 25 percent develop ineffective strategies that fail to deliver financial benefits. Both groups would benefit from a proven design framework.
There are several marketing strategies that can be applied. One is a Johnny Grow framework. It is a simple but effective 3 step model. It shows how to align with the company's business or growth strategy and how to cascade marketing's contribution into a Go-to-Market Plan.
Solve for the Customer
The research also found that the least effective marketing strategies were most often designed by product line and then by geography and channel. While these variables are important, they were different from the Best-In-Class marketers (i.e., the top 15 percent) who designed strategies first by customer type (customer segment or persona) and then by subsequent channels. For the Best-In-Class marketers, customer-centricity, not product focus, delivered the most compelling revenue growth.
Shifting from an inside-out to an outside-in focus enables marketers to empathize with customers, map customer journeys, identify the most important customer problems and solve for the customer.
Figuring out how to solve customer problems instead of how to position or promote products will drive far greater success.
Be Strategic, Be Bold
The research found that the marketing strategies for most Laggards and Medians were largely a continuation of the status quo. They were designed to achieve incremental improvements within the context of business as usual.
That was a big contrast to the Best-in-Class leaders whose strategies were frequently built on bold ideas designed to achieve linear or exponential results.
The Best-in-Class applied forward thinking growth techniques such as white space analysis. They often bypassed techniques that delivered incremental results in favor of methods that drive marketing transformation.
That may include things like how to shift from a product-centric to a customer-centric culture. It may include efforts such as launching new groundbreaking solutions, producing new revenue streams, expanding with new distribution channels or acquiring more market share with alliances or partnerships.
For this group, their strategies included things like company and product innovation, market or industry disruption, digital transformation, and customer experience (CX) programs.
Apply a Relentless Focus
Putting out fires is the norm, especially for growth companies.
Competing priorities will continuously challenge management's ability to stay the course.
Pressure to make compromises, relax policies, introduce tradeoffs, or postpone goals is ever present.
That's why a best practice is to make your strategy your North star, relentlessly track progress and be alerted of deviations in real-time.
For this to work, the strategy must clearly show the actions that directly drive forecasted results and recognize that anything else is a distraction.
Revenue Engineering can help. It depicts the company's revenue progression in a Lead-to-Revenue sales funnel and can be used to make revenue generation deterministic.
An alternative tool we use with clients is the Predictive Pyramid. It be integrated with marketing systems to extract data and highlight activities that do not contribute to the most important goals and thereby need to be reviewed or eliminated.
Only with this level of specificity can marketers separate the important from the urgent and not confuse activity with progress.
With strategic prioritization and specificity, management is better able to maintain focus, apply discipline, clearly communicate what needs to get done and what needs to be avoided.
Measure What Most Matters
Strategies set the vision and create a roadmap. But rigorous measurement of the right key performance indicators (KPIs) direct the path to success and the achievement of results.
You get what you inspect, not what you expect. That's why dashboards are needed to bring real-time visibility to the top goals, such as ROMI and marketing sourced revenue contribution. As important, dashboards must surface and escalate performance variances to the right people at the right time.
Defining the right lagging and leading indicators to track success and prompt corrective action when needed is a critical best practice for ensuring successful execution.