Every company, no matter what the size, needs a marketing strategy. And what is true for most systems in your business, you will have one by design or by default. If you have been growing your business without someone driving your marketing strategy, know that you are still making marketing decisions every day. That’s why being intentional about your marketing strategy is so important; otherwise, your efforts will be disjointed at best and a hindrance at worst. But where do you start if you have never put a focus on this part of your business?
It starts with your business strategy. That's how I first started working with Provisions Group. The leadership team brought me in as a Sr. Strategic Advisor to help them develop and communicate the Provisions Group story in a more clear, more concise way. To walk them down this path, I began taking them through a 4 phase process.
The first phase was focused on gaining alignment among the leadership team of where the company was today and where the company was headed. Sometimes that is easier said than done. Often leadership teams think they are aligned, but each area may be 5% off. Over time that divide gets larger and larger. If you want to develop an effective marketing strategy, full alignment is essential. Otherwise, your marketing efforts will be pulled in too many different directions. Without focus, you will struggle to see results because your marketing is spread way too thin to have any measurable impact. This phase helped set priorities and direction of marketing.
From there, we moved on to Phase 2 and began working with the team on things like Company Positioning and Value Props. To develop these essential marketing elements, leaders throughout the company were interviewed to find out their perspectives. This is often where this process stops, and companies go off of what they think vs. what is actually true. Once you have this information, you must do two more critical things.
First, you need to look deeply at the competitive landscape to know who is out there and how they are positioning themselves. This step often allows you to quickly discover that what you think sets you apart is the same thing your competitors think sets them apart. And instead of setting you apart, it ends up making you sound like everyone else. Many times competitive research is just to see what others are doing, but this is to see how they are selling themselves.
The second is customer interviews. After determining Provisions’ ideal customer, current customers who fit that target were contacted and interviewed. The questions focused on understanding things like their pain points, their thoughts about Provisions Group, and what value the company brought them. Some of this feedback affirmed what leadership thought. Some of it shed light on things that actually did make the company different from other technology consulting firms. One thing that came out in every interview was how much Provisions Group cared about them. Not just as a customer and more than a partner, they felt like the company was an extension of the team.
Once internal, competitive, and customer research is complete, new positioning and value propositions were developed. The team also went through a Storybrand exercise that helped formalize this into a coherent story. This brand script then becomes the foundation of the marketing messaging and sales, advisory, and delivery services.
Phase 3 focuses on the Go-To-Market plan. Understanding where the company wants to go and how they are uniquely positioned to get there, the marketing team then focuses on how to get in front of their ideal customers. This is a mix of short-term and long terms strategies to enter the marketplace and develop your marketing technology stack. Determining what are the best technology for your business is pivotal to marketing success.
And finally, Phase 4 is validation testing. Once you have your plan and messaging, you must develop a solid testing strategy to determine what is working and what is not. This will help shape, challenge, and confirm the work you have done to this point. Never skip this step in the process.
The lines between marketing and technology have become less and less defined over the last ten years. Decisions that used to be driven solely by CIOs and CTOs are now driven in collaboration with or often led by CMOs. A strong marketing strategy that pairs with a solid technology strategy will set your business up for success. If you are interested in Provisions Group walking you through this 4 Phase process, click here to set up a call.