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As I was driving to visit a client the other day, whose office feels like it’s in another state, I flipped through the AM dial and stumbled across a very interesting radio spot. The advertisement was for a marketing program for a particular industry. What caught my attention was the advertisement’s repeated use of the term “Plug-n-Play” and “Turn Key Solution”.

It’s as if they want you to think it’s as simple as depositing $10,000 into their “Proprietary Software” and a few months later see $500 deposits occurring every other week. If only it was this easy! Don’t they know that every business is unique and there is no “one size fits all solution”? Just because a great marketing campaign worked for a particular client in Miami, FL, doesn’t mean it will work in Rockford, IL.

The difference between the “Plug-n-Play” strategy and a “Winning Marketing Strategy” is this: playing sounds expensive and doesn’t equate to Winning or ROI. If you’re a business owner, you probably want to do more than play, right? You want to win!

I’m going to explain the steps in reverse order, because you should start with the end in mind. Here are the steps:

Step 6: Win

I must admit that this is my favorite step. Before you begin any marketing campaign, you need to determine: What does winning mean to you? What is your expected outcome? Are you hoping to simply get more Facebook likes or Twitter followers? How do you plan to monetize the marketing efforts and ultimately calculate an ROI? These are critical topics to think through before launching into any marketing campaign.

 Step 5: Repeat

Ask any marketing professional, social media expert, or advertising junkie, if you can expect to win with just one ad. The answer is, No. You need to repeat your process for a while to experience substantial results. It takes time to build a brand. That’s not to say you won’t get lucky and have some success initially. If you repeat your marketing efforts over and over again, you will eventually get reliable results. You’ll know what to expect, how much to invest, and where to allocate your funds.

Step 4: Adjust

I’m not sure why this step is often forgotten. If you’re not paying attention to the metrics of your campaign and adjusting along the way, you will never know the full potential of a particular campaign. You can adjust your messaging, your colors, your frequency, even your platform. A lot of our clients have found their particular magic formula for marketing by adjusting the timing, location, and frequency of their message to match the buying tendencies of their target market.

Keep this in mind: If you are still doing business today, like you did yesterday, you may not be doing business tomorrow.

Step 3: Measure

One of my favorite sayings is, “Why bother doing something if you aren’t going to measure it?” This especially holds true in marketing. You need to know how you’re going to measure your campaign’s effectiveness. If a leading indicator is clicks or likes, then a lagging indicator should be transactions, revenue, and profits. There are a number of different ways to measure a campaign, but the key to measuring is adjusting in response to the data.

Step 2: Execute

Execution that is marketing your brand or company is the most essential part of the Winning Marketing Strategy. If the plan calls for posting to Facebook and Twitter every day, you need to make sure this happens. Follow through! There are countless software options available to make this process simple and automated. What we’ve seen happen to some businesses is they get so busy with their business that they forget to do marketing. Then they ramp back up their marketing efforts and get so many leads, they forget to do marketing again. The key here is stick to the plan!

Step 1: Plan

Planning out a marketing campaign can seem time consuming or frustrating if you haven’t started with the end in mind. The planning step should include delegation of specific roles, thinking about the target market you hope to make connections with, which platform(s) will be used and when, what budget is going to be used to accomplish the campaign, and how realistic the timeframe is from the outlay of cash and time to the expected return on investment. The number one thing to do when planning a winning marketing campaign is to determine what the end result or goal is.

Planning comes before winning. Planning alone doesn’t equal winning though. It takes these 6 steps to create a winning marketing strategy. I want to leave you with this key point: Don’t be fooled by “Plug-n-Play” advertisements or “Turn Key Solutions”, because every winning marketing strategy needs these 6 steps. Miss just one and the whole program won’t work. The IA Business Advisors team doesn’t offer “Plug-n-Play” solutions. We know every business is unique and we want you to win!

© Individual Advantages, LLC. 2016
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Mary Smith

Mary has been with IA Business Advisors for 6 years. She graduated with a bachelor's in English literature with a minor in psychology, and is currently working towards her master's in organizational leadership. She enjoys writing and produces blogs for IA and several of IA's clients. Her favorite aspect of writing is the research.

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