Maybe you’ve been there…diving into marketing action and tactics without clarifying your strategy, and finding it results in a scattergun approach. You hit some of your targets, but you waste a lot of your limited resources (generally time & money) doing it. On the flip side, endless rounds of strategic navel-gazing won’t achieve your objectives either, unless you take action. So how do you get the balance between strategy and action right for your brand?
When faced with challenging business situations there is a tendency to jump straight into tactical fire-fighting. But, while you do need to take action, you’ll achieve a better outcome if you approach it as Einstein would.
Always start with strategy rather than solutions
Strategy shouldn’t be a boring, labourious, and navel-gazing exercise though. Effective strategy is all about making choices that give you clarity and enable you to take action.
The questions below can be applied to any brand, large or small, to provide clarity and enable you to take effective action.
Who is your target consumer?
Are you 100% clear on who your consumer target is? As you want your brand to grow, there is a tendency to cast your consumer target net ever wider, or pick off multiple niches or segments that you’d like to serve. But this can lead to a lack focus and stretches your limited resources too far. So don’t do it.
Get really focused on identifying your niche audience. Once you think you’ve nailed the market you operate in and the consumers you serve, challenge yourself to tighten it up further. In fact, tighten it until you reach a point of questioning if there are enough consumers to build the scale of brand you’d like and you’re probably in the right area.
What are their needs?
How well do you understand the needs of your consumers? The deeper and more specific your understanding the better. If you’re not sure of their wants and needs, go ask them – whether formal research or simply having a chat with them in-store…do whatever’s right for your brand. But ask them and understand what it’s like to stand in their shoes. What are their problems? What are their real issues, do they care about what you have to offer, how could you make your brand more appealing for them?
How can you deliver distinctive value for them?
With clarity of your consumer target and having got to know them really well, the key to growth is in meeting their needs in a way that delivers real value for them and is distinctive. Your distinction could be what you do, how you do it or both. But it’s vital to be distinctive. After all, if you look and act the same as all the other brands in a category, why should a consumer pick you?
With clarity of your consumer target, their needs and the distinct value you provide for them, now you can get to the fun bit. Making it happen.
TAKING ACTION is vital
I’ve seen too many businesses go through endless rounds of strategising, planning, revising budgets etc. Always getting ready, possibly even aiming, but not firing. Firing can be scary, it’s neck on the line time…but it’s only by taking action that you get to see a result. It may be what you expected, it may be unexpected, but you’ve taken action and now you know more about what works and doesn’t. This learning is vital as it enables you to build on the successes and learn from the failures.
This approach sounds so simple, I almost didn’t write this post.
But could refining the balance of strategy and action help you drive growth? With limited resources, clarity of how and where you invest your time and money can make the difference between doing alright and supercharging your growth.
Has your business made significant strides in the past three months? Or are you busy planning but not executing? Or taking action, but not sure what is working and what isn’t?