It’s hard to read about anything marketing and escape without reading about a wealth of new marketing ideas – social strategy, marketing automation tactics, content marketing, inbound strategy. Facebook, Big Data, Pay-Per-Click. The list goes on. The constant influx of new technologies and channels can have many executives and directors saying, “We Need To Do _____.”

Except…many times companies don’t, or at least not yet.

Resist the urge to “do something” just because you are bombarded with the message. Be certain you understand the ultimate goal for this new undertaking, how the strategy will work, and how the objective and tactics will work – in that order.

Don’t Buy Generic – Be Specific With A Strategy’s Goals

Ask this simple question, and refuse generic answers: What’s the goal with our ____ strategy?

  • What is the goal with my marketing automation strategy?
  • What is the goal with my Facebook strategy?
  • What is the goal with my blogging strategy?

Each of these questions can have vastly different answers from company to company, and it’s important to understand why you are considering this strategy to begin with. Will it have measurable benefits to the company, or is it used to sound up to date for an executive briefing?

Understand What A Successful Strategy Looks Like

Learning about a strategy’s success – and why it was successful for an organization – can give insight into that strategy’s effectiveness and if it is repeatable for your organization.

  • Read about successful campaigns and rollouts from other companies (and not just from a vendor’s marketing).
  • Look at industry blogs and magazines to see how others are using this strategy, and what they have learned from it.
  • Ask mentors or networked colleagues to see if they have relevant experience, tips, or horror stories.

Understand The Obligations Of Success

New strategies take time to launch, and can take a toll on a marketing department unless they are properly understood, staffed, and funded.

  • A social media strategy is useless if it is out of date, out of touch, or doesn’t engage with customers or followers.
  • A content marketing strategy needs constant grooming – brainstorming, creation, curation, and review of content performance.
  • A marketing automation strategy can become a high-powered machine which needs regular maintenance of content, campaigns, scoring, and testing – if you fail to maintain the machine, it can grind to a halt.

All of these examples can derail a marketing team that isn’t prepared to support the strategy. Understanding the time and obligations of the strategy is critical.

Understand How You Will Measure Success

When the strategy is fully engaged, how will your success be measured?

  • Is it in a reduction of sales cycle via marketing automation processes?
  • Is it in an increase of site traffic and positive social media?
  • Is it in an increase in content shares and exposure from media and bloggers?

Knowing what to measure is critical to determine if your strategy is performing.

Marketing Doesn’t Have To Be Complex

Marketing has always had one goal – get your message in front of your customer. At best, it’s a one-to-one conversation. At worst, it’s blasting your message and praying that someone notices. Embracing new marketing technology can yield wonderful benefits and certainly move the needle for many companies. Clarity in customer data, marketing channel performance, and overall customer satisfaction are important to know.

However, new strategies and technologies are not merely plug and play – most require deep thought and planning, instead of opting to roll out the shiny new technology and figure it out along the way.

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