Why You Need A Marketing Strategy Phase
Most digital marketing fails to generate leads or yield measurable results.
Have you ever had a marketing effort flop? Here’s a simple trick to help you win at digital marketing: Invest in a marketing strategy phase. Strategy means you’ve got to think and train like an athlete. No proven winner enters a competition unprepared, out of shape, uninformed of the competition, or unaware of how to score. Why would you?
To win in digital marketing, don’t do what most people do.
In their excitement, marketing teams often begin “the work” with high hopes–bypassing things like creating a clear vision, understanding the audience buying process, or the history (and better still, the results) from previous campaigns. They want to produce something tangible. We totally understand. We also understand that some people feel like they have it all figured out, making a marketing strategy phase seem like a waste of time, resources, and budget.
In our years of experience, we’ve found that including a flexible strategy phase sets our clients up for success, and creates the ability to have measurable outcomes. That’s why every project we do includes a strategy phase, whether it’s for websites, apps, videos, or brand boosts.
Let’s look at what goes into a strategy phase and how it’s essential to the success of your project.
Unify the team
It’s wise to start by clearly understanding each client’s business, vision, and customer buying process. This is useful for both your agency partner and your internal teams, because they need a clear vision to unite them.
Start by huddling up and creating a plan for the project. Everyone, from your own internal team to your digital agency partner, should have an agreed-upon understanding of:
- Project goals
- The vision for the project
- Business mission and narrative
- Your client buying process
- Target audience analysis
- Creative, technical, and content requirements
- Team roles
- Project process
Once armed with this information, individuals can now head down convergent paths. With these details in mind, you eliminate hassles, rounds and rounds of revisions, and overblown budgets. You know how to gauge success, and you have rails to guide your work.
What does the strategy phase look like?
At USDP, our strategy phase focuses on clarifying the details above. That means we:
- Conduct a series of key stakeholder interviews and follow-up discussions, documenting the needs we come across, and recommending potential solutions for consideration.
- Collect and digest strategic plans or other materials that can help us understand client priorities (we often use the StoryBrand framework to do this).
- Learn about current or past marketing efforts, collect marketing data or materials, and receive brand assets such as logo graphics, design standards, etc.
- Analyze competitors in and out of your market and industry to understand what potential clients are being offered by other companies.
- Look for best practices and other valuable information to help us create a new website that stands out in the marketplace.
- Begin to collect all the ideas for website content, images, calls-to-action.
- Research and determine the appropriate pieces of technology needed to support the new website, which includes content management, plugins, APIs, email marketing, hosting, analytics and tracking, and so on.
Once information gathering, discerning, and analyzing occurs, we move on to craft a few key outputs of our strategy phase:
- Your StoryBrand BrandScript
- Brand narrative
- The website information hierarchy
- Technology plans
How long does a strategy phase take?
All of this sounds like a lot of work, and it is. But with USDP, it’s often two to three weeks. In a short period of time, we’ll arm you (and ourselves) with insights so your marketing is more successful.
What’s the cost of skipping the marketing strategy phase?
You’ll have no clear answer as to why you’re investing so much into the project–and that means no way to measure success. With no idea whether your digital marketing impacted your business, why invest in it in the first place?
You must give people good reasons to show up and take an interest in your work. That means you have to address people’s pain points–and explain how you can solve them. By not approaching your own digital marketing strategically, you’re just guessing. You’ll make poor decisions if you lack an understanding of your market or target.
Don’t feel bad. Companies large and small make poor strategic decisions everyday. It’s part of why most marketing fails, and it’s a huge waste of money.
We can help you make the most of your investment. We’re happy to help you think through the right next steps for your digital marketing, whether you need a new website, better search engine rankings, or are struggling to generate leads.
Contact us to start the discussion.