It’s important to be able to think on your feet in business and often we have to make quick decisions that are led only by our gut. But this should never be the case when you’re developing your marketing strategy. If you want to be successful then you have to take a step back and be objective.
If you are in the process of developing marketing strategy for your business then make sure you’ve completed a marketing audit. This is the task of researching your market and looking within your business to analyse sales and processes. By taking a good look at what is currently happening, it often easily reveals the areas that need the work.
You may feel like you know your business inside and out, and you’ve worked in the industry for years. But in such a fast paced world, unless you’re constantly reviewing what’s going on around you, it’s impossible to keep up. I have produced numerous marketing audits for clients and every single time, without any exception, there have been surprises in the results.
Standing back and analysing trends can be very powerful. You may be surprised to learn that the biggest chunk of your sales happens in the same month every year, but you hadn’t ever realised it. You may find that your current lead process has a great big hole in it and you haven’t been getting all the leads you could have. You may find that many of your competitors have completely changed their direction or have started to write a blog or host events. You might have seen this in passing in a trade magazine or online, but by taking the time to evaluate everything properly is the only time you’ll be able to start acting on it.
It may sound cheesy, but knowledge is power. Even if you don’t have the time or resource to complete a really thorough audit, at least take the time to evaluate some of the following areas:
- What is happening in your industry? What are the trends and predictions for the coming year?
- Who is your ideal customer and how have you been targeting them to date? How successful has that been?
- Who are your competitors and what they have been up to?
- What are the biggest threats to you and do you need to worry about these at the moment?
- What have your sales been over the past few years and are there any trends that you could gain power from?
- What does your product roadmap look like? Do you even have a product roadmap?
- What are your business objectives and how is your marketing helping you to achieve these?
- Don’t forget about your Marketing 7Ps:
- Product – what do you sell?
- Price – how are you priced in the market?
- Place – where do you sell?
- Promotion – how do you promote yourself?
- People – what is your company culture?
- Physical Evidence – websites, brochures? What else is out there that details who you are?
- Process – how do you work with clients – prospective and current?
You may glance at this and think you know all the answers. But when you actually start to think about the detail, things always appear that take you by surprise. Maybe just a small shift in how you speak to customers or where you promote your website could make all the difference. Sometimes it’s the small steps that have the greatest impact not the big leaps.
If you’re ever looking for help with your marketing strategy, at Lindsay Woodward Marketing we have vast experience in helping businesses in many different industries. We’ll work with you to put together an audit and plan that is tailored to your resource, taking time, budget and staff into account. It’s about knowing your business and working in a smart way. That’s the only way to succeed.