Marketing diagnostics 101: Thinking though your strategy

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Say you are starting from scratch. You may have been in business for some time, but you haven’t really thought about marketing, or perhaps you are aware your marketing isn’t quite right but are not sure where to go next.

How do you get started?

You might seek some consulting advice. The challenge here is that various consultants arrive in the business through their own perspectives and backgrounds — and they will recommend a framework for you based on their biases and experiences. This advice, even if somewhat clouded, most likely will be more rewarding than doing nothing, however.

These points came clear to me recently when I spent some time with an industry supplier with some significant marketing challenges.

I set out to uncover?the problem by first learning about his business, clients, contractual relationships, limitations and opportunities.

He described some unique characteristics of his business and his competition. He mentioned his marketing is primarily some AdWords advertising, at a few hundred dollars a month, plus some relevant association/conference involvement. Good.

Has he been tracking his advertising and his conversion rates? ?No. ?Has he determined the source of his business and from where it arises. No.

The first project, I said, then is to establish your benchmarks and current data. ?Spend a while to figure out the business you are receiving now — how is it arriving and where it comes from. We need this information to plan further strategies.

I also advised him to take immediate measures to modernize his 10-year-old website, that hasn’t been significantly updated. (He operates a technology-related business, so there is no excuse for the public face of his business to be at current standards. At least, while he is behind the times, one of the major industry associations working with one of his competitors is even more backwards. Saved, it seems, by the competition here.)

With this?information, we could set out a strategy. If he wants to move forward, the website could be rebuilt within a month (or even a few weeks). While this is happening, after he gathers his benchmark data, we could begin planning the strategy going forward. I told him I expect it would involve:

  • Enhancing the existing alliance and managing it to achieve more powerful results;
  • Leveraging the existing alliance to new/different alliances to expand the market scope;
  • Introducing/adapting new products and offers to existing clients through ongoing communications strategies; and finally
  • Consider some advertising, such as targeted relevant AdWords. (I told him to review the results he is currently receiving from his AdWords, and if it is “working”,then continue while we review our plans.)

A simple strategy, one I would apply for other consulting clients. We keep the overhead/costs to the minimum, focus on data, and emphasize?replicable, effective relationship-building and maintenance?strategies.

If you would like a quick-and-fee-free?30 minute go-through conversation with me, please email or you can connect through the contact form here. (Note I may need some time to provide the free consultation service because, well, I’m getting very busy.)


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