It’s a process: how to create and execute your marketing strategies
August 3rd, 2017
Your marketing strategies are your team’s manifesto. Your north star. Your playbook. OK, you get the idea. So how do you determine what your strategies should be? How do you make sure the work your team is doing aligns with your strategies? How do you measure their effectiveness? Whew… there’s a lot to think about.
Defining your strategies is the first step, and then you need to operationalize and execute them. Sounds easy, right? In theory, yes. But in reality, it’s not always that simple. Here are some best practices you can use to get from strategy to tactics to results.
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Step 1: Identify your overall goal and opportunities
While every marketing team uses different types of strategies—demand generation, digital, content, events, partnerships, etc.—having clearly defined and actionable strategies are a universal need. Before you start defining your strategies, though, there’s some prep that needs to happen:
- Define the vision for your team: What is the overarching goal of the team?
- Identify your market opportunities and core competencies: How and where can marketing make the biggest impact on the business?
- Consider the end-to-end customer journey: Where can you connect with customers at every stage of their journey? What do they care about at each stage?
The answers you come up with will help guide your strategy development and ensure you’re leveraging the right opportunities to achieve your main goal and connect with your customers.
Step 2: Create your marketing strategies
Now it’s time to start drafting your strategies. Make this a collaborative effort with your team—hold brainstorms, planning sessions, informal discussions, and encourage questions and feedback. It’s easier to get buy-in on strategies when you co-create them together.
Things to include when creating your marketing strategies
To ensure your strategies serve your business objectives and goals, make sure they take into account:
- Audience: Who are you targeting with this strategy? The more specific you can get, the better. Your audience should align with the group your business is targeting (prospects, current customers, etc.).
- Goals and objectives: What are you trying to achieve? Do you want to increase web traffic, acquire more users, drive revenue, or grow some other area of your business? This will help guide the programs and projects you prioritize for the strategy.
- Channels: How will you reach your target audience? You need to know where they spend their time, how they like to consume content, and how they like to be marketed to in order to effectively reach and influence them.
- Metrics: How will you measure the effectiveness of this strategy? Identify the numbers you need to hit to move the needle and achieve your business goals.
- Budget: There is always a cost when executing work. It can be in the form of money, resources, or time. Make sure to take all of this into account so you can accurately ensure the results are greater than the cost to achieve them.
- Timing: When do you want to hit specific metrics and achieve key results? Even if you’re running a quarterly or yearly strategy, it helps to define milestones so your team has a concrete timeline to work off of.
After your strategies are outlined, you need to determine the key metrics and results you plan to drive. During this phase, it’s also important to consider obstacles that could impact success and execution. Then, prioritize your strategies in order of impact and importance based on your team vision and company objectives.
Once your strategies are finalized, put them in a place that’s easily accessible and visible to everyone.
Once all of these details are finalized, put them in a place that’s easily accessible and visible to everyone. Don’t keep them hidden in a notes doc or presentation from your offsite in some obscure folder on your hard drive. Here at Asana we obviously like to keep our strategies in Asana :wink:.
Step 3: Break down strategies into tactics
Once your strategies are in a central place, assign a point person for each strategy. They’ll work with the appropriate teammates to plan the programs and projects that will help you hit your goals.
What makes a good program or project?
- Assign a single owner who will drive the work forward
- Give it a time-bound deadline with key milestones
- Outline clear, measurable results that feed the desired results for the strategy
List each program or project under the corresponding strategy so it’s clear how work ladders up. This helps everyone on the team have clarity on the reasoning and impact of the work they’re doing.
Step 4: Make your processes repeatable
Based on your strategies, are there programs, projects, and marketing campaigns your team will be doing on a regular basis? If so, standardizing these processes and turning them into templates will help your team execute effectively and efficiently every time, no matter who’s driving the work. It’s best to keep these templates in the same tool where you’re tracking your strategies and work so everything stays together.
There are a lot of benefits to standardizing workflows and creating templates, but here are our top five:
- Get right into execution: The workflow is already outlined for you so you can skip the time-consuming setup phase.
- Work is less likely to slip through the cracks: Since the process has already proved successful in the past, critical steps are less likely to be missed.
- More time to be creative: You have more time to spend on developing engaging campaigns that stand out since you’re not bogged down with setup and planning.
- Confidence in the process: No matter who is running the project, they’ll feel confident that they’re using the right process.
- Don’t make the same mistake twice: It’s easier to implement changes to the process based on new learnings that arise.
Step 5: Know where work stands… all the time
Once your team is in full execution mode, it can quickly become difficult to know where work stands for each strategy, especially if the work is being tracked in different places. Just like you’re tracking your strategies in a place that everyone can access, it’s important to carry that practice over to the work being done.
Constantly asking for status updates and progress reports is tedious, not to mention a time suck for everyone involved. By keeping key dates, milestones, and work in a central tool (such as Asana), you’ll have visibility into what people are working on, and you can check in on progress at any time—without nagging someone for an update. It’s a win-win for everyone.
By keeping key dates, milestones, and work in a central tool (such as Asana), you’ll have visibility into what people are working on.
It’s also important to make sure your team is prioritizing the right work. For example, every Monday morning each person on our marketing team shares their top priority for the week in a team conversation. This keeps everyone in the loop on the work happening across the team (especially leaders and stakeholders) without wasting anyone’s time in a status update meeting.
Ready, set, execute
Marketing strategies are the foundation of your work as a marketer. But the key to your team’s success (and the fun part!) is in the tactics you use to execute these strategies. Hopefully, you now have a better idea of how to operationalize your marketing strategies so you and your team can move from just that—strategies—to results.