Swish, gargle, rinse, repeat. That’s a familiar process.
Our whole lives are filled with routine familiar processes. Commuting to and from work is a process. Preparing dinner is a process. And so is washing the dishes after dinner. Going out to eat is a process we use to avoid the process of washing dishes.
The routine processes in our lives exist because they are proven patterns of behavior that efficiently accomplish our goals. In business, a documented process that allows you to efficiently deliver a consistent customer experience is the key to success and profitability.
Business is Business; Plans are Plans
It does not matter what type of business you are in. It could be cars, cookies, clothing, or crop dusting. The only way to recreate the quality your customers expect is through exact duplication of your original successful offering. To do that, you use an engineered blueprint, a measured recipe, an approved pattern (stitching or flight), or some other documented plan.
Successful marketing is no different than any other product or service. It requires a documented process that needs to be implemented, analyzed, adjusted, and repeated.
Build 4 Pillars for Strong Marketing Foundation
The solid foundation of a successful strategic marketing process is built on four solid pillars: (1) your vision, (2) your unique selling proposition, (3) your targeted prospects, and (4) your understanding of the buyer’s journey.
Your vision should begin with the end in mind. If you achieve your business goals, what will the result look like? Will it be a certain amount of revenue or a particular profit margin? A targeted number of customers or employees? A distribution network in 15 key states?
Defining your vision for how your business should grow will help it head in the right direction and keep it on its charted course. Being in business is a numbers game, so create a formula for success that converts into a simple math equation.
The factors in the equation of your strategic marketing process include your prospects’ demographics, likelihood of buying, average sale, and lifetime value. These elements are calculated and analyzed to determine a realistic expectation for growth you should have for an upcoming month, quarter, or year. You can transport your sales expectation into your plans for other types of growth, such as the number of new employees it might take to meet an expected level of demand.
2. Unique Selling Proposition
Your unique selling proposition (USP) is at the “sweet spot” intersection of the problems you love to solve, the problems you solve well, and the problems that are most profitable.
When determining your sweet spot, keep in mind the well-known concept that people are willing to pay to solve problems that involve money, time, health, and safety.
To help you find your marketing sweet spot, you can use the What Problems Do You Solve? worksheet when you download 4 Pillars to a Successful Strategic Marketing Plan.
3. Target Prospect
Is your target prospect a hungry teenage? A bride-to-be in her 30s? A home owner in his 40s? You can’t be all things to all people, but you can be the best thing to a select group of people. Be the best hamburger joint. Be the best wedding dress maker. Be the best plumber. Don’t try to cook me a burger and fix my pipes while modeling a wedding gown.
To make sure you are speaking to the right prospects, in a language that will resonate, you should create a primary persona of your targeted customers. The process for creating a persona includes documenting “facts” about a fictitious character who represents your target audience. Those “facts” can include your persona’s name, background, socio-economic demographics, unique identifiers, common objections, what they think about, how they feel, where they go, and their sources of information.
We recently covered this ground in more detail: 3 Steps to Determining Your Ideal Customer Profile
To help identify the problems you can solve for your prime target group, you can use the Target Persona Exercise worksheet when you download 4 Pillars to a Successful Strategic Marketing Plan.
4. Understanding the Buyer’s Journey
Timing is everything. Engage your targeted customers with a message that’s appropriate for where they are in the journey of their personal buying process. Are they (1) just becoming aware a problem exists? Are they (2) addressing an issue early or do they (3) have a sense of urgency to fix a problem? Each phase of the buying process journey needs a different message.
Three other phases remain in a typical buyer’s purchase process:
(4) “Do I have money available?” Check.
(5) “Have I evaluated other options?” Check.
(6) “Have I resolved all possible issues and risks?” Check. “Let’s do business.”
If your message is timely throughout the buyer’s process, you can guide each step on the path of each buyer’s personal journey.
To help you chart Buyer Questions, Seller Comments and available Marketing Tools for each of the six phases of the buying process, you can use the Buyer’s Process worksheet when you download 4 Pillars to a Successful Strategic Marketing Plan.
Strategic Marketing Process Worksheets
If you have not documented your strategic marketing process, the worksheets in our free download, 4 Pillars to a Successful Strategic Marketing Plan, provide convenient templates to help you get started.