Strategic Marketing Is Like Planning a Vacation

Strategic marketing is like planning a vacation and begins by creating a marketing strategy.   This may sound simple, but like most things creating a marketing strategy is easier said than done!

Chasing marketing tactics without a marketing strategy in place is a waste of time and effort!  Part of Focus to Plan Your Business is creating a marketing strategy.

There’s a huge difference between a marketing strategy and a marketing tactic!

Creating a marketing strategy is as simple as setting a marketing goal and determining how you’re going to achieve it.  Knowing what you’re selling and who you’re selling it to is a great place to start!

Once you know what it is you’re selling, the next step is to define who wants or needs what you’re selling.  The act of marketing is really just about letting people know about the products and services you offer.  The way you let others know about what you’ve got to offer are  the marketing tactics you’ll use to achieve your marketing strategy!

Here’s a word picture to help you “wrap your brain” around the whole marketing strategy vs marketing tactic discussion.

Let’s say you’re living in New York City.  It’s October, and the weather is getting cold and you start thinking, “You know – I could use some sun and fun.  I want to go to Miami!”

The first step of creating your marketing strategy is deciding where you are and where you want to ultimately be.   In this case, its as simple as you’re in NYC and you want to get to Miami.

Creating a marketing strategy CAN be just that easy.  However, creating a marketing strategy gets VERY difficult if you don’t know where you are (NYC) or where you want to go (Miami).

Notice how more more difficult planning your vacation becomes when you change the scenario above to read, “I live where it’s cold and I want to go somewhere that’s warm!”

A critical element to crafting a marketing strategy involves defining the SPECIFICS!!!!  “I’m cold and I wanna get warm” can mean you live in Alaska and want to travel to Africa as easily as it can mean you live in NYC and I wanna go to Miami.

Once you know where you are and where you want to be,  you then need to decide HOW you’re going to get there.

So the first step to creating a marketing strategy is to define where you are and where you want to go.   This is the essential first step and it’s the biggest obstacle you may have to overcome to find business success.

In my work with clients, this is the place where most people get bogged down in trying to market and promote their business.

Stay tuned – there’s a LOT more to be said about creating a marketing strategy!

How “Regular” People Use the Web

Frank Gilroy has a GREAT post on his observations on “6 Things Regular People Aren’t Doing on the Internet.”

He also covers some I haven’t harped upon like “buying big ticket items sight unseen” and “telecommuting” but first and foremost on his list is this: “regular” people aren’t subscribing to RSS feeds.

It’s a common question for tech teachers such as Dave Taylor and despite a WEALTH OF posts and pages on how to subscribe,  according to SlashDot… as of January 2007, only 12% of internet users knew what RSS was and even fewer, 4% used it knowingly.

Most of my clients aren’t creating web sites directed at the tech savvy 4-12%….  instead, they’re focusing on reaching “regular” people…. which is why I recommend that ALL of my clients treat RSS in the same manner  that they treat the search engines.

Treat RSS as if it doesn’t exist.  Any RSS subscribers to your blog are “gravy”.  The real value is in your email newsletter.  The level of trust required to subscribe to your RSS feed is minimal (see Trust is Not Transitive) so even if regular people WERE using RSS to subscribe, it’s still a good idea to have an email newsletter in addition to your RSS feed from your blog.

If your customers are “regular people” you’ve got to meet them where they live.  Regular people may not understand RSS but they do understand email and that’s where your email newsletter comes in handy!