Stagnation is a disease for business. If you asked your staff would they tell you your business has a culture of change ready for the future? There is not doubt that many business can easily recognise a growth cycle that starts with an idea, quickly becomes growth and then absorbs the impact by settling. With a well managed business this cycle becomes a regular anticipated culture of change that brings with it fresh ideas, new staff and contributors and an understanding of slower periods in the business life.
What is the hidden danger in this cycle is when a business doesn’t keep a watch on the future and heed the call of the watchman. A good business knows that it needs to be shaken out of its settling period and if it doesn’t listen for the vibrations on the track it will soon be mowed down in the path of the locomotive of the future.
When it comes to your marketing and communications strategy that same cycle of change needs to be a part of your process. Here are three parts to the puzzle that you should develop in this area and if you are intentional with them you will be able to take this thinking throughout your business.
Marketing should always have a goal to change your business for the better. Often we think of improving sales through brand recognition but marketing can also improve the customer relationship or product experience. Any improvement has to start with a review. We need to find a benchmark that gives you a starting position against your past business performance and your industry. From this starting position, we can measure the results against your business goals.
Your marketing plan is designed to be a framework that can be adjusted as the business develops and meets market conditions. As customer patterns change and product lines are introduced your plan can be revised. Regular revision ensures fine-tuning to avoid drastic changes. Marketing strategy is like a game of chess. You don’t move all your pieces in one move and hope that wins the game. While you might start with a ‘battle plan’ you need to adjust your strategy based on the other player’s moves.
There is nothing like the sweet smell of success but you need to know what a rose smells like to know when you’re closer to the flowerbed than the sewer. Having easy-to-read reports will help you quickly manage your marketing strategy and know where your budget should be invested. By including figures from your sales and customer contact records you will be able to see where your strategy is working and where a nudge in the right direction could give your business the growth it’s looking for.
Rinse and Repeat.