Sun Tzu not only describes the difference between strategy and tactics, but also underlines their interdependence. Simply put, strategy minus tactics is just big thoughts and no action. Tactics without strategy is plain chaos, a disaster waiting to happen.If you want your organization to achieve goals, then you have to make sure your strategy and tactics work in absolute tandem.
As marketers, you aren't always involved in building or directing a strategy that can be implemented. Also, leadership members don't always understand how long things take to execute in marketing. This is a recipe for impatience and miscommunication. Although marketers are great at juggling multiple projects and managing long to-do lists, the team often needs to take a step back and evaluate the marketing execution. It's easy to go head-first into an execution plan that ends up running counter to what leadership actually wants.
To ensure your marketing plan is focused on the same goals as the rest of the organization, take into consideration your budget for marketing, the available resources you have to work with, and the structure of your execution plan.
Some companies assign marketing a budget that is typically a percentage of the revenue. This is a "top-down" approach. Other companies want to see a fully-baked plan built from the ground up. This is a "bottoms-up" approach to budgeting. Both approaches have their perks, but in most cases, a hybrid approach is best to ensure there is enough money put into marketing to get the desired results. To give you a ballpark figure to work with, HubSpot says B2B companies should allocate roughly 7.8% of their revenue to marketing.
The resources you have to work with begin with the people on your marketing team. Well-rounded teams have certain competencies that help them break free from copycat marketing and create something original and effective. These competencies (which we wrote about in our book, Stand Out Marketing) can be summarized using the acronym VALUE.
Let me break it down for you, letter by letter.
Read more about VALUE competencies and how they help your marketing stand out.
At some point, you're probably going to ask yourself if you need some extra help. Maybe your team doesn't have all the VALUE competencies. Maybe you are lacking in manpower and can't execute your strategy on time. Whatever the case, you need to decide if you should hire more full-time employees or if you should outsource some of your work.I've written about this in this article, and summarized some of the questions you can ask yourself as you consider your options:
Outsourcing some of your marketing work can give you a big leg up, making it possible to execute your strategy in a timely manner. In fact, freelancers are very popular these days. Last year, annual earnings by US freelancers grew by $100 million, now totaling $1.3 trillion. Finding the right marketing consultant for you should be easier than ever thanks to the growing talent pool.
We've been talking mostly about the value of people who are working on your project. But what about technology? Having the right MarTech and other valuable marketing tools can save you a lot of time and effort. AI tools are in the news these days, and it's definitely a great time to learn more about your AI options and how they can work for you. Take some time to learn more about ChatGPT-4, content creation tools, customer support platforms, and other technologies that can help you get more done in less time.
The structure of your marketing strategy will definitely play into how it is executed. Consider the difference between specialists and generalists. Specialists have a narrower focus, but they can give you a lot of depth. Generalists can help with the big picture of your strategy.Let's say you want to market to financial services. You're going to need marketers who understand the financial sector. You're going to need a finance specialist.What about product specialists? If you sell something highly technical, you will need the right level of specialist who understands the product and how to translate that to meet customer needs and problems. If you are marketing to certain geographies, you may need native language speakers to help ensure you're getting the message across correctly.Generalists on your marketing team form a strong support for your framework, but you need to balance out the structure of your strategy with new verticals.
I advise clients to bake 80% of their marketing plan and leave 20% open to experiment, so they can try new things.But what do you do if your CEO comes up with a new idea? Or your salespeople are struggling to close deals?You need a tool to evaluate new ideas. One excellent tool is the Eisenhower matrix, which helps you decide on and prioritize tasks by urgency and importance. This matrix breaks into four quadrants:
To help you make the most out of the Eisenhower matrix, remember that it's a tool to help you evaluate your new ideas in terms of importance and urgency. Don't waste a lot of time overthinking which ideas get put into which category. When used correctly, you should be able to prioritize your time for better efficiency. It also helps you stay on track with your marketing execution plan.
This step in the Confident Marketer's Playbook helped you see the importance of building an army to execute your marketing strategy. You need the support and abilities of people who can make your marketing goals come to life.
Everything we covered in this step is designed to help you be a more confident marketer who can put together an army of people and resources to stand by you, get your work done, and help you accomplish your goals.The final step in the Confident Marketer's Playbook is called "Becoming the Leader for Your Brand." I will explain how you can get into the driver's seat and make your marketing strategy take off! Complete the Confident Marketer Scorecard to see how your marketing strategies score. It's free and is designed to give you instant feedback that will help you in the real world.
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