Is Marketing Strategy Out of Favor?

wooden wagon wheelDoes this sound familiar? “We know our budget doesn’t let us do this right, but we need to do what we can.” No wonder marketing doesn’t have respect in so many organizations! You can’t meet your goal, so you “do what you can”? For any other group in your company, this would be completely unacceptable. For marketing in many organizations, it is almost expected.

The result too often is a series of random acts of marketing. One marketing activity that makes sense on the surface, but without complementary components, simply doesn’t deliver what it could. A single solitary activity (or even two or three) that do not surround the audience, that do not deliver and reinforce your message, that are not part of a larger cohesive story, are just random acts of marketing.

I see random acts of marketing too often in B2B marketing, both in campaigns that have the potential to be so much more and in conversations with B2B marketers and media companies. If this describes your marketing, or even comes close, stop. Right now. You have fallen off the (strategy) wagon and you need to get back on.

At the core, I see this happen for two primary reasons.

  • You do not have a clear, measurable and achievable marketing objective. Marketing tactics are striving to deliver against an overarching business goal, without a clear purpose.
  • You have a clear marketing objective, but you do not have a single strategy that ties all of you activity together. Instead, every opportunity is evaluated and pursued, or dismissed, on its individual merits.

Without a clear strategy, built on your marketing objective, marketing flounders. Conflicting messages. A content assortment. One-off advertising buys. All without a clear thread that pulls it together.

Without the thread, opportunities are lost. Your retail presence doesn’t reflect your latest campaign. Your search campaign missed an integration opportunity. Your audience doesn’t get the message. You attempt to align based on tactics, but there isn’t a bigger idea everyone is striving toward together.

Without a clear objective and approach to achieving it, your measurement is hampered. Your insights are limited. Your contribution to the business isn’t clear. And marketing continues to lose the respect of the organization.

It is time for marketers to get back on the strategy bandwagon.

4 Responses to Is Marketing Strategy Out of Favor?

  1. Great insight, Eric. And not only is budget affecting marketer’s confidence that they can pursue and integrated marketing strategy, but also their lack of time. They watched their colleagues get shown the door, and they haven’t been replaced yet. So there is barely time enough to accomplish some of the tactics on their to-do list, let alone the time to stand back and weave the entire program with the same color thread.

    What marketers need to do is approach their bosses and remind them of the good marketing strategies they used to employ before the Great Recession knocked all their plans into the ashcan. Now that uncertainty has subsided, it’s time to get back to best practices of strategy, integration, and measurement — and that it takes a more complete team to achieve that.

    • Michael, thanks for sharing your perspective. You add an important point, doing it right takes time, which many of us don’t have as teams have been stripped down to an executional core.

  2. tmdelmonte says:

    “Random acts of Marketing” is one of my favorites …. we also push to overcome “checklist Marketing” … it is a tactic that someone recommended / pushed so it was done, but with no alignment with strategy.

    We’ve modified our Marketing Planning documentation to start first with our our stakeholder (the line of service we support) presenting to us what their business objectives are for the year. Revenue targets, parts of service portfolio they are focusing on, maturity of portfolio, global readiness, etc. And then from that, we match up our marketing objectives and then flow the plan from that. Sounds pretty basic, but honestly those basics weren’t consistently being followed. And it did take some stakeholders a bit of time to get on board, as we sometimes asked questions they could not answer. But their objectives are like our “north star” and helps drive that strategy.

    • Checklist Marketing – sounds like its right there with the pet marketing project. Certainly another one for the list, thanks!

      You’re right, sometimes it seems so basic that it is hard to talk about it, almost insulting. But until the basics become second nature to everyone, you have to start there.

      Thanks for commenting!

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