Strategy should be at the heart of every marketeer. There are many models of strategy, and some maybe more relevant to your offerings, but in the end they are all very similar. Regardless of the model, what’s relevant for marketeers is the marketing focus. The challenge for marketeers then becomes ensuring that the strategy is well executed, for which I’ll offer some practical considerations.
Over the years I’ve had experience in working with $1M strategic models (i.e. McKinsey consultants) as well as $24.99 book models (i.e. Michael Porter’s 5 Forces). I’ve also had the privilege to work for some of America’s best corporations, who have their “home grown” versions of strategic frameworks. Quite honestly, the basic frameworks are all very similar. The basic elements of any strategic model include analysis of the industry, market, product assessment, customer needs, competitors and organizational capabilities.
There are libraries full of how to do all of this analysis. This posting will not attempt to do this justice. But for the marketeer, I would propose that depending on your offering lifecycle, this function of the job requires different focus. Pre-market introduction, it may be 100% of your focus. However, by launch, it should be down to about ~15% of your focus. As I look back at product launches in my career, the pre-launch strategy can be singled as the most important determinant of success in a product launch.
The experienced marketeer knows this… but s/he also knows the difficulties of living this in a dynamic corporate environment, especially through a product launch. A major pitfall I’ve observed over the years is an organization’s failure to distinguish between operational effectiveness & strategic planning.
The marketing focus
I’m a fan of Sergio Zyman. . Not necessarily for his contributions to the field of marketing, but for his focus on results – he defines marketing as “selling more stuff to more people more often for more money more efficiently”. I subscribe to the practice of aligning the marketing focus to organizational goals, which are based on a strong strategic foundation.
For the marketeer, every day is a challenge to deliver results. Activities in this challenge can be broken down in two growth areas; organic & external. In organic growth, it’s all about identifying the sales cycle (awareness, interest, trial, purchase, re-purchase) and aligning the appropriate marketing strategies in each cycle. In seeking external growth, marketeers should seek to leverage industry, market, or competitive opportunities to meet customer needs. In my opinion, external growth is what separates a typical from a superb marketeer. This is not to diminish the importance of organic growth, I’ve worked on multi-billion dollar brands that focus profitably on executing this successfully.
A note on caution: as a marketeer you’ll be faced with situations that are not marketing. These may come in disguise but will truly be sales, training or operational issues. Do not get trapped attempting to solve for these disciplines, you will come short and ultimately our discipline suffers, not to mention your career.
Considerations 4 Marketeers
- Adopt a strategic framework that makes sense for your business.
- Determine the marketing focus, with a strong orientation on results.
- Stay disciplined to your strategy and focus through communication and execution.