The second part in this five-part series details how to create a marketing strategy, how to ensure people are on board with it, and how to plan its immediate and long-term execution.
Last month I wrote the first blog in a five-blog series on what to achieve in the first month of marketing at a start-up or small and medium enterprise (SME). It spoke mostly about the background research that takes up about a week to complete and gives you critical insights into company strategy, competitors, product and market trends, sales cycle, and finally also the current website visitors (stage 1 in image below).
Now the question is, with this wealth of information at hand, what does one do and what impact does it have on actual strategy and plan? The second week of this month is partially dedicated to creating a marketing strategy, getting people on board with it, and then planning its immediate and long-term execution (stage 2 of the image above).
The key aspects of the strategy include:
This will have to be determined for the company, product(s), and/or service(s) depending on a branding decision. The key questions to tackle first are:
In answering such questions it is best to include all co-founders and if possible, the head of products as well. There are merits as well as demerits to extending this group further. I will leave that for a later blog. The marketer, though, must ensure to bring his recommendations and answers to the meeting. Taking just the questions to the party might result in getting blindsided by the biases of the "well entrenched."
Based on the overall positioning statement as well as the results of the research from stage 1, a list of key messaging themes must be prepared. Think of these themes as phrases or even just individual words that together form a comprehensive list of all the ways you'd want to pitch the product/service to an audience completely unaware of it.
These themes will be the firmament on which the position and brand will rest and also the beginning point for all marketing content and campaigns.
As in the case of position and brand, we may choose to have a separate set of themes for the company and the product (immediately or after a while - when?).
In my experience, having five objectives and a maximum of five key results for each of the objectives is the ideal scenario. However, since the marketing OKRs will be dependent on the company/CEO OKRs for the quarter, these numbers may vary.
The OKRs for the very first quarter will be more focused on establishing processes, hiring the right skill sets (to execute the marketing plan), getting some of the basics right such as creating a (new) sales pitch or toolkit, getting the Web content and SEO settings optimized, etc. The focus in this first quarter is not so much on lead generation or conversions (depending on the kind of business) as it is establishing the ground work for leads and business growth in the next quarter and beyond.
In my next blog I will talk about creating a content marketing plan, setting up the processes around it, and take it from there on.
To my last blog, Jason Dea had an interesting comment about marketing strategy for early-stage companies that do not have any Web presence or marketing direction to speak of (and which I may have presumed for the sake of my current blog series). I will tackle that question in detail after completing this series. Until then, please share interesting methods that you have adopted in your first month and what you think of the suggestions given here.
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Parth heads the marketing team at Jifflenow and brings in considerable experience in the tech marketing space for products as well as services. In this capacity, he manages brand and marketing strategy, investments, campaigns, and product evangelism. Prior to joining Jifflenow, Parth was senior product marketer at ad tech startup, Vizury and he has also worked at Adobe , Cognizant, and Infosys. Parth holds an MBA in Marketing from XLRI and a Bachelors degree in Engineering from IIT Kanpur in India. He can be found on Twitter @parthsm and LinkedIn.
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Wednesday, July 23, 2014