5 Quick Ways to Build a Long-term Marketing Strategy

Regardless of what your specific strategic goal is, one of the most important guiding principles is to realize you may be wrong. This is tough for many marketing leaders to own up to because no one likes acknowledging that a strategy they’ve developed isn’t working. But it happens more than you might think.

Consider the actions of some “leading” companies in recent history. Microsoft this month wrote off $6.2 billion for aQuantive, which it acquired for $6.3 billion in 2007. Or how about Kodak, which is now in bankruptcy and trying to sell its remaining patent assets?

And then there was HP with its purchase of Palm for $1.2 billion to mix with its webOS to start a new line of tablets. The first resulting product was priced comparably with the iPad and when it didn’t sell, HP dropped its entry product to $99 and it sold off the shelves. This caused a severe distribution problem and the company had to abandon the project after six months.

So is there a silver bullet you can use to avoid all costly mistakes? The honest answer is, no. You will make mistakes, but here are few things that will help you avoid some of them.

1. Sharply focus on your customer’s biggest need and work backwards to determine the best steps to take to meet that need.

For example, if you’re having difficulty creating new selling opportunities for your company, focus on the one need you can provide and market that aggressively. This helps build new relationships because you more quickly define who you are and what you do.

2. Leverage quick wins in the marketplace, no matter if they are relatively small.

For instance, if you are a manufacturer trying to build out your product line within a specific vertical market, think about how much you have already produced for this market sector and promote that success, rather than introducing some new set of brand messaging.

3. Create a list of promotions you are going to use once certain levels of sales marketing success have been achieved.

Tom Marin is the president of MarketCues, a national consulting firm. Tom serves as a senior advisor and change-management consultant with 35 years of experience. He has worked for some of the world’s largest corporations, as well as middle-market firms. Tom's focus is to plan and drive strategy shifts and strategic growth programs in the printing industry and a diverse range of market areas.
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