Three Steps That Will Help You Excel in a Marketing Strategy-Free Zone
Small to midsized Healthcare IT and Solutions companies are often equipped with The Lone Marketer that must work as if they were a large team. Many of these same organizations cringe at the mere mention of building a marketing strategy that would help organize and better focus their marketing efforts. Instead, strategy discussions are seen as a time-wasting activity.
When the strategy is to have no strategy (other than "get more leads"), marketing morphs into an internal copy shop that spends its time taking requests and orders. They are bombarded with "ideas" from all sides. Everyone wants to share the tactic of the day that they are confident will work! The Lone Marketer must spend their time running ragged to produce programs that are not supported by strategy and don't have a solid structure to develop the steam needed to produce the expected results.
Starting out, I also lived the life of The Lone Marketer before running large marketing teams. I understood the budget limitation of small to midsized healthcare organizations; however, I was determined to be successful and create quality programs, even though sales and upper management kept tossing the idea of the day in my direction. During that time, many of my projects and promotions would go haywire due to a lack of direction or constantly changing goals, resulting in a breeding ground of weak results. And, as The Lone Marketer, I was usually left holding the bag (aka, the blame). I knew that to be successful, something had to change.
In the absence of strategy, I created an equation to help support my success. I designed the Marketing Success Equation (™) to help ensure that I considered everything I needed before starting any project or promotion while gaining buy-in from upper management. The equation allowed me to identify the prospect and company's benefits and gain clarity to achieve the desired goals.
Destination (the prospect's why) + Guardrails (the company's why) = The Foundation That Supports Success (the goal/purpose).
The destination component of the equation required that I ask questions and dig deep until I knew where I was headed and what needed to occur appropriately connect and persuade the prospect. It would also help me identify if we already had a program to achieve these stated results.
The second component of the equation is designed to identify the guardrails to help keep the project from falling off track. Which meant I had to be clear about the benefits for the company.
The final component is to ensure that the first two components of the equation could achieve the ultimate purpose of the project and requires a review of the details of the equation with the team to gain consensus and agreement on the expected outcome.
The Marketing Success Equation Example:
Suppose the 'Destination' is to get clients that have been with the organization for a minimum of 3 years to learn about a new service to help them be more productive (save operational costs). The 'Guardrails' are because you are sunsetting an older service and the new service has a higher gross margin. The Foundation is to get 30-40% of identified clients to gain interest and request a demo, which could increase revenue by up to 10% in the first quarter.
Once you have all the three elements on the equation outlined and confirmed, you can clearly see what program or programs would help achieve the desired results.
Although I believe marketing functions best when starting from a strategic mindset, it should not deter you from changing the dynamics to ensure success. Use my Marketing Success Equation to help ensure that you are not simply catching and employing the ideas from a variety of directions and hoping they will work. Instead, allow the equation to guide your thought process. You will gain clarity of direction and goals and have less chance of falling off track, which will increase your level of success (and make you the hero).