Even the best strategies don’t bear fruit forever. Either the competition will catch up to your innovation or your audience will move on to the next flavor of the week. In a demanding, ever-changing industry like marketing, the goalposts are always moving. As a business owner, how often should you rethink your strategy?
It Depends on Your Goals
The scope of your strategy is largely dependent on where your business stands. Newer businesses, for example, are more focused on building recognition and establishing market share, while established businesses are typically focused on growing market share or penetrating new markets. That means your best bet is to take a look at where your business stands vs. where you want to be.
An important part of your initial strategy should be to determine what sets your business apart. Be transparent and let people know why you started your business. Maybe it’s because the competition charges too much. Maybe you can offer better value at a lower price. Whatever the case, it’s important to remember that the distinction is relative.
A CoSchedule report found marketers who plan campaigns around a strategy are 356% more likely to report success. Strategy is inherently tied into goals, and the best marketing goals are SMART. That means time is of the essence. When the clock has expired, it’s time to review your goals, see where you stand, and either move the goal lines or come up with some new goals.
Signs it’s Time to Rethink Your Strategy
One of the most common goals in marketing is to achieve business growth. That means your business should always be looking to add more social media followers, achieve more website traffic, and generate more sales month-over-month. As such, stagnation is an obvious sign that something is amiss.
While it’s unrealistic to expect metrics to improve every month, if they start to tail off for more than a few months, it might be time to rethink your strategy.
Remember: your existing customers are just as important, if not more so, than new customers. At the same time, what good is attracting new customers if you can’t keep them? Watch your attrition numbers; you should be looking to attract lifetime customers, not one-and-dones. If your customers aren’t coming back, you need to assess whether you have a marketing problem or a product problem.
Keep an eye on your social media presence as well. Engagement numbers are a great way to track the pulse of your business. If folks are liking your posts, but not retweeting, sharing, or commenting on them, you might be trying the wrong appeals. Strive to create buzzworthy content that adds value to the lives of your audience. Try to avoid being too sales-oriented or pitchy in your marketing messages. Instead, point to the facts, empathize, and lay off the pressure.
Why Strategy Matters
In addition to achieving your goals and meeting your objectives, you need to be seizing every opportunity. Your aim should be on growing your business in the future, but also the present. As such, everything your business does should align with your strategy. With that said, changes in your business should mirror changes in your strategy.
The most important part of strategy is execution. Your plan may be full of potential, but until you actually nail the execution and see how it works in real-life market conditions, it’s impossible to accurately gauge a plan’s effectiveness.
Follow your data, listen to your customers, and trust your instincts. It should all come together to form the perfect winning combination: an effective marketing strategy for your business.