Every day we are running a sprint. Moving as fast as we can to achieve the goals established for ourselves and our companies. Leadership says we need to get more quality leads, increase sales or launch a new product. Then we are off and running to accomplish this as fast as possible with the least amount of resources possible. Just think about that for a second… do more with less, get better results, and get results now. That is an immense amount of pressure marketers are under each and every day to perform and produce.
This is why stopping to create a strategy is so challenging. We all know we need to do it and we even want to do it, but we just don’t have the time. We feel the needs to just “do something” that we end up jumping into the tactics. How do you stop a bullet train dead in its tracks? How do you take time (even just a little time) to think about strategy instead of tactics? Ask yourself these 3 critical questions to help slow you down and plan effectively.
What is the situation? Why are you doing what you are doing? What are competitors in the space doing? What opportunities and challenges will you need to address?
What do you want to achieve? What are the goals and objectives? Make them as measurable as possible so you have something to strive for and even exceed. While this sounds simple, it can be a challenge because none of us want to fail. Take a risk. Challenge yourself and your team and hold yourselves accountable.
Who is the target audience? Who really is your best customer for this initiative? Be mindful of the fact that unless you have an unlimited budget, you really need to be specific about who you are targeting. It’s going to be very hard to target every woman ages 20-80 in the U.S. What data do you currently have and what is publicly available to help you understand the target audience and their behavior? Where are they online and offline? If you need more insight, conduct your own research. Even if you don’t have the time or money to conduct full-scale research, there are fast and easy methods to get the data you need (check out my blog on how to conduct research on a limited budget).
Once you answer these questions, you can dive into the best strategies and tactics as you’ll have a better understanding of what will work to achieve your goals and objectives. Make a conscious effort to stop and slow down. Give yourself permission to conduct the strategic planning, and you will be amazed at how that can help you positively impact your overall results.