Over and over, strategy comes up in conversation.
Usually it comes up in the form of a question.
“How do we refocus?”
“Why does it always feel like we are spinning our wheels?”
These and other similar questions always lead me to understand that a business has lost its focus.
The thing about strategy and focus is that they aren’t foreign concepts, but with so many demands on our time and distractions, they can often feel like they are.
Because your strategy will only be as successful as your ability to focus on specific targets and understand why you are looking at those targets, it is important that you ask yourself the right questions so your business is heading in the right direction.
1. What is the tangible value that our business produces or hopes to produce in the near term?
This is the essential question that you need to ask to straighten out both your strategy and your focus.
In many instances, people throw open their doors and try to figure out what they are doing as they go. This can work to a degree, but for long term success, you need to identify the value that your business produces.
When I talk about tangible value, I am really focusing on 3 specific things:
- How are you saving your clients time?
- How are you saving your clients money?
- How are you making your clients money?
Once you have recognized that, it is important that you then drill down and quantify this or put it into specific terms that are meaningful at a executive or buyer level.
This means you probably want to throw out meaningless terms like “engagement” or “likes” or “awareness” unless they are specifically tied to time or money.
Instead of saying:
“We helped generate 25% more engagement on Twitter.”
Why not try something like:
“We used a digital strategy that turned improved social engagement into a 5% increase in profitable revenue.”
Or, whatever your measurements of success are.
2. Who really can use this value and is willing to pay for it?
This is the one that trips people up, especially when they are selling something because it gets lonely out there when you are a salesperson.
The thing you have to avoid is just talking to anyone.
You want to identify, market, and sell to people that can say “yes” or that can put you directly in touch with the person that can approve the investment in your product or services.
This may mean you are taking less meetings, but you should be taking more meaningful meetings.
Right here, don’t confuse activity with outcomes.
3. How do we reach these people that can buy?
Here’s your marketing 101 lesson of the day:
If your market is everyone and everything, your market is nothing.
If you have spent some time seriously thinking about the first two questions, you have already eliminated many activities that people are probably lured into too easily.
What this means is that if you are an IT consultant and you need to set priorities:
Is it more important to have a great Twitter feed?
Is it more important to plan out a series of educational marketing events?
This is all about prioritizing your time and investment in marketing activities.
So that when someone tells you that “you have to be on Pinterest” or SnapChat or whatever new tool of the day is, you can say that you don’t have to be anywhere because you understand what your value is and who your buyer is and you know how to reach them.
Strategy comes down to priorities and focus. These things can often get buried under the demands of our always on lifestyles, but if you make the decision to focus and strategize, these questions will help you tremendously.
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