Marketing is what takes our business ideas and delivers them to our customers. In that way, your approach to marketing is what determines whether or not you’ll be successful in business.
That puts a lot of pressure on someone who is trying to figure out the wide world of marketing and attempting to determine what they should focus on first.
When you’re overwhelmed by options, it’s challenging to get anything done. Here’s how to hone your craft and prioritize your marketing approach.
Outsource Your Efforts
Let’s start with the simplest approach first: outsourcing your marketing efforts. This could be handled in a few different ways. First, you may decide to outsource only the areas you struggle with.
For example, if you have difficulty grasping the work behind digital marketing, you may decide to assign your account and its social media strategy to an agency that has all the necessary experience and social media advertising tools.
Alternatively, choosing brand elements and pulling your visual components together is a struggle, you might hire a designer.
It may feel like you’re cheating by outsourcing, but consider it this way: you run a business in which people come to you because you’re an expert in your field. Why wouldn’t you do the same?
About Delegating Tasks
Delegating your marketing tasks is different than outsourcing to an agency, but also has merit when things are overwhelming. When you’ve determined what steps you need to take, you can pass some on to contract workers and employees.
For example, digital agencies may be able to create and implement a digital marketing strategy. However, if you need simple work projects done to get to that phase, such as creating an email sales funnel with automated content, you could outsource to a freelance writer to get the task done.
Revisit Business Goals
If you don’t have business goals, you need to create them before moving onto anything else. Once you have goals, you can take a look at them and work backward to determine what steps need to be taken to reach them. This exercise often provides insight and guidance surrounding which marketing efforts should be prioritized.
With so many different components to marketing, it’s sometimes best to get back to basics. Goal setting helps with this approach. For example, you might set the goal of obtaining five new clients in the next month.
To do this, you take a step back and realize you need to draw them to your business somehow. You determine the best way to do this is through email marketing and a social media campaign. Thus, you have just prioritized the focus of your short-term marketing strategy.
Conduct a SWOT Analysis
Determine what areas of your marketing plan need to be addressed by conducting a SWOT analysis. A SWOT analysis addresses four areas– strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats.
This simplified approach to brainstorming looks at what works and doesn’t in your business as well as what areas for expansion or competitive considerations there are from your competitors.
A SWOT analysis is a classic marketing tool for one simple reason: it’s highly effective in providing direction.
You can complete the exercise by creating four quadrants on a piece of paper and putting relevant bullet points in each category, filling it in as you conduct secondary research. Use this exercise as your decision-making compass.
Revisit the 4 Ps of Marketing
If your educational background is in marketing, then you already know about the 4 Ps: Price, Promotion, Product, and Place. This is also known as the “Marketing Mix,” and is used to create the foundation of a marketing plan.
The Marketing Mix is similar to the Five Ws of journalism (who, what, where, why, and when). Your product is what you’re selling, promotion is who you’re telling and how, the price is what you’re selling it for, and the place is where.
Circling back to assess your marketing mix will give you a better idea of where your focus should be. If you find that the price is right but your target market needs to be refined, you know to shift your focus to developing a target market. If you find that your product and place are right, but your promotion strategy isn’t working, you need to readdress your advertising.
Finally, if you know you’re in the right place and have a solid strategy for promotion, you may need to get back to the drawing board with your product offering.
Strategize to See What’s Feasible
When experienced project managers and business owners with a background in project management are faced with a challenge, they use the quadrant approach to prioritize their tasks. The four quadrants are drawn on paper or a whiteboard, and include the following:
- High cost, high time
- High cost, low time
- Low cost, high time
- Low cost, low time
When brainstorming ideas, place the idea into a quadrant that coordinates how much time and money the task will take to complete. This will help you find a few low-hanging fruit to work on while creating a long-term strategy for other things. It will also help you eliminate tasks that aren’t worth your while.
It’s important to note that the low cost, low time quadrant doesn’t mean you should spend your time or money on those ideas.
While this quadrant identifies tasks that would be relatively easy to complete, it doesn’t mean that they will improve your business at the end of the day. However, these tasks are a great way to achieve a sense of accomplishment and boost your confidence upon completion.
Make an Execution Plan
Once you’ve used one of these effective methods to figure out what needs to be completed, it’s time to take the next step and get them done. The only way to do so is to create an execution plan and stick to it.
We’ve already discussed the importance of outsourcing and delegating tasks as a way to free up your time to focus on business efforts. Feel free to make that a part of your execution plan and work your help into the overall strategy. You may decide to outsource to a project manager or coach to help you through this process.
There are many free project management tools available online as well as some higher-end paid versions to consider. Remember, you don’t need anything fancy; use whatever it will take to keep you on task, even if it’s a whiteboard with sticky notes.
Assign due dates to your tasks, even if the only person you are accountable to is yourself. Stick to the due dates, breaking your goal into small, manageable tasks.
Add some buffer time, especially when you are expected to wait for someone else to complete something. Identify which tasks are dependant on the completion of others and which tasks are critical for keeping everything on track. Again, stick to your plan!
When it comes to marketing, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. However, there are a number of ways to take a step back. Get a high-level view of what should be prioritized. Once you have that perspective, you can drill down and make an action plan to achieve your marketing goals.
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Ashley is a super-connector with Outreachmama who helps businesses find their audience online through outreach, partnerships, and networking. She frequently writes about the latest advancements in digital marketing, but she also focuses on latest beauty trends and beauty insider tips.