In many ways, owning a business is a feat as important as being in a war. And when it comes to war, you need strategy.
There’s a quote by Sun Tzu that I often remind myself of:
“Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory. Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat.”
And just as you can apply this quote to warfare, you can apply it to business.
So many (small) business owners read up on tactics online and implement them blindly, believing that’s all they need to succeed.
You’ve heard of sales funnels, SEO, content marketing… But these are all just tactics, tools we use to accomplish our goals.
Your business needs strategy to show you exactly how to achieve your goals.
In today’s post, I’m going to show you how the Strategy First marketing approach makes your business more successful.
Let’s dive in!
- Strategy Provides Focus to Your Message
Speaking of quotes, there’s another one applicable to the Strategy First approach:
“If you don’t know where you want to go, any road will take you there.”
In marketing, your goals are your destination. But you don’t need garden-variety goals; you need specific, targeted goals.
Often, when I ask business owners about their ideal customers, they tell me:
“My ideal customer is anyone who can use my product.”
But when you’re trying to market your product to everyone, your marketing message isn’t appealing to anyone.
When you reverse engineer your approach with Strategy First, and start with your ideal customer, you’ll know what they want to hear. Your message will be a perfect fit for them, and you’ll easily convince them to buy from you.
I like using a restaurant metaphor to explain why this happens:
Let’s say you’re the owner of an Italian restaurant.
When asked who your ideal customer is, you can’t just say: “Anyone who wants to grab a bite,” or “Anyone who likes Italian food.”
Even though you might feel like that will bring more customers over time, that won’t be the case. You’ll lose them.
- You’ll have too many dishes on your menu
- You’ll need to buy supplies for each dish as if it’ll be the only thing you’ll cook, causing a lot of food to go bad and losing money
- You won’t be able to keep the ingredients fresh, nor will you get bulk discounts
- Your cook will be stretched thin trying to perfect every dish, and they’ll end up mediocre at best (Jack of all trades is the master of none)
- Your cook won’t be able to establish a rhythm so you’ll deal with burned dishes
- You won’t establish a loyal customer base that knows your restaurant is the best place to go for a specific dish, and will recommend you to all their friends
And this leads us to…
- Two Ingredients for Small Business Marketing Success
Without strategy, you won’t be running a profitable operation. You won’t know who your customers are, nor why they like your product.
And the main two ingredients for small business marketing success are profitability and advocacy.
You want to cut costs and maximize efficiency. If you try to appeal to too many audiences at once, you’ll be wasting time and money, compromising both profitability and efficiency.
Secondly, customers are your most loyal salespeople.
But in order to get recommendations, your products have to be really specific.
No one passionately recommends Home Depot. It’s just there.
But everyone recommends the Italian restaurant that makes the best lasagna in the whole town.
How Strategy First Helps You Market Your Business
Let’s say the owner of the Italian restaurant came to speak to us, and we found that their most profitable customers love their lasagna. Their mother passed down the recipe to them.
Now we know which dish (i.e. product) works best, and we know its story.
We are going to focus on it.
Instead of 30 menu items, we’re going to put the lasagna front and forward.
By offering a specific dish, the restaurant will be able to get fresh ingredients (at a bulk discount), the cook will learn how to perfect the lasagna, and the customers will love the story, as well as the hearty flavors.
They’ll tell all their friends.
But the restaurant isn’t just profiting from discounts.
No – they’re also profiting from an improved service, and overall better marketing results. Instead of testing different marketing messages, the restaurant now knows which message they should use to attract new customers.
And therein lies the brilliance of the Strategy First marketing system.
- Understanding the Buyer’s Journey
With a strategy, you’ll know which message your ideal customers need to hear to buy from you.
Every business also has a specific sales cycle; the time it takes your customers to decide to purchase your products.
For a restaurant, it’s a few minutes. For a car dealership, it may be longer – a few months.
During that sales cycle, customers take different steps. This is called the buyer’s journey.
If you have a marketing strategy in place, you will:
- Understand your customers’ unique needs, wants, and fears
- Know how your customers find you, how they behave, and what motivates them to purchase your products
- Build trust and relationships with your customers, so they turn into loyal repeat customers
With Strategy First, you’ll be able to provide your customers with the right information, in the right place, and at the right time.
- Differentiate Yourself in the Eyes of Your Customers with Strategy First
It’s not enough to just meet your clients’ expectations.
If you want to build a solid relationship with them and increase your sales, you’ll need to exceed their expectations.
Strategy First is a great way to show why you’re the best business your customers could buy from.
Let’s go back to our restaurant example.
When researching the ideal clients’ needs, we realized they often struggle with finding parking in the area. They also don’t have time for the full dinner.
Now that the owner knows this, they can adapt their marketing message to be more appealing to ideal customers.
Their ads can highlight their quick table service, and a take-out discount with priority parking.
The best lasagna in town solves their ideal customers’ problems, but the restaurant also exceeds expectations with take-out and quick table service.
Because they know what their clients need.
The Strategy First approach is perfect for local small businesses, the foundation of a healthy community. So let’s build stronger communities together.
We’ll be happy to help you!
But the Strategy First concept is just the first part of the marketing system we use.
Our eBook – 7 Steps to Small Business Marketing Success – covers the Strategy First approach in greater depth, and shows you how you can leverage it to increase your sales and delight your customers.
Click the link below to receive your copy!