So here’s what happened.
We were having a great discovery call. This lead seemed so intrigued by our services, and my team and I were developing great rapport (and having a great time) getting to know them.
Everything was fine and dandy, birds were chirping and our sales team could sense the deal closing when we got hit hard with, “Well, I’m fine with you doing my marketing, but I don’t need to go through the process of creating a marketing strategy.”
The world’s never felt so dark.
Okay, so maybe I’m being dramatic, but that response did stop me cold. Why? Because I know that successful marketing campaigns always have to start with strategy. Always. How do I know this? (So glad you asked!) Because I spent years just “doing marketing” for clients without even considering the importance of marketing strategy, and our process — and client’s results — suffered because of it.
So, if you’re reading this post and you’re also not convinced of the importance of marketing strategy, let me hit you with some truth. You can’t have effective marketing without creating an effective marketing strategy first, just like a doctor can’t prescribe treatment options without diagnosing you first. Here’s a fancy graphic to drive that point home:
(Why yes, yes you can save that image directly to your inspirational folder on Instagram!)
But before I move forward and dazzle you with the importance of marketing strategy, I want to unpack the obstacles our prospect brought up when they made this statement. Because if I’m being honest, he/she/they had some valid points backing up their reasoning, some of which I don’t have a clean, clear answer for right now.
So here’s the problem with marketing strategy:
…or at least my prospect’s problem with it. Let’s unpack a few obstacles that were unearthed by their poignant statement:
“I don’t mind doing strategy. I’m willing to do it, but I don’t want to invest several hours of my time with you to introduce you to my business if the proposal you give me afterwards is too expensive and not what I’m looking for.”
In other words, as a client, you don’t want to sit through a strategy session only to find out that what you’re looking for is going to cost $100,000 when you only have $2,000. (How do you think I almost got suckered into buying a timeshare in Florida?) Plus, you may not even like the end result, but you won’t really know if you’ll like it until AFTER you’ve shelled out the moolah to create it. And if that’s not enough, if you do shell out to make a marketing strategy that you don’t like, you’ve not only wasted time and money, but now you have to spend more time finding a new marketing agency that you like instead!
(Phew, that’s a raw deal).
In other, other words, you have two primary concerns:
Concern #1: Price
Is it worth the price? What is the cost of marketing strategy? Why should I pay for marketing strategy instead of paying for services directly? What if I pay for this marketing strategy and it’s not what I want?
Concern #2: Value
Will this marketing strategy be what I actually want and need? How do I know this will be an effective marketing strategy? Will the reward be worth the risk of investing time and money in a process where I don’t see immediate results?
Those concerns are totally valid, and my prospect is not the first client to feel this way, nor will he or she (I’LL NEVER TELL WHO IT WAS STOP ASKING) be the last!
With these price and value concerns in mind, it’s easy to see why so many businesses want to skip strategy and just jump in to marketing services — at least that way, you know what you’re paying for and immediately see your money in action, right?
Well… not quite. Though you might want to skip over strategy because you think it isn’t necessary, this reasoning is fundamentally flawed, and here’s why:
… you want to get married to see if our relationship will work out, rather than go on a first date.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m flattered! (And also taken, so back off!)
Even though the idea of investing a few hours of your time and an small upfront lump sum for marketing strategy is risky, the idea of signing a three-month, six-month, or year-long contract for marketing services (the prescription), that may not actually be the best use of your money (wrong diagnosis), is so much more wasteful!
So, if you’re warming up to the idea of thinking about the importance of marketing strategy, let’s tackle those price and value obstacles right here, right now.
How much does marketing cost?
So, what’s the cost of an effective marketing strategy?
(Image from Giphy.com)
Well, when you’re working with a marketing agency you’re interested in, here’s my advice: ask your marketing agency direct, detailed questions about their base cost for marketing strategy, and any additional cost factors that could drive up the price. Even if they can’t give you definite cost information, approximate costs will at least give you a sense of what price you’ll be expecting at the end.
When it comes to 8 Signal, let me put your mind at ease by giving you the details of our marketing strategy, and what’s included in our price:
First off, our marketing strategy services are a flat $2,000. To create a marketing strategy, we meet with you and your team for a maximum of 4 hours to get to know you, your target audience, and the transformation that your product or service brings to their lives.
Here’s exactly what you’ll get after you hire 8 Signal to create your marketing strategy, or as we like to call it, your Marketing Strategy Blueprint:
- We’ll define your Buyer Persona.
- We’ll create your Before/After Transformation messaging.
- We’ll map out your Customer Value Journey.
And if you receive your Marketing Strategy Blueprint and still don’t want to work with 8 Signal or aren’t convinced of the importance of marketing strategy, you’ll have dedicated four hours getting to know your business better and having marketing professionals lend a unique perspective. That investment of time and critical thinking will never be wasted — even if you never use our marketing strategy.
What is the purpose of a strategic marketing plan?
So, if you’re still reading, we’re assuming that you’re starting to see the value of a marketing strategy.
(Or you’re just reaaaaally bored. In which case, you came to the right place. I’m hilarious.)
But on a serious note, if your pricing concerns have been answered, now I want to address your concerns about the value of a marketing strategy. It’s no joke to invest $2,000 (or something else if you’re going with a different company), for something when you don’t really know where it’s leading.
First, let’s start with where it shouldn’t lead.
Well, let’s revisit that “prescription without diagnosis is malpractice” example again, keeping in mind that strategy is your diagnosis and marketing services like Facebook ads, blog content, and social media marketing are your prescription options.
If we as a marketing company are giving you marketing services without really “diagnosing” what marketing methods align with your business goals, communicate with your ideal buyer, and communicate the true value of your services, then we’re not doing a good job with the marketing budget you’re entrusting us with.
That’s where the malpractice comes in. Getting back to my prospective client, I could have easily just given them the proposal they were asking for (without creating a marketing strategy) in order to make the sale. But, what if another marketing service would actually be better for their budget, business goals, and ideal buyer? Without marketing strategy, we’d never know, and I’d be doing them a disservice.
What’s the value of a marketing strategy?
By creating a marketing strategy, you develop a clear picture of who your ideal buyer truly is and what transformation they go through after purchasing your life-changing products and services.
Just because you know what that transformation should look like (i.e. why your clients need your products and services) doesn’t mean you’re communicating that effectively to your target audience, either through effective communication methods (i.e. social media platforms, digital advertising, etc.) or messaging. Without getting to know your target audience though marketing strategy, you’ll miss out on creating messaging that will communicates these crucial components to your target audience:
- Who your products and services are made for.
- Why your target audience needs your products and services, (i.e., how they transform their lives for the better).
- Why your products and services make your target audience’s dreams possible.
- How your products and services are affordable for your target audience.
- When it’s the right time for your target audience to purchase your products and services.
If you’re still doubting the importance of marketing strategy, I want you to know that documents like the Buyer Persona and Customer Buyer Journey are built to answer these questions and more!
What’s on the horizon for marketing strategy? Where’s it going?
Well, if you’re working with 8 Signal, marketing strategy is the first step toward a long-term relationship — if you’re looking for one, of course!
While we respect that some clients just want the initial strategy documents to be created by us and then implemented by someone else, our goal is to do business with you in the long term. We’re partners for the long haul, and successful relationships only work long-term (business or otherwise) if they are founded on trust and a mutual agreement to take care of one another.
So, if you’re trying to ascertain whether a marketing agency you’re considering can take care of your needs, make sure they understand the importance of marketing strategy by asking for examples of their successful client relationships! If they don’t have any examples (client testimonials, case studies, etc.) of how they take care of their clients, it may be a red flag that they lack marketing strategy.
That’s why we here at 8 Signal start with marketing strategy — we want to take care of our clients in the best way possible, and that always begins with developing an effective marketing strategy. If you’re interested in talking strategy, or if something in this post sparked a question for you and your team, I’d love to hop on a free 30-minute assessment call and hear your story.