During my career, I’ve worked in many companies operating in different niches, ranging from education and software development to cybersecurity and blockchain. Some of them were sustainable but slow, others were very fast and successful, and some were extremely successful at first, but eventually collapsed.
The main factor influencing success was the difference in management and leadership approaches, along with the expertise of founders and executives in regards to strategy in marketing.
Some say that a good CEO or leader shouldn’t comprehend all things in his/her company for successful operations. But from my experience, I can say with confidence that a good business owner must be aware of, at least understand the key activities of his business on a fundamental level. And a general marketing strategy is one of them.
Without having effective marketing strategy outline, a business will not be sustainable in terms of attracting new clients – cash inflow, and conversely, if a company has high-grade target marketing objectives, it will experience a constant influx of customers, partners, and “opportunities”.
Everybody wants to be a friend of a popular and influential guy, right?
1. Marketing Strategy Development
The first thing a good CEO should comprehend in marketing is the precise list of marketing objectives and a clear strategy. It means being able to understand what an excellent marketing strategy is, which components it contains, and how to design it. Also, a CEO should have a clear understanding of what a marketing budget breakdown should look like.
I’ve seen situations when founders and executives of serious projects couldn’t formulate the marketing strategy of the company, as well as comprehend and audit what their subordinates did. Then, the founders failed to defend their market entry thesis in the face of investors and get desired cash inflow.
Also, I’ve witnessed situations when startups waste several million on marketing within a year without a clear vision or any understanding of what is a strategy in marketing – constantly changing their approaches and objectives. Sometime later, it resulted in the collapse of these companies, as they were unable to find ways of how to conduct market research properly.
Finally, understanding of what a marketing strategy is and how to design it will help a CEO not only have a clear vision of a company’s development, thereby, inspiring the team to do their best, but also control his/her CMO in terms of decision making and spendings.
Let’s consider the fundamental types of marketing objectives each CEO should be aware of.
2. Market Research
Above all, the Chief Executive should be able to establish good market research process. It signifies a simple usage of Google Trends and Ahrefs for keywords investigation. Doing that, you will be able to conduct a demand analysis proving or declining your hypothesis regarding some products or services, which is one of the best ways to conduct market research.
The second step is assessing your competitors, the marketing channels they use and the tactics they apply. In addition, it will provide you with more insights into your target audience, its demographics, and interests. This analysis can be performed with the help of software developed by SimilarWeb, or similar market research firms.
All of it is needed to know what is going on in the market and what to do next to bypass rivals. Being informed is a cornerstone for making proper decisions. Isn’t it?
3. Buyer Personality Types
After you analyze the market, your competitors and their audience, you are to determine your buyer persona – in other words, your ideal customers including defining their precise traits, habits, living area, etc. It will help you and your marketing team in developing right messages, content and promotion campaigns, as well as setting appropriate marketing goals.
You simply cannot meet customer needs effectively without understanding for whom your product/services are created, and where these people hang out. In addition, having a clear picture of your buyer persona gives you hints on how to convert your TA into your followers.
F.e. Should you use discounts or spotlight certain features of your product. There are a lot of tools and templates for creating your buyer persona – here is one of them – Hubspot, which is a market research toolbox of sorts.
4. Marketing Objectives
Setting relevant goals is crucial for any activity to be successful. Without it, any marketing activities are just a waste of your marketing budget. In the short-term, somehow, your activities can provide positive outcomes. But in the long-run, your business is definitely doomed, unless you have clearly defined the types of marketing objectives you’re looking to achieve.
After completing market research and determining your buyer personas, it will be much easier for you to set proper objectives for your marketing activity.
F.e they can sound like:
- Getting 500 subscribers to your blog,
- Attracting 20 new clients via organic traffic source
- Establishing 4 partnerships with big names in your industry.
But make sure that there is marketing and business strategy alignment in terms of goals. Eventually, don’t forget to determine a clear time frame for your goals as, without it, they are just vague intentions.
5. Marketing Budget
Have your parents told you “Watch the pennies, and the pounds take care of themselves”?
This cliche phrase is the fundamental truth for living and business is no exception. Therefore, a good CEO has to be able to draw up a marketing budget on his/her own. It means ensuring appropriate marketing budget allocation among effective channels and activities. If you don’t know where to start, use the template from Hubspot, which provides a nice marketing budget example for any company.
Besides, as an Executive, you will experience moments when you have to check and approve digital marketing budget created by your subordinates. And in case of a questionable line, it’d be good to reallocate spending appropriately. Imagine spending of $10k on social media contests with moderate prizes when your TA is C-level executives who hardly use social media for getting something for free. It’s ridiculous. Right?
The understanding of how much do companies spend on marketing will definitely help you avoid redundant spending and possible cheating made by your team.
Undoubtedly, an outstanding CEO has to be able to understand how marketing works in order to ensure adequate positioning of a brand and influx of new customers, all of which contributes to the successful development of the company. Basic components of marketing strategy you should definitely comprehend are the ability to define the purpose of market research, build a buyer persona, set clear marketing objectives and form a marketing budget.
Knowing how to handle these components of marketing strategy enables you to review materials provided by your marketers and audit their results and spendings, which ultimately increases your chances on being successful with your business.