Alice in Wonderland talking to the Cheshire Cat, no doubt about marketing strategy.“Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?”
“That depends a good deal on where you want to get to,” said the Cat.
“I don’t much care where -” said Alice.
“Then it doesn’t matter which way you go,” said the Cat.

That famous exchange in Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland has often been paraphrased by marketing strategists as, “If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will get you there.” Bonus points if you know which Beatle paraphrased it in a slightly different way for a song released as a single in 2003. Click for answer.

Strategy is the “which way I ought to go from here” part. It supports a specific business goal (“where you want to get to”) and supplies the context for selecting tactics that will get you there. That sounds simple, but it is actually hard to get a strategy written down in clear, brief, actionable language. The task stymies a lot of business and nonprofit executives because they don’t know why strategy matters, where to start, what steps to take, or what a strategy looks like when it is “done.” Strategist Quickie to the rescue!

Why it matters: Strategy guides you toward your goal without wasting marketing dollars on the wrong audience or tactic.

Where to start: Select a business goal you want to achieve. Examples: introduce a new service, enter a new market (i.e., a geographic area, company size or industry you don’t currently serve) or increase market share in an existing market. For illustration purposes, let’s use the real-life scenario that Hollister Creative is introducing a new service: creating affordable WordPress template websites.

What steps to take:

  1. Define the target audience by the most important qualities audience members share, such as size of organization, title and location. Hollister Creative is targeting the leaders of small businesses and nonprofits in PA, NJ and DE.
  2. Define the pain you solve for this audience. The leaders Hollister Creative is targeting can’t afford a custom website with all of the features they need to be competitive.
  3. Define the competitive advantage that explains why this audience would choose you over your competitors. No one else includes all of the one-on-one coaching and must-have features that Hollister includes at such a low price.

“Done” looks like this: Our strategy is to (business goal defined) by reaching out to (target audience defined) who need this because (pain defined) and will buy from us because (competitive advantage defined). Hollister Creative’s strategy is to offer affordable WordPress template websites to leaders of small businesses and nonprofits in PA, NJ and DE who can’t afford a custom website with all of the features they need to be competitive and will buy from us because no one else includes all of the one-on-one coaching and must-have features that Hollister includes at such a low price.

With your strategy in place, you have the proper context in which to select the best marketing tactics to achieve your goal.

Need help coming up with winning strategies for marketing and communications? Email Kim Landry or call 484.829.0021.  

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