When I recently visited Marketo headquarters, my buddy asked me what I was working on, and I told him enterprise consulting in a strategic role (as opposed to more of an implementation role)—to which he responded, “so, what exactly are you doing?”
That encounter made me realize that sometimes, strategy is clear and other times it is hazy, like the fog that led my buddy to not really understand what I was doing in my current role.
So I decided to write a post all about giving clarity to strategy—so it has a rightful place in both your mind and in your engagement marketing.
Let’s start by defining strategy, and then I’ll share several example strategies to give you a flavor for strategy in action.
For now, let’s define strategy as: a process of using knowledge to drive action. Where the action is getting to a decision or creating a plan— the action can vary, but there must be some action.
Here are examples of situations where I have seen strategy bring value to marketers:
Lead Nurture Strategy
If a marketer is looking to deploy a lead nurture program, their strategy needs to address the parameters of nurture, and define where to start. When defining your nurture strategy, ask yourself: Is it more valuable to nurture people that are currently unresponsive, or should you nurture people in your database that are far along in your buying cycle? This is a strategic question. The process in this case would be exploring these nurture options, and the action would be agreement on a nurture design.
Marketing Automation Deployment Strategy
Often when marketers are new to their engagement marketing platform, the question is “what will we deploy, and when?” This makes sense because engagement platforms are broad and enable an ocean of functionality. So the process in this case would be to look at: client goals, platform functionality, dependencies, and best practices.
To find your strategy, consider all this information together and come up with the best sequence of events for that client. In this case, the action would be a roadmap showing deployment in phases.
Marketing Analytics Strategy
There are many different types of analytics that come with an engagement platform. When marketers are new to their platform they may be heavily focused on implementation—leaving analytics as an after-thought despite the fact that everyone agrees it is critical. Therefore developing an analytics strategy is important to ensure you are focusing on the right measurements for your business.
The process around creating an analytics strategy might include: client goals, existing and planned metrics, platform capabilities, and best practices.
Looking at all those aspects together, the action is an analytics strategy that specifies planned metrics, the reports that will be used, how to create these reports in the platform, and the actual creation of these reports.
These are a few examples but there are many more strategies that marketers can implement for success, such as:
- Education Strategy– How will I get my employees trained as quickly and efficiently as possible?
- Organizational Strategy– How centralized or decentralized should our organization be structured to get our best engagement platform outcome?
- Marketing Process– What is the best process to be able to execute campaigns going forward given how my platform works?
- Lifecycle Strategy– How will we structure a new process that includes marketing and sales now that we have a platform that can bring these groups together?
And, the list could go on………
Enterprise customers should take the time to consider strategy as part of their engagement platform implementation. I recommend looking at key strategic topics as early as possible, prior to implementation.
For example at Marketo we recommend a strategy workshop very early on for any new enterprise customer. If possible this should be an onsite with key team members. A strategic workshop covers a set of topics (such as the examples above) and the output might include a documented strategic plan, key decisions made, and stakeholder alignment on your implementation plan for your engagement platform.
Marketers cannot succeed without strategy. They can have it early or late, consciously or by accident. The cost of not getting strategy right is not reaching your marketing goals, progressing very slowly, or even having to start from scratch if you make a critical strategic misstep.
Hopefully that is not you…
I’d love to hear how you think about strategy in your organization. Please share your thoughts in the comments below.
For more on creating a marketing automation implementation strategy, check out our Workbook: The Keys to Marketing Automation Success in the Enterprise.