Marketing Sequencing: The Steps to Follow on Your Marketing Journey (and Where You May be Going Wrong)
Many small businesses tend to approach marketing with their most immediate need in mind—a logo, a tagline, or webpage, for example. But an effective marketing program that yields positive ROI needs a bigger-picture approach that moves beyond the tactical “one-offs” to an integrated program that includes a series of strategically defined activities in a sequential order.
Though tackling your low-hanging fruit for the quick hit may (seemingly) makes sense in the moment, you’ll more than likely end up back-tracking, forced to rethink your approach and brand—a costly and time-consuming mistake that could threaten the integrity of your brand image.
You want to hit the ground running with your marketing efforts. You’re eager to get your brand in front of your audience, and you don’t want to waste any time getting there. That’s understandable—and we get it! But by taking the time up front to strategize your efforts with a logical progression of events, you’ll be poised to build a powerful brand with well-defined marketing assets, an engaged audience, and qualified leads that translate into sales.
Your marketing journey in six steps:
- Business Plan: If you don’t already have a business plan in place, now is the time to start. Serving as your blueprint for how you will achieve your business objectives, your business plan should include your mission, vision, and values, as well as information related to products or services you offer, how you offer them, your “ideal” customer, and where you do business (e.g., locally, nationally, internationally, online, etc.).
- Marketing Plan: Born out of your business plan, your marketing plan defines your marketing strategy and tactics, with a clear overview of your audience segments, core message, and delivery channels. This step in your brand journey is crucial and should not be rushed; take the time to think it through with careful consideration to each component.
- Messaging Strategy: Next up is a well-defined messaging strategy that details what you want to say, to whom, and how to say it in a way that is meaningful to your audience. Here, you’ll want to create messages for each audience segment that addresses their pain points and how your product or solution solves it— or the ‘what’s-in-it-for-me’.
- Logo and Brand: A frequent (but ill-advised) starting point for many businesses, the creation of a logo or visual brand identity should be informed by an intrinsic understanding of your audience, their buying behaviors, and your messaging. Only then can you determine which colors, fonts, and imagery will resonate for the greatest impact. These visual elements will eventually become the hallmark of your brand and deserve careful attention to each nuanced detail.
- Website: With a well-defined brand that considers your audience, messaging, and visual identity, you’ll be poised to create a compelling website that embodies your brand and engages your audience. The center of your marketing universe, your website can then be used to attract leads, communicate value, and build an online presence.
- Social, Design, and Collateral: Once your core is built you can begin to develop a range of brand assets targeting your audience segments—from social channels and thought-leadership content to direct mailers, newsletters, and more—in a branded look and feel consistent with your brand guidelines and messaging strategy.
Marketing is a series of touches, interactions, and enticements designed to get targeted audiences to act. Effective marketing unites all these individual pieces—each building on the last—as part of a master plan that translates to sustainable business growth. But keep in mind, nothing is etched in stone. Even if you start at step four or five, like so many do, you can always course-correct. While back-tracking isn’t ideal and may cost you a few extra dollars in the end, it’s worth the added investment to align your marketing efforts to a well-defined plan that supports your brand objectives.
At Paradigm Marketing and Design, we’ve been partnering with businesses to build marketing programs from the ground up for more than a decade. We know what works, what doesn’t, and how to achieve the desired outcomes for long-term success. For more information about how we can help you along your brand journey, contact us here.