A Business Owner’s Guide for Evaluating the Current State of Your Marketing Foundation
Growing your business can be challenging, but knowing the current state of your marketing foundation and what your gaps are can help set you on a path for success. All industry markets are unpredictable and your marketing landscape can change at any time. When that happens, it’s easy to lose control. There are many different components that can make you successful, and one usually affects the other.
As with any business, there are areas that you can control and then there are those areas that you can’t control. But where do you begin? By walking your team through your current marketing state, you’ll identify current gaps in your marketing foundations and can make adjustments to close the gaps and successfully navigate through the areas that you can’t control.
Adopting the right measures to evaluate the different areas of your business will help you close the gaps before you plan and finalize your strategic marketing roadmap.
Here’s a guide we’ve put together that you can use to help evaluate your current business marketing state. But, let’s take a deeper look at the elements your team needs to evaluate to get a better understanding of your current marketing foundation.
Purpose, Vision & Mission
Your company purpose, vision and mission (PVM) shapes your brand identity, which is one of the four pillars of a strong marketing foundation. Establishing concise, detailed statements for each of these three components gives you guidance for everything you do and helps your audience connect with your products, services and people.
Often a business may only have one of these components written down, such as a mission statement. Another common practice is to squeeze all three into one statement. But in order to get a complete view, it’s important to have these broken out with a clear detailed statement for each one.
If you have one statement that you think covers all three descriptions, break it out because each component describes something different about your organization:
- Purpose is your “Why”
- Vision is your “What”
- Mission is your “How”
Your purpose statement keeps you focused on WHY your company exists. As we mentioned above, your marketing strategy landscape may change as you grow. So, as you write your purpose statement, leave room for additions and more details as your organization changes.
Here are questions you can answer with your purpose statement:
- What is the story behind your brand?
- What motivates you to do what you’re doing?
- Why does your organization exist?
Your vision statement is exactly that. It’s a vision of where the company will be 5-10 years from now. The vision statement defines WHAT you want your organization to accomplish how it will impact customers, employees and the community. Its focus is on the future and should identify the company’s long-term strategy.
Here are questions you can answer with your vision statement:
- How do you describe your product or service?
- What value or need does your product or service serve?
- Ultimately, what do you want your company to provide or do?
Your mission statement describes HOW you will accomplish your vision and fulfill your company’s purpose. It focuses on your current organizational environment and provides guidance on where you should focus your energy and how to shape your culture. It’s the base for your organization’s goals and objectives and drives action needed to reach them.
Here are questions you can answer with your mission statement:
- How will you use your products / services to achieve your company’s vision?
- What work needs to be done everyday to serve your customers?
- What core values are important to you for your company’s culture?
A SWOT analysis is a powerful technique to evaluate your current organization and marketing landscape. It helps identify your strengths that set you apart from your competition, and weak areas that need attention and may be a threat by preventing you from achieving your organization goals, objectives and vision. A SWOT analysis evaluates your current marketing foundation and business state by highlighting your strengths or superpowers, weaknesses, opportunities and threats.
A SWOT analysis looks at the following elements of your competitive organization:
Strengths & Weaknesses
Your strengths make you unique and can differentiate you among the competition. Sometimes a strength may even be considered a superpower. Here’s how you tell the difference. Do you have that “something special” that sets you apart from the competition in a way that’s meaningful for your customers? Identifying your strengths and weaknesses will give you a picture that reflects how well your business is doing in the market compared to your competitors.
Strengths can be identified by evaluating existing marketing tools, strategies that are working and producing revenues, security, rankings of your products and services in the market, and positive feedback from your consumer or customer.
Similarly, your organization’s weaknesses or loopholes can tell you what needs to be improved. The challenges your brand is facing, strategies that are not working, bad customer reviews, and low-quality content make up the marketing weaknesses of any business.
When thinking of your strengths and weaknesses, here are some questions to ask yourself:
- What do you do differently than your competitors? (strength)
- What do your customers say that you do well? (strength)
Are there technology limitations that will keep you from reaching your organization goals and objectives? (weakness)
Opportunities and Threats
Strengths and weaknesses are internal building blocks that determine the state of your organization. Let’s look at the external factors in a SWOT analysis that significantly influence your brand.
All elements in a market environment that help you grow or expand are considered opportunities. These include industry events, advertising, social media, partnerships, technologies, campaigns, and content.
On the other hand, the rise of competitors in the market, government regulations, bad media coverage, and changes to search engine algorithms are some of the common risks that can threaten a business.
Here are some questions to ask yourself that will help identify some of your opportunities and threats:
- Is there a need in the industry that you’re not meeting, but could? (opportunity)
- What do your customers ask for that you don’t offer, but could begin to offer? (opportunity)
What other barriers are keeping your organization from growing? (threat)
Knowing your audience is one of the main keys to your success. If you don’t know who your target market is, how will you know how to market to them, where they are or what their needs are? Knowing what they think about your products and services and their buying behavior keeps you one step ahead of your customers and competitors.
A customer persona, also known as a buyer persona, is a representation of your customer. You probably don’t have just one type of consumer. This means that you will have more than one customer persona. Building a customer persona pulls key traits from your customer base to create the ideal customer for your business. This gives you insight into what your customers think and challenges that they face.
Once you’ve identified your target customer personas you can create better segmentation. This enables you to target communication more effectively and provide your customers with a better user experience. You’re also able to target new customers who fit the profile of your persona.
Goals and Objectives
No organization can move forward without a clear set of goals they need to accomplish with detailed objectives to help them get there. The more aware you are about what you want to achieve in the next year or two, the sooner you can begin planning how you’re going to get there. The same goes for your company’s marketing.
Your marketing goals and objectives need to align with your business’ PVM and support your overall business goals and objectives. It’s crucial that these are clearly defined, specific and measurable. Collecting and evaluating the data at the end needs to be one of the key deliverables when setting goals and objectives. What does success look like? How will you measure success?
Establishing baselines is critical for any organization because it allows you to see any irregularities in the market or your audience. And, if you do see irregularities, you’re able to make changes quickly to counteract any factors that may prevent you from achieving success.
Core Marketing Stack
Another element that gives you great insight into your business’ current state of your marketing foundation is the core marketing stack. Your marketing stack is all marketing tools that you’ve invested in and their impact on your organization. An analysis of those tools will help you identify which tools are working, and which aren’t so you can fill in the gaps.
Evaluating your stack can create savings by identifying tools that aren’t contributing to your mission, goals and objectives. Additionally, you can make changes by canceling subscriptions or bringing in a new tool.
Your marketing stack may include tools used for any of the following:
- Email Marketing: Increase brand awareness and communicate to specific audience segments through email marketing campaigns. By sending targeted messages to potential clients and followers, businesses can stay top-of-mind in the minds of their target audience and drive traffic to their website or store location. Furthermore, email marketing is often less expensive and more efficient than other marketing channels such as social media marketing or traditional print advertisements. For these reasons, email marketing should be seen as an essential part of any marketing strategy as it can help businesses reach new customers, build relationships with existing customers, and boost overall sales growth.
- Content Generation: In today’s marketing landscape, content generation is more important than ever. This is because content has become a crucial part of any marketing strategy, allowing businesses to engage their audience and build brand awareness. To take full advantage of the power of content marketing, many businesses are incorporating content generation into their marketing stack. By leveraging the latest tools and technologies, these businesses are able to create high-quality content that resonates with their target audience and drives meaningful results.
- Customer Relationship Management (CRM): The use of CRM software as part of your marketing stack can be a highly effective way to enhance your marketing strategy and achieve better results. By integrating CRM tools into the marketing mix, businesses can gain valuable insights into customer behavior and preferences, allowing them to more effectively target their marketing efforts. Additionally, these tools help to optimize marketing campaigns through features like automated communications, streamlined workflows, and performance tracking. Overall, incorporating a CRM system into your marketing stack is a great way to optimize marketing performance and stay ahead of the competition.
- SEO and PPC: When it comes to marketing online, SEO and PPC are two important tools that should be included as part of your marketing stack. SEO, or search engine optimization, is a strategy focused on optimizing your website’s content in order to generate more traffic from search engines. This can include using relevant keywords and link building techniques in order to improve your site’s ranking on search engine results pages. In contrast, PPC, or pay-per-click marketing, is a strategy focused on displaying relevant ads in online spaces like search results or social media feeds. By incorporating both of these strategies into your marketing efforts, you can effectively target potential customers across a variety of channels and maximize the impact of your marketing campaigns. Whether you’re looking to grow your brand awareness or drive more conversions, using SEO and PPC as part of your marketing stack can help you achieve your goals and reach new heights.
- Social and Digital Media: Social media has become an important part of marketing strategies for businesses of all sizes. By reaching a wide range of users on a variety of platforms, social media can help businesses to build brand awareness and connect with potential customers. Additionally, marketing platforms built on top of social media can offer valuable insights into consumer behavior, allowing businesses to adapt their marketing messages and outreach tactics to better engage their target audience. Whether you are just starting out with social media marketing or looking to refine your existing strategy, there are many tools available that can help you make the most of this powerful marketing channel. For example, marketing automation software can help you to streamline your efforts and manage your campaigns more effectively, while tools like sentiment analysis can give you valuable feedback about how your marketing messages are resonating with customers. Ultimately, by incorporating social media into your marketing stack, you can reach more people and boost your bottom line.
- Video: Video marketing can be an extremely powerful tool for businesses looking to grow their marketing strategy. Whether you’re using video to reach new audiences through social media platforms like Facebook, YouTube, or Instagram, or using video content as part of your email marketing efforts, video has the power to connect with viewers on a deeper level and build brand awareness and loyalty.
The success of your organization is determined by a variety of factors, including the stability of your marketing foundation. Performing a detailed analysis of the current state of your marketing can provide valuable insight into where you need to make adjustments. This process should be performed regularly because it will help you identify any fluctuations within your organization and the market and make adjustments to mitigate any disruptions. It not only keeps you ahead of your competitors but also gives you competitive insights into all that needs to be improved.
We’re Here to Help
We’d love for you to schedule a free 15-minute call with one of our experts. At Tomato Fish, our goal is to help get you further along the road of creating a successful marketing strategy that takes you places!
Tomato Fish Is An Indianapolis Consulting Company Focused On Helping Small And Midsize Businesses Make Good Strategic Planning Decisions.