You Ask, I Answer: Explaining the Value of Marketing Strategy?

Jake asks, “As a marketing agency owner, we frequently run into the issue of clients not wanting (or simply not understanding) to pay for “Strategy” … Since it’s a grey area and hard to measure. How do you articulate or show the value of marketing strategy?”

Strategy tends to be amorphous for people because we don’t explain it well, and because they have their own preconceived ideas of what strategy is. To get answers to this question, we need to define strategy first.

What’s the value of an incoherent menu?

What’s the value of the wrong destination?

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Machine-Generated Transcript

What follows is an AI-generated transcript. The transcript may contain errors and is not a substitute for watching the video.

In today’s episode Jake asks, as a marketing agency owner, we frequently run into the issue of clients not wanting or simply not understanding to pay for strategy, when quote marks, since it’s a gray area and hard to measure, how do you articulate or show the value of marketing strategy? Well, so here’s a question.

How do you define strategy? Right? This is this is critical to the understanding of the answer to this question, because if the definition of strategy is one that is out of line with what your client understands strategy to be, of course, they’re going to have trouble paying for it or justifying the value of and if you’re not clear about what strategy is.

And its value, then, obviously, it’s gonna be hard for you to articulate as well.

Based on the question, strategy, being a great area and hard to measure.

I’d say there’s a need to explore some definitions.

So strategy tends to be a morphus.

Because we don’t explain it well, right.

And because in our clients minds, they may have a totally different idea of what we’re talking about.

I remember I used to work for this one company where the CEO would talk about strategy all the time.

But they would not be talking about the formal definition of strategy.

If you think about it, in terms of strategy is sort of the Why are you doing something tactics, though? What are you gonna do? and execution is how you do the thing, right? So your strategy might be you’re going to do social media marketing for lead generation, that’s why what are you going to do? We’re going to post on Facebook, how you’re going to do that we’re going to do these at this ad copy and these images, etc, etc.

And then your measurement is did you achieve the goal that you set out the why you were doing things in the first place? What why what how framework makes it very easy to To break down what someone’s talking about, but also highlights where their their gaps are.

For this company I used to work for in the past, the CEO was so fixated on the tactics, but kept calling the tactics strategy, like so what are we going to do with this? What are we going to do with this? What are we going to do with this thing? How are we going to do email marketing better? How are we going to get a higher open rate? All those those are very tactical and execution based things? They’re not strategic things that question for example, why would you want to do email marketing the first place or why wouldn’t you want to do email marketing? Once you achieve that level of clarity with somebody to say this is what we’re going to use as the commonly accepted definition of strategy, then you can start exploring analogies that help them understand better what strategy means for their company.

If you think about I often like to say with strategy it’s it’s the difference between cooking and planning a menu strategy At the planning on the menu, right? The actual cooking is the the tactics execution.

You know what dishes? Go on the menu is strategy.

Do you put fried ice cream and sofritas next to sushi? Maybe Maybe not depends on the name of the restaurant.

If you are a pancake restaurant, probably none of those items belong on your menu, right, that strategy, what belongs on the menu.

And if your menu is incoherent, it becomes very obvious very quickly that people don’t die in that they’re like this.

This place makes no sense.

I came in here for a cup of coffee and an omelet and you’ve given me some artists and herbal tea, and a pile of raw fish.

This is not what I had in mind for breakfast.

Now, if you were say a Norwegian restaurant, you might have a lot of like pickled herring and stuff, but if you’re just a standard pancake place, not a whole lot of pancakes involve pickled herring.

Once you illustrate it in those terms, then it becomes clear that the strategy itself, the menu plan itself is wrong.

Right? So in marketing, what is on the menu of things that you’re going to do, when you look at your strategy and you look at what customers want from you, it should be abundantly clear that if if you are on big mildy, a just a comparison here, if you’re serving people, say, my age and their 40s, and your strategy is all in on Tiktok, I don’t even use Tiktok.

Right.

So clearly what’s on your menu and what’s on my desired to be on the menu are completely out of sync.

Right.

So that’s a that’s a strategic judgment that what’s on the menu.

A second way of explaining it to people is, what’s the value of the correct or wrong destination in your GPS? Right.

Strategy is, what’s the destination? Where are we going? tactics are things like What are we going to use to get there? And executions? How do we do that? So a strategy could be, I want to go from Boston to San Diego tactics, or what method of transportation Am I going to take? Because a trains car, making a road trip, I’m gonna fly there.

And then how do i do those things like real? What are the driving directions? If I’m going to make that a road trip? What’s the value of the wrong destination? What’s the value of the correct destination? When we’re trying to illustrate the value of strategy to somebody, we’re trying to illustrate the value of going to the right place, which again, requires us to have some insights.

So where the audience wants to go where we want to go and are those two things align, if they’re not aligned, how do we align them up? proving the value of this is it’s it is difficult to measure.

It is difficult to measure because it requires you to have things like really good attribution models.

Really good tracking really good ROI.

Need channel tracking so that you can see what’s happened with customers really good.

A really good perspective on on the customer as a as a whole person and not just as a collection of individual data points.

But it is apparent when somebody has the wrong destination is apparent when somebody has the wrong menu.

When you look historically back in the mp3 player space, it was apparent that Apple had the winning destination, which was an mp3 player with a really easy to use understandable interface and great design, the Microsoft Zune not so much, right.

That’s a clearly a case where you can see the value of the correct and the wrong destination when you can see the value of a coherent menu versus an incoherent menu.

So the question is in your industry, with your clients, or your customers, what is a coherent menu look like? What Does a correct destination look like? This is where competitive analysis really is important because you may or may not be clear on your menu on your destination.

But when you look at what your competitors are offering, and you look at what seems to be resonating with those customers, it hints at the direction that you need to go.

If customers know, again, looking at the electronics market, customers really gravitated towards a a smartphone, a phone that had no physical buttons on the interface with just a touchscreen.

And it became apparent very early on that that was the way to go.

And if you were Blackberry, you didn’t figure that out.

You need to figure that out and you lost a sizable amount of market share.

And that experience had to be a good experience.

Right? So that was what kind of doomed the Windows Phone but cost awesome.

matters, which is why the Android operating system has become the dominant mobile system because it is substantially cheaper and customers find that it’s good.

It’s close enough to the iPhone experience, but substantially less cost than the iPhone experience.

So that’s the value of strategy and the way to measure it to weight the way to talk about it with clients.

It is valuable, but only if the client understands its value and can see based on competitive analysis based on their own experiences in the past, what that strategy gets them, right, it gets them a coherent menu, it gets them to the right destination on their GPS.

It makes the trip easier, if you will.

So give that a shot with clients.

You have follow up questions leave them in the comment box below.

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