You’ve heard the word, and no doubt providers-a-plenty have stopped by promising they can give it to you. You may have just thought “I just sell _____, I don’t have time to strategize.” There’s no shame at all in discovering that you may be a part of the vast majority who have been misled altogether about business’s biggest buzzword, “strategy.”
1. Unless you devise one, it doesn’t exist. Probably the most common misconception, and unfortunately one of the most detrimental. The fact is that if you’re in business, no matter what you do, a strategy exists. It’s living and breathing every moment you do business… The only real question is whether or not you’re aware, and therefore in control, of it.
2. A strategy is something for a specific product push, not the brand. True, any development and release of any product or service is far better-executed if done with a solid strategy, but the truth is that there is already a strategy to everything you do. It subsequently ends up representing your brand as a whole, so it’s definitely important for you not to be the last to know.
3. A strategy is… Are you over-thinking it? Or, has it been so over-sold to you that you’re not sure if it’s even something you can do by yourself? There’s no shame at all in reaching out for help, but be careful – digital services has become quite the over-saturated, overly-opportunistic industry, and finding a trustworthy guide is critical. Simplified as much as possible, strategy is simply your goal and the means by which you choose to achieve it; for example:
a. To educate one’s target market about the superior quality of choosing their brand
b. To attain generations of repeat business by adhering to industry changes and changing customer needs and feedback
c. To gain a reputation for the best customer service in my PMA (primary market area) by giving individual attention to every customer as if they were family
d. To gain a permanent foothold in my immediate market area via community involvement
Whether you’ve written it down, turned it into a landing page or not spoken of it at all, your strategy does show through in every customer interaction and every business transaction you make. Just as important as taking control of your own strategy is getting a digital grasp. If you’re not a child of the information age, then you’re among the most entitled to seek the assistance of a professional, just as you would with any other specialty.
According to recent Google research, more than 95% of smartphone users search the web with their mobile devices, and about two-thirds of those searches result in a call or a visit to a store.[i] If reading that made you a bit nervous about whether you’re anywhere in that equation, you have 3 critical needs:
- Assess – get a digital reality check; uncover the truth about your current online presence, your target audience’s online presence, and, if need be, let a marketing expert bring you up to speed on the ROI of today’s tactics to bring synchronicity between the two
- Allocate – The most important investment you can make in today’s business landscape is in your online presence; quite simply, well over 93% of U.S. adults are looking for brand information on Facebook, and 425 million of them are using their mobile devices to do so – will you be found? How?
- Assume nothing! One of the benefits of the information age is that it’s far more than a two-way street now, and a smart business is one that uses the information gathered to learn what its customers are searching for. Too many businesses say “I want to rank highly for…” but don’t take a moment to realize that this desire is not based in actionable data, what customers are actually searching for, and would therefore be a pointless effort.
Now, take a look around… just as strategy infuses every move you make and every impression formed of you, you now have to take into account your infrastructure. Is your human capital dedicated and ready to raise the bar? Are there changes necessary to your brick-and-mortar presence based on insights to your customer base? We’re in an experience-based economy, so improving your digital strategy could entail anything from better website navigation and a stronger social media presence to WiFi in your waiting room or a different customer service procedure.
Once you’ve become aware of all these points as value propositions, promote them, and watch them turn into competitive advantages!