The first quarter is over. Ideally, you've been implementing the marketing strategy for your brand for just about three full months and you’ve seen some positive results. However, for some this may not be the case and many factors can drive less than stellar results. So, as you continue to implement your brand marketing strategy, I want to take a moment to draw your attention to several reasons why strategies frequently land up in the dust when it comes to practical implementation.
1. Your goals are poorly defined. Before the strategy was written, your goals weren’t clearly defined and agreed upon by all key players in marketing and the C-suite. When this happens, every time an expense for marketing comes up, it needs to be re-negotiated and fought for because you're "reselling" pieces of the strategy to the people that hold the purse strings. So, before you write it, come to an agreement on the goals and be sure to get sign-off on them.
2. Your goals are way too aggressive. If the goals are unrealistic given the time allowed to achieve them, available staff and the laws of physics, then failure is inevitable. Make sure you set goals that can be achieved as this will do wonders for the mental well-being of both you and your staff.
3. You lack buy-in. A solid marketing communications strategy is always driven by the corporate brand. Everyone in the company plays a role in living up to the corporate brand, from the C-suite to the receptionist. Make sure everyone's aware of your strategy so you can move forward as a team. They should be aware of your ad campaign themes, direct marketing programs, online campaigns and strategies, etc.
4. Nobody's held accountable for success. Strategies can lose their footing quickly and collapse completely when nobody's held accountable for their specific responsibilities in implementation.
5. There is a lack of skill in the implementation. Are you sure your people have the full skill sets necessary to implement their respective parts? I find this to be the case quite frequently when visiting with prospective clients in the mortgage industry.
6. Lack of resources. The most troubling part of the strategy equation is when you invest all the time and energy in developing a strategy just to find out that there's no budget for it! Or, the budget is so slim that there's no realistic way of executing it and having a true degree of impact. With this, every line item is debated and scrutinized before being approved. Try to be sure you have a budget up front so you can set reasonable goals. But if your company just doesn't operate this way, at least go into it with your eyes wide open so you can avoid some of the inevitable disappointment−or be very pleasantly surprised!
7. The market has changed. When you develop the strategy, make sure you're ready to adapt to changing market conditions that can influence resources made available. In the mortgage industry, conditions can change very quickly which certainly changes how marketing, public relations, branding and social media dollars are spent.
I hope this helps you isolate any potential challenges to your success. Have a great second quarter!
Click here to download “How to Build Your Corporate Online Brand” for mortgage industry communications professionals.