With each year that passes, we are bombarded with new marketing tactics. Some are good and worth exploring, while others aren’t worth a second thought. This ranges from new social media platforms to old ones that are constantly trying to remain relevant. Or ChatGPT and AI taking over the roles of writer, photographer, graphic designer, and other creative services. The purpose of this blog post is not to break these down and tell you what trends to pursue and avoid, but instead to strip away all of that noise, and remind you to get back to the roots of marketing.
To do this, you need to slow down and take a step back. If there’s one thing that can’t be disputed about today’s marketing world, it’s that it moves fast. While this is necessary for breaking news and real-time social media efforts, when it comes to your larger marketing plan, there should be a sound strategy in place that was thoughtfully developed OVER TIME. Your overarching plan shouldn’t be developed at the same fast pace that certain tactics are deployed. Having a solid marketing plan will give you the foundation to firmly dig your feet into when setting direction, and it will help ensure that all of your marketing efforts are in line and on strategy.
In marketing, it’s easy to get distracted by the shiny new toys and the latest viral trend. While these might impact the tactics you deploy, you don’t want to get so distracted by them that you lose sight of the bigger picture – your overarching strategy. Although not quite as sexy, your strategy is essential to your success. So, let’s take a moment to get back to the basics.
One of the most fundamental things you can do to help determine your position in the space you want to play in is a SWOT Analysis. Dating back to the 1960s, a SWOT Analysis remains one of the most widely used practices in marketing today. It’s basic. It’s simple. But it’s effective, and it’s here to stay.
If you’re not familiar with the acronym SWOT, it stands for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. Ideally, you would do this analysis with a trusted partner to guide you (enter BluFish), but if you’re doing it alone, here are some questions you can ask yourself to get started.
Strengths – What are your main points of difference? What can you hang your hat on? What is it that you do best? Let your strengths be the star.
Weaknesses – Where do you need to improve? What’s your biggest weakness? It’s important that you focus on improving these areas before heavily marketing them.
Opportunities – Is there a competitor who’s failing? Is there an untapped market area? Are you first to market? Let’s find ways to grow!
Threats – Is there a new player in town with a bigger budget? Is there a big-box store or online retailer cutting into your margins? Do you anticipate industry changes in the near future that would impact your business? Acknowledging your threats provides you with opportunities to overcome them.
The questions above are merely scratching the surface. Depending on the industry or business you’re in, your SWOT may look different. The process is also flexible, and can involve as few or as many people from your organization as you would like. When determining who to involve, it’s worth considering people from different departments with varying levels of authority as this will help you gather unique perspectives. The last thing you want is for the people involved to have the exact same opinions, or for your SWOT results to be skewed due to groupthink. The success of your SWOT hinges on gathering honest opinions from those with valuable input. Get the right set of people in the room and create a safe environment for productive discussions to happen.
Oh, and while you’re leaning into an old-school method that’s tried and true, don’t forget to snap a photo of the process for your social media!