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A Forward-Looking Plan Can Help Achieve Change

Intentional marketing demands discipline. A Marketing RoadMap meets that need.

To achieve any type of significant change - be it personal or professional - you need a forward-looking plan, and at times, a complete transition. And for a business to initiate changes that will lead to real growth and profitability, a forward-looking Marketing RoadMap is needed. A Marketing RoadMap aligns your broader organizational strategy, goals, and objectives to the specific initiatives, campaigns, activities, and resource allocations (time, budgets, staffing) needed to achieve those objectives. When putting change into practice, fear of letting go of past programs, processes, perceptions, and even people, has no place. For forward-looking growth, you need a well-defined plan. 

If the time you are spending on marketing is not making an impact, if the money you are spending is not realizing a return on your investment, and if your structure is inhibiting your ability to try new things, it is time to make a change. And a Marketing RoadMap will let you do this.

What are the steps to take when creating a Marketing RoadMap? 

Audit yourself. You must be able to see how well your current marketing functions relative to goals and projections. Your audit will also inform on how well each function aligns with available resources, and how each adapts to interruptions and change. Audit findings give a clear picture: what is working, what is not, what is missing, what must be added, and how to structure the implementation for success.

Assess the strength of your brand. You must be able to see if your brand is connecting with authenticity to external audiences. Your assessment starts with a qualitative review of the emotional essence of your brand.  A brand’s emotional essence – its values, purpose, and authenticity – is the image conjured when someone sees your logo or hears your name. This, the soul of your brand, evokes that emotional bond. But your brand must also have rational brand positioning – the specific benefits and differentiating features that set your brand apart and promise value. Strong brands must have both emotional and rational dimensions. Brand development exercises and interviews help to articulate a brand's emotional connecting points, codify the rational brand positioning, and develop branded messaging. 

Look for the gaps. And seize those open opportunities that directly relate to your positioning in the market versus the competition. 
Your audit should not stop at your internal analysis; you need to be realistic about who your competition is in order to also assess where you exist among them. This exploration should include answers to questions such as: How are your competitors positioned? What are they doing to achieve their business goals? What best practices outside of your immediate practice area are intriguing to you? And can any be converted in order to realize growth? And while looking externally, interview your clients and prospects to see how they describe you and to see if you are in alignment. 

Take chances. Effective marketing relies on organized, focused, foundational growth strategies. Don’t be afraid to take calculated risks. Your RoadMap is an effective snapshot in time. But do not attempt to do it all at once. Prioritize what needs to be done and act on those items, with schedules, staffing assignments, and realistic budgets. And once a program piece is complete, go back to your RoadMap to see what should be put into action next. If your team is unfamiliar with a new discipline or technology, they will be challenged to identify and retain the best vendor or platform. Free them from this task with seasoned outside consultants to work alongside your organization. 

Intentional marketing demands discipline. A Marketing RoadMap meets that need.