Creating and Delivering Engaging Communications That Sell
2 Simple Tips to Help You Move from Strategy to Execution
Sometimes, there is a gap between strategy and execution. Just like in football. Sometimes, you have a great strategy to win, you build several opportunities, but in the end, you do not bring home the result. It goes without saying that a fantastic market-positioning strategy is pointless without good execution. So, how do we bridge the gap between the two to make sure that we bring our well-crafted marketing strategy to life?
We found the answer in a 2000-year-old quotation that is often attributed to Confucius: Tell them and they will forget, show them and they will remember, involve them and they will understand.
Tip 1: Work side-by-side with the creative agency throughout the process.
One of the best methods of ensuring that any execution truly reflects the strategy behind it is for the marketing team to work closely with the creative agency – every step of the way. The following exercises will help the creative agency to understand the target group and the marketing strategy:
1. Mood board and role play
Seen as an old-school practice by some, the customer target mood board can really help the creative agency understand who they need to talk to. By cutting pictures from magazines or simply using the Internet, participants build a profile in detail. This can truly help the brand team and the agency to align and fully understand the target group’s lifestyle, self-image, brand consumption patterns, and more importantly their passions, hopes, and fears (tension points). Sometime a picture really is worth a thousand words.
Add a role play activity to the process once the mood board has been completed. Ask 2–3 participants to enjoy a lifestyle conversation broadly related to your product category. They will think, feel, and act like the target group, thus helping the creative agency to get under the skin of the target customer segment you have selected. The mood board compilation and the accompanying role play really make a difference and can also be a useful tool inside the company to align marketing, sales, and other internal functions to focus their combined efforts to create and deliver customer value.
2. What the brand is, and what it is not
Sometimes, creatives go too far and can misinterpret the meaning of some of the key values of the brand. This exercise asks the creatives to list those key values that represent the brand, mirrored by their “extreme.” For example, Activia (the yogurt from Danone) should be interpreted as healthy but not as a medicine, as an energy boost but not as an energy drink, as an expert but not as a know-it-all. This exercise helps the creative agency to truly understand each value that is embodied by the brand.
Tip 2: Engage the sales team
Crucial to making a marketing campaign a success is involving the sales team. In the FMCG (Fast Moving Consumer Goods) industry, for instance, the sales department is also in charge of “activating” the points of sale with the right promotional material related to the current campaign. Indeed, it is not a secret that the impact of a marketing campaign is only maximized if it resonates inside the store as well as outside.
Here are a few tips to better engage the sales team:
1. Set the objectives together
Every marketing campaign should also be linked to customer objectives that align with specific sales objectives. Take the important step of translating sales numbers into specific actions you need the customer to take (trial, repeat, etc.) that produce the sales volume and profit numbers that are important to Sales and Marketing departments. Both departments should share and agree on these aligned numbers from the beginning. This process allows the sales team to feel a sense of ownership and commitment to overall objectives that are developed with the marketing team.
2. Speak the same language
Many times the language spoken by the marketing team can be different to that of the sales team. Thus, instead of making a distinction between “shoppers or customers,” for example, a human-centric approach allows everyone in the company to speak the same language. The objective should always be to create a strategy that aims to engage the customer through the different touch-points of the buying process.
3. From selling products to selling a brand experience
Involve the sales team in the brand positioning process. They need to be the first ones to believe in it because, in the end, a brand positioning strategy is about answering the question: “What are you really selling?” Pedigree for instance, moved from selling pet food, to selling a love of dogs, like the campaign link shows: