Trying to implement a marketing approach that has critical elements missing is like trying to make a pie without the ingredients to form the crust. Or in some cases, without an oven to bake it in!

Baking pie

There are four essential elements every successful marketing approach must have:

  • Strategy – What are you trying to do, and why?
  • Tactic(s) – How will you do it?
  • Tool(s) – What will you need to do it well?
  • Medium or Venue – Where will you do it?

If any one of these ingredients is missing, your approach will be less effective than it could be, and in many cases, will fail completely. Here are four examples to show you where an incomplete marketing plan can go wrong.

1. Approach: Network with prospective clients to meet new people who might hire you.

Strategy: Networking

Tactics: Go to meetings and events; follow up with those you meet

Tool: Business cards

What’s missing? Medium/Venue: What meetings and events do your potential clients attend? If you don’t know this, going to events may be a waste of time. You need to seek out meetings where most of the attendees are in your target market.

2. Approach: Post content of interest to prospective clients on social media.

Tactic: Make regular posts on social media

Tool: Interesting content

Medium/Venue: Facebook and Twitter

What’s missing? Strategy: What are you trying to accomplish with these posts? Why are you making them? When you haven’t considered this, you won’t be able to choose the right sort of content to post or what action you want readers to take after viewing it. For example, it you want to drive traffic to your website, then you need original content, not just items you share.

3. Build referrals by meeting with potential referral partners by phone or for coffee.

Strategy: Referral-building

Tactic: Meet with referral partners

Medium/Venue: Phone calls/coffee

What’s missing? Tools: Who would make a good referral partner for you, and what do they need to know about your business? For meetings like these to be successful, you need to carefully define your target market and search out people who have contact with it. You also need to be able to describe to potential partners who would be a good client for you, and how to know when prospective clients might need you.

4. Speak at meetings and events attended by people in your target market.

Strategy: Public speaking

Tools: Definition of desired audience; speaking topics related to what you do

Medium/Venue: Meetings and events frequented by target market

What’s missing? Tactics: How will you go about landing these speaking gigs? Will you be approaching event sponsors directly by email or phone? Asking for referrals to sponsors from your contacts? Hiring someone to locate and book speaking engagements for you? Without defining your tactics, this approach is just an idea, and not yet a plan.

Compare your marketing ideas and plans to this four-ingredient recipe and see if you’ve left something out. When you include all the right elements while baking your marketing pie, it’s much more likely to produce a delicious result.

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