When I speak at conferences, I always encourage young marketing professionals to ‘think strategically‘. Most of them will tell me that their jobs are tactical and creating a ‘strategy’ is not one of their tasks. Some are intrigued by the idea and actually ask me what they should do to think strategically. While it may not be their job to create a company-wide marketing strategy, I want to help them obtain a strategic mind-set.
Thinking strategically in this case refers to your ability to articulate your contribution in support of the company’s goals and your stakeholders’ expectations. It’s about coming up with creative ideas to solve the challenges and issues of your internal customers and peers.
Three Simple Examples to Think Strategically
Articulate your roles and responsibilities in relationship to business goals
All of us can describe our jobs and responsibilities. Can you articulate how your work contributes to your company’s bottom line? When I ask young content marketers about their job scope, their answers tend to detail what they do on a daily basis: “Oh, I create content.” Or “I do everything from content creation to promotion.” That’s good and all, but it doesn’t tell me your impact on the company. To ‘think strategically’ is to be able to say: “I create content to help generate qualified leads and enable the sales team to win business deals.” Or “I create and promote useful content to increase our customer base.” To think strategically is to connect your daily work to the company’s business direction so that you know where you stand and what you contribute as a valuable player of a company. This will also help you prioritize your work.
Translate business objective to content marketing objectives
When I worked at a corporation, I would take the annual business strategy and goals and break them down to relate to the tasks for my team. It helped my team connect their actions to the overall goals of the company. All of us were in trenches of marketing execution, and occasionally we would lose sight of the ultimate objectives.
To think strategically is to be able to connect business objectives to your content marketing objectives and then to the tactical tasks you perform.
Increase <x>% of revenue <$xM> by expanding to <segment>.
Establish <Product> as the preferred choice for <Whom> in the <Segment> by building awareness & driving demand.
Content marketing objective:
Build awareness and drive demand for <Product> as the preferred choice for <Whom> in the <Segment> by creating and promoting relevant to relevant channels.
Have a strong grasp of your company’s marketing communications and promotion channels
Another way to help you think strategically is to have a holistic view of your company’s marketing communications channels. Taking an inventory of your company’s promotion channels will help you determine the formats of content and the channels that you can utilize for your content promotion efforts. By understanding the relevant marketing communications channels you can identify opportunities for content marketing specific initiatives that can add value. You can share ideas on what you can do to support your internal customers.
Examples of different marketing channels in a company
Owned media: events (launch events, partnership events, sponsorships etc.), websites, microsites, communities, blog, company’s print magazine, webinars, social media channels, e-mail marketing, membership/loyalty programs.
Paid media: TV, print, sponsorships, paid social media, ads, paid keywords, direct postal marketing, paid influencers, any paid promotional efforts
Earned media: free media impressions such as sharing, viewing, liking and retweeting generated your followers.
The three examples I shared have the same requirement: have a holistic view of your company. It’s about elevating yourself to the 64,000 foot level. When you start seeing the forest, not the trees, you will start to have a different perspective. When you can relate your job to the company’s business objectives and goals, you can start envisioning new content marketing ideas to support product roadmaps and marketing communications channels. Being a strategic thinker is about connecting the dots. Determine what you do on a daily basis to further your company’s vision and business objectives.