How to Develop a Commercial Marketing Strategy for your Business (DIY)
Articulating how your business is going to grow – identifying where to play and how to win – is something that you can, and should, take ownership of. You shouldn’t look to outsource this to an external business with only a passing understanding of what you are all about. Developing a strategy internally has many advantages. It makes participating staff feel valued and ensures their buy-in from an early stage. By getting a variety of perspectives from within the business, you may uncover things that you hadn’t considered before.
How to Get Started
We often get asked by companies "How do we develop a Commercial Marketing Strategy ourselves?" With the right information, the right people and the right motivation, a strong strategy is an achievable goal.
In this video, Adam Baker and Stephanie Moe of the Bord Bia Client Capability Team show you how a Commercial Marketing Strategy Development process can be facilitated within your own business.
Identify Who to Involve
Identify who in your company should be involved in shaping the future of the business. Involving staff from different functions will ensure buy-in to the process from the early stages and bring fresh thinking too. A range of people on your ‘strategy crack team’ will bring different skills and understanding but they’ll also help to embed the final strategy more widely within the company so it’s a clear ‘win-win’.
Put in Place a Kick-Off Session
Use this session to identify the objectives of the project, ensuring that everyone is on the same page and agree the best approach. Establish a project lead and agree a plan with timelines, putting a number of sessions in the diary and allocating clear roles and responsibilities to ensure everyone is fully engaged.
The number of sessions needed will vary depending on what you are trying to achieve. If, you are looking to answer a key question for the business or address a single decision then you may achieve this with just a couple of sessions. If however, you wish to develop a full commercial marketing strategy from start to finish, you may wish to allocate a greater number of sessions over a longer period of time. Often this process can take between 3 and 6 months.
Be realistic when setting timelines. You need to acknowledge everyone’s existing workload and try to ensure that any additional tasks to feed into the strategy development project are manageable. At the same time, you don’t want to have sessions so far apart that momentum is lost. Striking a balance here is important. It is key to set milestones and to try to keep to these and not to push back meetings. Developing a strategy never seems urgent, there will always be seemingly more pressing things to do, so you need to create a sense of urgency around this process and ensure that all those involved prioritise it accordingly, not letting it slip – if that starts to happen, you may never complete it.
Ensure That Everyone Inputs
Some people are naturally more vocal than others. You may have members of your team that are less inclined to speak out in a group situation. Their inputs are just as valid so you need to devise ways to ensure that your strategy isn’t overly influenced by a few more dominant voices. Think of engaging ways to involve everyone. Getting people to capture their thoughts individually and then share can be helpful, as can breaking out into smaller groups or pairs.
From the outset, identify the key tasks that will need to be completed and assess the workload involved. Strike a balance in terms of ownership of these, perhaps sharing the load between those that may have more time to do some of the ‘heavy lifting’ or research required, and those that may be well placed to derive insight from any findings. By acknowledging people’s time and setting realistic expectations of people, you are more likely to keep everyone engaged.
Track Your Progress and Update the Business
It’s important to track your progress as you go. Document decisions as you make them and capture these in a way that is visible to all. Some of the tools and templates that Bord Bia has developed can help you to do this. Clearly capturing the decisions made as you develop your commercial marketing strategy, showing the progress you are making, will inspire those directly involved to stick with the process.
The strategy project lead should also ensure that progress is shared regularly within the wider business. It is important to ensure buy-in to the process and to secure ongoing support required.
It’s a great idea to round-off your Commercial Marketing Strategy development process by sharing the final strategy in a business-wide presentation or event. This is a good way to share the thought process followed and the reasoning for decisions reached but also allows you highlight the implications of the work completed, identifying the next steps and how they will impact everyone. Importantly, it is also nice to thank those involved and to celebrate a job well done