Marketing Blog for Translators and Interpreters – #marketingforxl8

Strategy first, tactics second: Choose the direction of your marketing plan

Marketing Strategy

Strategy first, tactics second: Choose the direction of your marketing plan

Working on your marketing without a strategy is a little like wanting to bake a three-tier red velvet cake with the ingredients for a modest Victoria sponge. And throwing the recipe out the window.

You’ve got the ingredients for it but you don’t know how and when to mix them and what the outcome should look like (well, unless you’re a very good baker but you must admit that came with years of experience!).

It’s the same with marketing – first, you need to practice to get better at it, and second, you need a strategy to know where you want it to go.

With a strategy that is established from the very beginning, your business will have a vision, a mission, and goals that will lay the foundation for all activities within your company and help you choose the right steps to reach your goals.

But what is a strategy?

The Business Dictionary defines a strategy as:

“A method or plan chosen to bring about a desired future, such as achievement of a goal or solution to a problem.”

What is your desired future?

Strategy comes before tactical planning and it’s one of the most important parts of creating and developing your business. But hey, it’s not as dull as it sounds. Constructing your strategy can actually be fun – plus, it’s very beneficial for your business.

Strategic thinking allows you to plan for the future, conjure ideas and prepare direction in which to progress your marketing plan and therefore your business. It also helps you foresee (and avoid) any obstacles and prepare for different scenarios but most importantly, it helps you decide on a course of action.

It should be a central element of your management philosophy because it will allow you to make confident, rational decisions. Luckily, improving your strategic thinking isn’t hard. To become better at it, try to reflect more on ideas and plans, making connections between them to better the outcome of your plan. Think big picture at all times. Will that series of little steps take me where I want to go? Or is it just a waste of time?

It’s also important to be decisive and use your resources wisely in order to implement your strategy.

I know the excitement of starting a new business makes us all want to get cracking and throw stuff out there, but I can’t emphasise enough the value of strategic thinking and having established goals that you are committed to achieving.    

Here’s a little sliver of proof:

Marketers are 313% more likely to achieve success when they implement a strategy.

And here remember – having a strategy is one thing but implementing it is what gets you there!

Before establishing your own business and marketing strategies
  • Know where you are right now (research)

Distinguish your present strategy – is it existent, non-existent, half-way there? Are your objectives being met? Take a look at what’s working and what’s not working so well. Be decisive.

  • Know where you want to go (business vision)

Now you can think about which direction you want to take your business. A good strategy reflects your business’s core values and the desired end result. For example, a marketing translation company might want to increase their authority on the advertising market and get more contracts with ad agencies. Or, as a freelance translator you may want to change your specialisations or become known as a go-to person for legal translations. Knowing what you want and deciding on the direction is very important. Remember it’s not set in stone, but it is what you want now!

  • Know who you’re talking to (audience research)

Knowing your audience will help you connect better with them through targeted marketing. For example, if you’re offering financial translations and your target audience is insurance companies, you would need to find a tone of voice that speaks directly to them. You’ll also need to present yourself as a very trustworthy company and advertise in the spaces that the insurance companies are likely to see.  In other words, you would need to find out more about insurance companies, how they find translation companies, how they work with translators etc. to gain a deeper understanding of their motives and actions to gain their trust and custom.

  • Know what you want to achieve (goals)

Is it your goal to be one of the few innovative, technology-driven companies in the country? The leading quick service translator in your language pair (while charging fair rates for it!)? Or perhaps something humbler like, to deliver translations to companies manufacturing only vegan or organic products? What do you want your business to be remembered for? How much do you want to earn? Go ahead and take some time to reflect on what you really want from your business and then we can focus on how you’re going to get there.   

How is strategy different from tactics?

Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory. Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat. – Sun Tzu.

“Tactics” is a little word that often steals the spotlight from “strategy”. It’s easy to get the two mixed up or to think they mean the same thing, but they’re actually two different things and one stems from the other.

Strategy is your business plan, your vision, your long-term objectives.

i.e. A medical translation company has a goal to increase its exposure in Italy. They want to be seen as an authoritative figure in medical translations for English – Italian language pair, in addition to their position in the UK. Their strategy is to become more visible to the Italian medical clients, clinics, medical equipment manufacturers through direct marketing, targeted warm email campaigns, online publications and industry networking.

Tactics are the steps that are going to achieve your strategy.

i.e.  A tactic for the medical translation company would be to analyse popular Italian medical publications and place relevant advertising, join Italian translation associations, join online medical groups and forums to find out more about their customers, as well as attend networking events in Italy, exhibiting at Italian medical events, sending welcome promotional packs by post etc. – so defined actions.  

Are you a strategic thinker?

Do you find it easy to make decisive decisions and use your resources in the most effective way to reach your marketing goals?

I’d love to hear your strategy tips below!

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