Processing Your Payment

Please do not leave this page until complete. This can take a few moments.

April 20, 2015 How To

How to work smarter and market your company more effectively

In marketing, being busy isn't always a good thing.

Early in my career, when I was working in Sugarloaf's marketing department, I was constantly on the go. It was the mid '80s. Sugarloaf was headed for a major restructuring. More than $3 million in improvements were under way. The stakes were high. We were all super busy all of the time, working very hard to attract skiers and to make sure the investment paid off.

We were traveling to trade shows, meeting with journalists in New York City, going to gala events, working with the U.S. Ski Team, organizing special events at the mountain, organizing media visits, sending out press kits, shooting photos and video. It was a heady time. But half the time we had no idea where the “busyness” was getting us. Was all this work paying off? Though Sugarloaf's efforts to reinvent itself were ultimately successful, at the time we really didn't know.

In those days, marketing and public relations were not as strategic as they are today. If I could go back in time, I would tell my 20-something self to take a step back from churning out stuff and develop a long-term strategy.

A marketing strategy is a game plan. First, you think about your objectives, what your strengths and weaknesses are, the best opportunities for growth, and how much money and human resources you can realistically put toward your marketing effort. You weigh the competition. You define your target audiences and what about your product motivates and inspires them. You even go to the extent of creating avatars so you can envision your targeted audience as real human beings, and figure out how to best connect with them. Then, and only then, do you begin to map out what tools will be used to achieve your vision.

It could involve tactics related to the development of a stronger brand platform, social media, pitching story ideas to the media, web-based marketing, community outreach, advertising, and more. It all depends on what you are trying to achieve and the nature of your business. The best marketing strategies use multiple approaches, enabling you to hit those you are trying to influence with consistent messages across multiple media.

The keys are that messaging remains consistent and all endeavors work together to achieve the same goal. That's why developing a strategy is so important. Strategizing gives you time to step back and look at the big picture, ensuring all of your hard work has a purpose and you know what success will look like.

Another essential facet of any good marketing strategy would be measurement tools. I recommend developing a weekly or monthly measurement dashboard, a visual representation of your results. What is on your dashboard will depend on your organization and its objectives. It might include the level of social media interaction over a given time period, how many times key brand messages were mentioned in the news, web traffic increases, and how many marketing-driven inquiries translated into sales.

It's also helpful to incorporate a timeline into your strategy. The timeline serves as a checklist to ensure tasks are completed on time. Dividing the work associated with your strategy in this manner will also make implementation seem much more manageable. Assigning realistic deadlines takes away some of the guesswork.

There is wisdom in the adage, “work smarter, not harder.” We all work hard, but it's important to have energy left to think creatively, network and lead enriching personal lives. It makes us better, more successful professionals. Having a well-thought-out marketing strategy in place allows you to achieve that balance. You'll also feel great satisfaction in knowing you are playing an important role in your organization's success, and you'll have the results to prove it.

Nancy Marshall is founder and CEO of Nancy Marshall Communications in Augusta. She can be reached at

Sign up for Enews


Order a PDF