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From the days of Microsoft Visio and ConceptDraw to Google Drawings and the upcoming innovative Google Jamboard #PleaseeeGoogleCanIHaveOne, drawing ideas has always been part of my toolbox.

 

There’s no doubt about the popularity (and success) of visual content – content with relevant images gets 94% more views than content without). But, for some reason us marketers have no problems creating visual content for our customers – despite rarely using visuals for our own marketing planning.

And it’s time for a change.

 

As a marketer, drawing a new concept, wireframe, landing page layout, purchasing funnel, workflow or a campaign strategy can help you make your point.

Whether it’s on a whiteboard in your office, a notebook or the back of a receipt – visuals are exceptional for organizing ideas and data.

Before I draw a mindmap for marketing planning, here are a couple of rules for success:

 

Don’t think. Draw!

To be honest, I’m far from being Leonardo da Vinci (the drawing below is your proof).

Perhaps the idea of drawing might make you nervous, or you’re uncomfortable with the medium – don’t worry. This isn’t an art contest.

Start drawing and ignore the way it looks or the order of your elements. Simply put your thoughts into drawing and together with the team, everything will fall into place.

 

Gain attention & Enjoy the process

Forgot PowerPoints and say hello to the whiteboard.

The whiteboard is becoming a popular tool in the business environment today – and with good reason. About 65% of us are visual learners, and when you’re competing with smartphones and laptops for your audience’s attention, you need all the help you can get.

Unlike boring presentations and overwhelming emails – brainstorming an idea and utilizing a whiteboard can dramatically increase your team’s attention and engagement.

Plus, drawing ideas with your team can bring you closer. How, do you ask?

Well, unless you are Walt Disney’s creative team, someone will probably draw an amusing element (arrow that looks like a… or any other element), and that will probably get a few good laughs and bring your team even closer (did somebody say team building activity??).

Now, take it even further and use these visual techniques to create your 2017 marketing plan.

 

Step 1: Situation Analysis

When planning the marketing for a new client, begin with a snapshot of the company’s current situation.

Draw a mindmap of their current digital ecosystem. It’s usually helpful to understand (or refresh) the available assets and active marketing channels. Let’s face it, being a lead marketer these days is quite challenging. The responsibilities of choosing the best marketing channels to increase brand awareness, generate leads and sales are heavy.

Start with a basic digital ecosystem mindmap and branch out from there. You can discuss each channel with your team, review A/B testing you have done (and always bring in numbers to support). This illustrated analysis can help you identify opportunities and drive your next successful campaign!

 Step 2: Describe your target audience

Knowing the job titles of who you want to sell to is not enough – you have to have a full picture of who they are, what they do, where they learn about new solutions, what they eat for dinner, what time they go to bed (okay, maybe not the last two but you get the idea).

Try drawing your customers (that could be funny). When visualizing customers, it often helps to identify similar profiles, markets or opportunities for business development or an affiliates program.

Step 3: Draw your marketing goals

We can all agree – the connection between goals and visualization is incredibly powerful. If you can visualize it, you can achieve it!

Draw your marketing goals on the whiteboard in big circles. Now, two things can happen:

  1. Your entire team will (unconsciously) be locked into these common goals.
  2. Someone will be surprised or will question your goals – and that’s not a bad thing because the disagreements can open up a conversation about marketing and business goals that might save precious resources down the road.

The point of this exercise is to visualize your goals then take action.

Step 4: Draw your plan of action

Now, you’re done with the creative piece and it’s time to squish the paper (or erase the whiteboard) and create an action plan.

For me, the outcome of any business activity or meeting is an actionable list.

Congrats! You just drew your first marketing plan.