The Four Rings of Marketing: A Primer for Mid-Sized Businesses

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Part I

This is the first in a series of blog posts to help mid-sized businesses with marketing strategy. 

As a digital marketing agency serving the financial industry, we work mostly with mid-sized businesses at Out & About. Most of our clients come to us having already done some marketing initiatives, but they don’t have the time and specialized skills to do the behind-the-scenes marketing work necessary to get their efforts to pay off. What typically has happened is that they’ve worked on the most visible marketing initiatives without putting structure in place. It’s a little like painting the exterior of a house, but not putting walls on the inside. An agency is needed to put up the walls. 

What typically happens when an agency is brought in, though, is that the small business really likes the paint on the outside of the house and has spent a lot of money on it. While other agencies may tell them to start by tearing down the house and rebuilding, in most cases, we don’t think that’s realistic or prudent. There are other ways to build a marketing strategy that respects the work already done. Here’s how we do that. 

Understanding the Structure

First and foremost, we want our clients to understand what a marketing strategy is and how it fits within their business strategy. 

Second, we want them to see where the work they’ve done to date sits within a strategic framework. 

Third, we want to work with them to make a plan for filling in the blanks and executing on that plan. 

Enter the four rings of marketing.

 

Ring One: Business Strategy

Our clients usually have a business strategy in place. Business strategic objectives may be “Increase to $1B in total AUM in the next 3 to 5 years” or “Add tax-planning capabilities this year.” Ideally, within the business strategy, there are many other strategic plans, such as marketing, operations, and sales, but we will keep a focus on marketing. 

Next week, come back for Part II, in which we cover rings two and three.