You are being asked to do more with less. Expectations are high. Budgets are low. Investments must realize a return. In this type of environment, the knee jerk reaction is often to spend every dollar on outward facing tactics. But doing so may starve your marketing strategy of the research and planning needed to be successful.

It’s time to fight for the knowledge you need to do your job.

Here are two common situations I see occurring, and what you need to address the challenge.

Situation 1: The external market is changing around you.

Markets are dynamic. Competitors reposition themselves, or add offerings. New players enter the space. Customer needs evolve. And your business is being affected.

What you need

It must be gut check time. Whether you developed your brand strategy two years ago or five years ago, it is time to review your brand positioning – before your first round of annual planning. Sometimes this is also called a brand assessment. This review will leverage research to evaluate if your brand is still relevant and assess it against the current competitive set. The outcome will reveal how you can best compete against the shifts and trends. The knowledge you gain can also be used to inform decisions in your tactical plan.

If not performed, you risk losing market share.

Situation 2: Internal forces pressure you into focusing on tactics.

Often, programs are launched too quickly out of urgency to be first to market.

What you need

The most efficient and effective way to market successfully is – surprisingly – through focused research and planning. Avoid the temptation to throw tactics at the challenge. Get the knowledge you need to develop an informed strategy first.

Depending on the time and resources you have, you always have options. If you have no time and no budget, carve out some from your tactical plan. You may feel as though you are robbing your chance to strike it big. But you aren’t. You are actually feeding your strategy the marketing knowledge it needs to thrive.

If you skip this important step, you risk wasting budget on ineffective tactics.

Yes, it is tough out there for marketers. The good news is we can do more with less. We can be focused and efficient. To achieve it, arm yourself with knowledge to laser focus the effort. It will bring results and a return on your organization’s investment.

Do you feel marketing strategies are being starved? Reply or comment below.