Have you ever been on a Rabbit hunt before? If you don’t get it right, you might have to chase the rabbit down their hole. The consequence of this is bruised knees, torn clothes, and in most cases, failure to catch anything. The same applies when you fail to define your own marketing strategy. You end up leveraging on every marketing idea that comes your way, and like chasing rabbits down their holes, you may not achieve your business goals.
Effective marketing starts with a considered, well-informed marketing strategy. A good marketing strategy helps you define your vision, mission and business goals and outlines the steps you need to take to achieve these goals.
A marketing strategy sets the overall direction and goals for your marketing and is therefore different from a marketing plan, which outlines the specific actions you will take to implement your marketing strategy. Your marketing strategy could be developed for the next few years, while your marketing plan usually describes tactics to be achieved in the current year.
Why write a successful marketing strategy?
Your well-developed marketing strategy will help you:
• Realise your business’s goals and build a strong reputation for your products.
• Target your products and services to the people most likely to buy them.
• Make the most of your marketing investment, keep your marketing focused, and measure and improve your sales results.
To properly define your marketing strategy, you need to:
Identify your business goals
You need to identify your business goals so that you can then determine a set of marketing goals to support them. Your business goals might include:
• Increasing awareness of your products and services
• Selling more products from a specific supplier
• Reaching a new customer segment.
When setting goals, it’s critical to be as targeted as possible so you can effectively measure the outcomes against what you set out to achieve.
State your marketing goals
Define a set of specific marketing goals based on your business goals. These goals will motivate you and your team and help you benchmark your success.
Your marketing goal could be to increase market penetration (selling more existing products to existing customers) or to develop the market (selling existing products to new target markets). These goals could be long-term and might take a few years to achieve success. However, they should be clear and measurable and have time frames for achievement. A good marketing strategy will not be changed every year but revised when your strategy has been achieved, or your marketing goals have been met.
Research your market
Research is an essential part of your marketing strategy. You need to gather information about your market, such as its size, growth, social trends and demographics (population statistics such as age, gender and family type). It is essential to keep an eye on your market, so you are aware of any changes over time, so your strategy remains relevant and targeted.
Profile your potential customers
Use your market research to develop a profile of the customers you are targeting and identify their needs.
The profile will reveal their buying patterns, including how they buy, where they buy and what they buy. Again, regularly review trends, so you don’t miss out on new opportunities or become irrelevant with your marketing message.
Profile your competitors
Similarly, as part of your marketing strategy, you should develop a profile of your competitors by identifying their products, supply chains, pricing and marketing tactics.
Use this to identify your competitive advantage, that is, what sets your business apart from your competitors. You should also recognise the strengths and weaknesses of your own internal processes to help improve your performance compared with your competition.
Develop strategies to support your marketing goals
List your target markets and devise a set of strategies to attract and retain them. For example, to increase young people’s awareness of your products, your corresponding strategy could be to improve your online social media presence by posting regular updates about your product on Twitter and Facebook; advertising in local magazines targeted to young people; and offering discounts for students.
Use the ‘7 Ps of marketing.’
Identify your tactical marketing mix using the 7 Ps of marketing. If you can choose the right combination of marketing across product, price, promotion, place, people, process and physical evidence, your marketing strategy is more likely to be a success.
In the end, it is crucial to test your advanced tactics. Do some online research, test some ideas and approaches on your customers and your staff, and review what works.
If your brand is unique and you hope to sell it across to your audience that way, then you certainly need to develop a unique marketing plan for it.