Why do you need a structured marketing strategy?
And what is a Marketing Strategy?
You may have heard of the term Marketing Strategy, but do you know what it means, and do you really need one?
It can be so tempting for businesses to jump straight into the marketing action without thought for the purpose or direction. But this just leads to a lot of wasted time and work. Chances are you’re running a business because you have a passion for your product or service; you’re probably not a marketeer by nature. But take it from us, if you don’t give due consideration to your marketing strategy, your business will struggle, or worse, fail, especially in the current volatile business climate.
You may think of marketing strategy as being for larger enterprises. But, large or small; your marketing strategy should underpin every marketing activity your business undertakes. It’s just not enough to have an eye-catching logo, a snazzy new website and an active social media presence. These things need a direction; they need to be informed by a marketing strategy. With a marketing strategy you do all the work upfront so that your marketing activity is laser-focused, efficient and more likely to get results.
What does a marketing strategy include?
The marketing strategy is the compass that informs and dictates the direction of the business. Many businesses go wrong because they haven’t used one. So, what should a marketing strategy include?
Mission, Vision, and Values
Ask yourself these questions – What is the purpose of your business? Where do you want it to go and how will you get there? Unless you fully understood the answers to these questions, then you’ll struggle to make your marketing efforts a success.
What are your weekly goals? And the objectives for the next 1-3 years? What metrics will you use to measure how you are performing, and inform your decision making? I.e. how many leads are needed to generate the target sales; what brand awareness is required? Which new channels are needed, if any or where can you expand activity?
Look at your products and services – how are they performing? How can you segment your offerings with clarity? And what impact will it make to the business to drive growth in the specific areas? How will it impact the business in terms of staffing etc.? What are the price points for these services?
If, for instance, you provide a variety of services and one of these is vastly outperforming all the others, this could be putting all your eggs in one basket so one business goal might be to build up other services to equalise the income generated. But it isn’t a case of just switching marketing campaigns across to these services. You need to understand how this service might be different from others and whether it is the same customer base or not.
A SWOT analysis of the existing marketing activities will help you identify what works and what doesn’t and how you can tackle your marketing differently. Pull out anything that is more relevant to a particular service or product and allows you to focus on specific channels. Setting KPIs and monitoring them on a monthly basis helps keep things on track and allows for adjustment to campaigns or marketing activities that are underperforming.
Your target audience
Conducting a persona building session helps to identify the target customer(s) so answer; where do they go looking for information? What issues are they usually faced with that can be resolved with your product/service? And how you can use this in your marketing communications.
If you don’t take the time to narrow down your ideal target audience, then time, energy, budget, and resources are all being wasted, and you’ll stretch yourself too thinly, trying to market to everyone. If you’ve defined your target markets, then you’ll know what makes them tick and your communications will be more targeted.
How do you want to be positioned in your chosen marketplace? Who is your direct and indirect competition? Think about how you want to be positioned against them in the mind of the customer. What makes you different? What do they do better than you, and where can you outshine them?
Your routes to market
How do you get your defined product in front of the eyes of your defined audience? The route, or routes, you take will dramatically impact your overall strategy, marketing plan, and activities.
Why is a structured marketing strategy important?
Without clarity of your business, offered by a marketing strategy, then you could be wasting resources, money, and time on the wrong activities or the wrong messaging or the wrong target market. Without it, you won’t be tracking performance accurately and you could end up with a wasted budget, which could have been identified with the correct tracking processes.
The elements of a good strategy, as mentioned above, are what you must measure your business against. When you understand your purpose, your values, your offering, your audience, your competitive positioning and your routes to market, then your key messaging will align nicely with it and maximise its impact. It’s tricky to get your messaging right if you haven’t gone through this process.
There is a tendency to dive into marketing activities without aligning them with business goals, the target audience, or marketing goals. But the Marketing Strategy is a crucial element to any business that is looking to grow profitably. And, once in place, you’re in a far better position to create a marketing plan that will achieve the marketing goals set. It also helps you create a budget and implement a team structure to ensure the skills are there to meet the needs of the marketing activities.
Still confused about marketing strategies?
We offer a 3-session Marketing Strategy Interactive Workshop for businesses large and small.
The workshop consists of 3 sessions split across three separate days. The workshop aims to generate the base information for the business strategy. You can then ask us to conduct the market research and produce a strategy document together with a marketing plan on behalf of your business.
Once in place, we will either bring in our team to carry out the marketing activities against the plan, or work with your marketing team to implement it, coaching them along the way.
If you think this might work for you then why not give us a call on 0800 977 6395 or email firstname.lastname@example.org