When discussing the necessities of the current business environment, a lot of people correctly points out the importance of a good business plan. However, even the most thorough plans sometimes miss out one very important ingredient that fuels the entire economy – customers. Without them, even the best business plans are nothing but a dead letter. As a result, reaching out to customers arises as one of the most important issues all businesses must address in order to survive. This job is made considerably easier with the existence of a good marketing strategy.
In This Post:
Here’s how to create a marketing strategy.
Do the Situation Analysis
This document should cover several important topics:
- Your business’s strengths – Or in other words, the ways in which your product is better than the products of your competition. This should be the focus of your marketing campaign.
- Your business’s weaknesses – Anything ranging from a saturated market to inexperienced staff.
- External opportunities – These are the circumstances your business can exploit in order to grow. They should also be the goal of your marketing strategy. Don’t forget that these opportunities could be (and probably will be) exploited by your competition as well.
- Your current market position – Things like your current market share, your potential customer base (the type of customer that is most likely to buy your product), etc.
Once you get a good insight in this information, you will get a much clearer picture of what needs to be done to broaden your business’s appeal and increase its market share.
Define Your Target Audience
A target audience can be defined by a number of different attributes. You can try to promote your products to Millennials or older folk. A conservative or innovative audience? Do you want to stir the water or promote traditional family values? Are you aiming for high-paying customers or are you going for the broad appeal? Use reminders like colorful sticky notes to mark down even the observations that don’t seem relevant at the moment. The more answers you find, the better aimed your marketing strategy will be.
Set Up the Marketing Goal
Every good marketing strategy should have a clear, precise and, what’s most important, reachable goal. That goal can be a successful launch of a new product, 20% increase in sales, or any other development that can improve your market position. Starting a campaign without such a goal can only waste your precious resources.
Set Up the Marketing Mix
The marketing mix consists of 4 P’s, which stand for Product, Place, Price, and Promotion. Now that you’ve found your target audience, you should move on to solving 4P-related issues:
- Product – This aspect focuses on packaging, features, branding and warranty of the product. All these properties should be aimed at satisfying the tastes of your target audience.
- Place – The second P is concerned with distribution channels, or in other words, finding a way to provide the product to the customers when they need it.
- Price – The third P focuses on discounts, payment periods, price allowances, etc.
- Promotion – Promotion includes everything from sales promotion and advertising, to public relations and special offers. In short, this is the communication aspect of your marketing campaign and it needs to be suited both to your target audience and your product.
Covering these issues will be much easier if you divide your customers into well-defined segments, each with its own specific marketing techniques and measurable goals.
Set Up the Budget
Now that you have a very clear picture of your future moves and necessary costs, it is time to allocate an adequate percentage of your annual budget to the marketing department. If you are just starting your business or lacking the necessary funds to finance the marketing campaign, you can mitigate this problem by taking out a loan. Alternatively, you can make another draft of your marketing plan that will be more focused.
Implement the Strategy
And now, it’s time to set your plans in motion. The implementation phase can roughly be divided in four steps.
- Creating the marketing team – The people who will be at the top of the campaign hierarchy and oversee its development.
- Creating the schedules – The phase in which you are going to define specific time frames for specific marketing tasks.
- Executing the plan – The part in which you are finally going to effectively execute your marketing strategy. Pay attention to details, and keep the message your teams are trying to convey cohesive.
- Collecting the feedback – Even if your campaign misfires, if you manage to collect valuable feedback, you will still get some value from your investment.
Good marketing is the foundation of a successful business. Without good marketing, Apple wouldn’t be Apple, and Coca-Cola wouldn’t be Coca-Cola. So, be smart and put all of your effort into the next marketing campaign. The future of your business depends only on you.