How should you establish a marketing strategy?
Establishing a marketing strategy is crucial for any business, without one, your business’s efforts to attract customers will be inefficient. The focus of any strategy should be defining your target market. Once you have decided on the specific type of customer your product or service would appeal to them you can focus on your value proposition and unique selling point (USP). Once you have established these two crucial elements, then you can decide on a specific strategy that will appeal to your target market and promote your product/services uniqueness.
Key Elements of a marketing strategy
One of the most crucial elements of a successful marketing strategy is acknowledging that your existing and potential customers will be segmented into specific groups or segments based on their particular needs. The beginning of any strategy should be to identify these groups and their needs through market research and then finding a way to address these needs better than your competitors. This will allow you to establish the correct strategy in order to market your product or service. You should establish a marketing strategy that makes the most of your strengths and matches them to the needs of your customers. For instance, if a particular group of customers is looking for ‘low price’ then any marketing activity should be aimed at highlighting the ‘low price’ of your product/service. Once this has been completed then you should implement marketing initiatives that draw attention to the USP of your product/service.
This can be achieved through a variety of different campaigns such as advertising, exhibitions, public relations, digital campaigns. Decide which activities you think will work best and will achieve the objective of driving the selling point of the product/service. A very key element in a marketing strategy, in particular in today’s data-driven era, is measuring a marketing strategy. Use the tools available to measure specific data and to determine if the marketing strategy is allowing you to achieve your set KPI’s. Another great way to measure the effectiveness of your marketing strategy and to determine which campaign, in particular, is doing well, is to ask each customer how they heard about you.
Once you have decided on your marketing strategy, then you can establish your marketing plan to set out how you plan to execute and evaluate the success of that strategy. Remember setting up processes to measure the success of your marketing initiatives is crucial to measure whether you are achieving what you set out to do. Your marketing initiatives should constantly be measured to determine whether they are working or not. If they are not, you can re-evaluate and decide what you should change.
Understanding your strengths and weaknesses (SWOT Analysis)
One important analysis to do when determining your marketing strategy is to do a SWOT analysis. This involves looking at your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. Below are some examples of each of the categories could contain within your business.
Great customer service
Special features and benefits that your company offers
Lack of an established budget
New demand from a new market sector
New technologies that allow you to improve the quality of the product
Emergence of new competitor
Cheaper versions of your product/service
Once you have done the SWOT analysis, you can see which aspects will affect your business and how these aspects will affect your marketing strategy. You can establish a strategy that plays to your strengths and matches them to the emerging opportunities. You can also identify your weaknesses and try to minimise them.
Questions to ask when establishing your marketing plan
- What external changes are taking place in our business environment? Is this an opportunity or a threat?
- What are our strengths and how can we use them to our advantage?
- What are our weaknesses? Can we improve them?
- What do we want to achieve from our marketing strategy? Set clear objectives and goals.
- Which customers buy the most?
- Are my customers segmented?
- Which segment should I aim to target the most?
- Could I improve my customer service? What do we currently do right and what can we improve on
- Could changing my product/service include my profitability? Could we add to our product or service to make it more profitable
- How will I price my product or service? Pricing is competitive, but competing on price alone is a bad strategy, What else can I compete on? Quality, efficiency, value for money?
- What is the best way of distributing and selling my product or service?
- What ways can I promote my product/service?
- What processes can I implement in order to effectively measure if I am achieving what I set out to achieve? What tools can I implement and should I create a customer feedback form to find out where customers found me.