A comprehensive marketing strategy is key to the success of any business, and in the current economic climate, is perhaps more important than ever. But what is a marketing strategy and how do you create one?
Your marketing strategy needs to identify your target market(s), consider your product/service and its unique selling point (USP) and identify ways that you will engage your target market.
The 10 crucial steps in creating your marketing strategy:
Identify your target market – there may be several strands who use your product or service differently. Is it individuals or businesses, or both? You can further segment your target market and target your campaigns accordingly. Carry out market research where possible. Remember your target market is likely to be comprised of both current and new customers.
Consider your product – what need does it fill? What advantage does your product have over its competitors? What is the unique selling point? At this stage, it is worth looking at ‘The Marketing Mix’ or the four P’s – Price, Place, Promotion, Product. Think about where your product will be placed in the market and what will make it stand out.
Conduct a SWOT analysis – giving an overview of your business and product/service’s Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats.
Then conduct a PEST analysis – identifying Political and legal changes, Economic factors (including consumer confidence), Social factors and Technological factors – a set of factors that are largely out of your control. How will these outside influences impact on your product in the current market?
Conducting analyses according to these two structures will provide you with an excellent overview of the market you are working in and where your product/service is currently placed.
Decide what message you want to get across to your target market – how are you going to pitch your product or service? You will need to do this with the above analyses in mind i.e. making your product stand out from the competitor.
Think about the strategies you will employ and remember to consider both long and short term activities. Channels you may consider could include direct marketing, trade shows, telemarketing, online – website, social media and advertising, affiliate marketing, PR and perhaps most importantly, word of mouth.
You can then implement this marketing strategy with a detailed marketing plan that pinpoints the exact activity you will undertake, the aims of that activity, details, dates, costs and resources.
Keep evaluating your marketing strategy and its effectiveness. Ask customers how they heard about you, create surveys and monitor your website traffic and where it is coming from. Keep up-to-date with changes in the market and tailor your marketing strategy accordingly.
Remember, the essential thing to bear in mind with marketing is to KISS – Keep It Simple Stupid!