Your business marketing strategy is very simple. It defines how you will market your products, your services or your business to your customers. It sets out your goals and how you will achieve them. But this definition is very broad, and a marketing strategy can actually cover anything from a ten-year vision for marketing your business to how to generate sales of a product in the next three weeks.
This is why the tips that follow are intended to guide you to the skeleton of a good corporate marketing strategy.
What should a marketing strategy accomplish?
Your business strategy will depend on the direction you want to give your business, it is part of your overall business objectives.
Here are examples of what your overall business goal might be and the marketing strategies you could use to achieve it:
- To increase the sales
- Attract new customers
- Get existing customers to buy more
- Introduce a new product or service
- Increase market share
- Build your brand better
- Improve customer loyalty
- Launch an advertising campaign
- Launch a public relations campaign
- Encourage word of mouth
- Retain existing profitable customers
- Make customers feel more valued
- Offer exclusive offers to existing customers
Whatever your business marketing strategy is, you should absolutely write it down. It must be made simple to understand, realistic and with a clear plan of action. It will then be part of your overall, more detailed marketing plan, which is the document that addresses a more holistic, long-term vision of your business (and therefore a part of your business plan). Be prepared to adapt your marketing strategy as needed as there are endless factors that may require change. It’s the flexibility that will allow you to stay one step ahead of the competition.
How to develop a marketing strategy, step by step
You must perform detailed analyzes of these three areas:
- Market analysis: the size of your market, the speed of its growth, your customers and their consumption habits and lifestyle.
- Competitive Analysis: Monitor direct and indirect competition and how it compares with you on all aspects of sales and marketing (their customers, their brand, their price, the convenience of the location, the sales channels, etc. ).
- Business analysis: your overall business objectives, how you will achieve them, your strengths and weaknesses and those of your products or services.
Target Audience and Customers:
Next, you need to identify your target audience, using the information you have gathered from your research and, if necessary, more detailed customer research. Here’s how to do it:
- Segment them: divide your existing customers and your target customers into groups, based on what they expect from your business, which will be different. Some will want cost-effectiveness, quality, excellent customer service, and so on.
- Positioning: how you compare to your competitors for each of your customer segments: are you the fastest, do you have the best customer service, are you the third best known, etc.
You must now analyze your product or service in order to determine how you will market it and surpass your competitors, according to these criteria:
- Unique selling proposition: what it can offer as a customer benefit or benefit that no other product or company can offer.
- Customer Benefits: From your unique sales proposal, highlight the benefits your product or service offers to the customer. These can vary from one client segment to another. You need to look closely at what the customer actually sees: while Starbucks sells coffee, the customer benefit is a place to relax and chat with a friend or place to sit with a laptop. Your product or service offered may allow you to deliver the pizza faster than your competitors to the people in your catchment area, but the benefit to the customer is that they do not need to cook and can receive a meal all prepared quickly. The way you define the benefits will shape your marketing message.
How will you now communicate the benefits of buying your product or service or using your business to your target customers (again, this may vary across your different customer segments).
- The marketing mix is the combination of all the marketing tools that you will use to communicate your profits to your customers. For example: advertising, public relations, word of mouth, distribution channels, price, promotion, products that you sell to them, exhibition in a store, website, etc.
- Remembering the four Ps can be useful when you set up your marketing mix : Product, Placement, Price and Promotion.
After developing your strategy, you can now include it in a global marketing plan.
- The plan goes into the logistical details of executing your strategy, such as budgets, more detailed schedules, which within your company will handle the different points of the strategy, the logistics of the different distribution channels and their costs. historical and so on.
- As such, it is of course a longer and more detailed document.
- Your business marketing plan is usually a more lively document than your strategy (which means that you will adjust and update it more regularly). As costs, market conditions, economic conditions and other factors change, you will need to adjust your plan to cope with it as your strategy may remain the same.
- For your strategy and plan to be useful, you need to closely monitor the results of the marketing actions and be ready to adapt them as needed.
Your company’s marketing plan is part of the marketing mix which is the combination of all the marketing tools that you will use to communicate your benefits to your customers, including and for example advertising, public relations, word of mouth, distribution channels, prices, promotion, products that you will sell to them, display in a store, a website, etc. In a nutshell: product, placement, price and promotion. The famous four P pillars of any properly developed business marketing strategy.