Intuitively, most business leaders know that a marketing strategy is essential to build brand awareness and support business growth. We find it interesting though, that many of our business contacts are either not able to describe their marketing strategy, or aren't sure how well they are executing it. That doesn't seem right, as I'm sure that it wasn't easy to make the plan! Fortunately, we're pretty awesome at developing and executing business and marketing strategy, and can ensure that your marketing strategy delivers results for you! Here's how it should work...
Every business should have a useful marketing strategy to guide marketing and promotion activities. If you have delegated your marketing strategy, or aren't fresh with it, here's a check-in for the pieces that you should have in place, and optimized to your sector and region...
Strategic Marketing Objectives
A solid marketing strategy, like all business strategy, includes specific strategic objectives, built upon the business or strategic plan's mission, vision, values, and core competencies. In addition, marketing objectives are heavily factored by region (if your primary market is local) and sector, to advance your competitive position in these markets. Based upon a clear understanding of your current and potential customer target market, specific marketing objectives serve to guide the direction of your plan's activities, allocation of resources, measures, and optimum path to deliver the best business results and growth. Without a plan and specific measurable objectives to achieve, goals are really just a wish that you hope to achieve. Hope is not an effective strategy.
A sample marketing objective might look something like these:
- Promote [new widget] product line, and advance sales by 25% by 1/2020.
- Build market awareness yielding 200 new customers in satellite location by 10/2019.
Determining your marketing plan is a part of your business or strategic planning process, which determines the best strategic direction for your business over the next few years. If you don't have a business or marketing plan, your marketing strategy will not be optimized. Start there.
Defined Target Markets
Early stage marketers often use a scattered approach to try to connect with as many potential customers as possible. Unless you have the budget of Apple or Google, this will not be an effective strategy because it costs a ton of money for a relatively low return. Rather, focusing your marketing plan on specific archetypes of customers that already like your products or services, and buy them, is your best plan. Market research is the ideal method to identify your best target market segments, and is essential to developing an effective marketing plan.
Both primary and secondary market research should be done before the launch of a new product or service, a new business, or a move to a new location. Conducting effective market research requires special skills to know how to construct the research in order to get valuable results to guide your marketing plan. Frankly, the quality of the plan depends significantly upon the quality of the market research, so don't skimp on it. Data analysis of the research results also involves statistical analyses, that are better left to the experts. If you need help with this,
Once you identify the target market segments, these will become the focus of your marketing plan. Now you'll need to find out what to use, how, and when.
If you're working with an experienced marketer, they will help your plan develop specific content messages to engage, convert, and delight your customers. Great content marketing is key, especially when delivered to the right customer type. Your messages should reflect your brand, and positioning, and should relate to at least one of your target market segments. While there is no exact science for determining the best content, through sequential refinement, traffic grows.
Once you have the right message for the right target market, you're ready to deliver! This is the fun part, where you place yourself in the shoes of your target customers, and consider the many creative ways that you can reach them, that don't annoy or interrupt them. You want to connect, and show how you can help them with a message that is professional, just-in-time and valued. We generally recommend a multi-mode media strategy because not everyone will purchase from one source, even one as well-traveled as social media. Your targets might be best reached in person, through snail mail, or through seminars or trade shows. Know your target, and reach them where and when they want to connect for the best success.
Work the Plan
Creating the marketing strategy and plan can be grueling work, however when it's done, the plan still needs to be executed in order to realize the benefits. To achieve the goals, create an action plan with simple steps, a timeline; assign step accountability. Identify what performance metrics will be affected as the plan is advanced. Monitor those measures at least monthly, and make adjustments based upon your metric performance.
If you know that this process is beyond your skill set or resources, then find a consultant or marketing agency that can help. There are great options in every community, and these services can largely be provided virtually if needed, to reduce travel time and expenses. You may wish to use this article to reference what should be part of the discussion with your resource, or contact us to learn about our marketing service packages. We're always focused on your success!
Dawn Garcia is Principal and Founder of Pursuit of Excellence LLC, an independent business management consulting firm specializing in service-based businesses; delivering leadership, strategy and execution expertise. Experience the Excellence Driven® System for your business, and achieve the results you need! Every business needs help at some point; great business leaders actually get help when needed, realizing greater returns. When you need help, consult the experts. Our success is your success!