A marketing strategy is the sum of all marketing goals and objectives executed in a single comprehensive plan. An effective marketing strategy is based on extensive marketing research. Marketing strategies are developed to promote a company’s products and services. Marketing strategies are performed to help the company realize its optimum profit potential and ensure the viability of the business.
A marketing strategy helps a company create a competitive advantage by providing a forward-looking approach to planning. This advantage can be achieved through a combination of customer and competitor research. A company’s goals and vision are the fuel that drives its marketing strategy. Objectives should clearly state where the company wants to be in the future and what it plans to achieve. A company’s objectives should be able to give a clear direction for developing its marketing strategy.
Strategic Planning defines the steps a company should take to achieve its objectives. It includes understanding the company’s strengths and weaknesses, analyzing what marketing methods to use, and allocating the required resources to implement the plan. Your plans can consist of giving sales discounts, promotional support, or any action needed to motivate the customer to purchase your product.
A marketing strategy provides the foundation of your marketing plan. Creating a marketing strategy is simpler compared to implementing the items contained in it, and it is where a marketing plan comes in. Your marketing strategy should provide a roadmap for your marketing plan. When successfully implemented, it ensures the company can achieve its short-term and long-term objectives.
Basic Steps in Developing a Marketing Strategy
A marketing strategy must not be confused with a marketing plan. A marketing strategy defines your overall direction and objectives, while a marketing plan outlines the specific actions to be used to achieve your marketing strategy. The market strategy is forward-looking, defining your goals for the next few years. While marketing plans are actions that are currently being employed by your business.
Effective marketing starts with a professionally developed marketing strategy. A well-executed marketing strategy enables you to define your business objectives and create a plan to achieve these goals. The marketing strategy sets the direction of your business and affects every aspect of its operation. Your marketing strategy should:
- Contain your value proposition (what makes you better than the competition)
- Clearly describe your products and services
- Provides analysis of your competitors and customers
- Defines the different marketing strategies to be employed
- Creates the basis for developing your marketing plan
Step 1: Perform a SWOT Analysis
A SWOT (Strength, Weakness, Opportunities, Threats) analysis is performed to make an initial assessment of all the factors that can affect a business decision. It was developed by Albert Humphrey of the Stanford Research Institute in the 1960s to help businesses planning to start and grow their companies. A SWOT analysis should also be performed regularly to analyze if all your business processes are working efficiently. It is performed to help you assess if your current marketing strategy is still delivering its objectives.
A SWOT analysis gives you a clear perspective on what you do best (Strength), areas that need improvement (Weakness), factors that can give you an advantage (Opportunities), and factors that can have a negative impact on your business (Threat). The information generated by a SWOT analysis can help you build the foundation for your marketing strategy.
Step 2: Determine the Value Proposition
Your marketing strategy must be based on your company’s value proposition, which revolves around your strengths. In simple terms, a value proposition describes the unique benefit that your business provides and how you do it well. It includes your target market, the problem that it solves, and what makes you better than your competitors.
When developing a marketing strategy, an essential factor to consider would be your value proposition. Building your market strategy based on your strengths makes it easier for you to focus your resources that will yield the best results.
Step 3: Identify your Objectives
In developing your marketing strategy, it is crucial that you identify your business objectives. Your goals must be measurable and set within specific timeframes. It enables you to evaluate the success and effectiveness of your marketing strategy accurately.
Having clear business goals makes it easier for you to monitor if plans are consistent with your objectives. And check if individual team members are delivering expected results. When creating your marketing objectives, be sure to create 3 to 5 goals. Example of these business objectives include:
- sell more products
- reach out to a new market
- increase brand awareness of your products and services
Your marketing goals must be practical and measurable. These should be based on your current resources and value proposition. Setting realistic goals makes it easier for your marketing strategy to move forward. Be sure to check your progress regularly. A good marketing strategy must also be flexible.
Step 4: Market Research and Customer Profiling
Research plays a critical role in developing your marketing strategy. It is involved in gathering market information (size, trends, growth potential, and customer demographics). Research should be continuously performed to identify any changes in the market. A marketing strategy allows you to adjust your marketing plan and helps you keep your marketing strategy relevant to your objectives.
Customers are the lifeblood of business. Successful businesses understand this and employ marketing strategies that identify their needs. Customer research enables you to create products that answer customer needs, develop sales tactics based on accurate, timely information. Research tools give in-depth information, including where your customer’s work, what they watch, and where they look at advertising. It also helps you understand their purchasing behaviors and attitudes towards different brands and products. Customer research allows you to:
- determine the most competitive price for your products
- create an attractive marketing message
- improve sales numbers
- refine customer services
- improve business efficiency
- attract more customers
- improve customer retention
- increase how much your customer spends on your products
Step 5: Competitor Research
Analyzing and understanding what your competitors do best is half the job done. Rather than experimenting on several untested marketing strategies, employing some of the tested and proven marketing strategies of a competitor is a great idea. You could also take this one step higher and improve their marketing strategy.
Profiling your competitors gives you an in-depth look into what makes their business work. This information includes their prices, who their customers are, and how they market their products. Competitor research also helps in developing your value proposition. It lets you know what sets you apart from the competition and what you do best.
Competitor research helps you create a competitor profile that lets you identify areas for improvement and opportunity. A competitor without an online presence, for example, allows you to take the upper hand by having your products and services available online.
How to Create a Competitor Research
Identify your Competitors. If you’re a small business which operates locally, there’s a good chance that you’ve already identified your competitors. It is also vital for those establishing a new business or planning to provide their services to a wide area. Doing an internet search or even checking the phone book could give you a good idea of competing businesses. When identifying your competitors, here are some things you should include in the research:
- Who are their customers and market they serve?
- Why do customers buy from them?
- What is their most significant competitive advantage?
- Where do they advertise?
Collecting data for Competitor Analysis. The easiest way to gather information about your competitors is to visit their physical store and website. It can give you an idea on product prices, quality of customer service, and discounts, promos if any. You could also conduct a customer survey to get a more accurate view of why customers buy their products.
Data can also be gathered from the information they readily provide publicly. Sources of information include magazines, newspapers, and online publications. Press releases could also give a ton of information about their latest product offerings.
Competitor Analysis. It is the most important step in competitor research. This process involves digesting the data collected and making it useful for business objectives. Study every information you’ve collected from your competitor and use this to create a marketing strategy that allows you to compete with them. The most critical part of competitor research is to identify your market niche and how you can capture these customers. In conducting competitor analysis check for these:
- Is there a specific market segment that your competitor missed?
- Is there a product or service that your competitor does not provide that its customers are searching?
The objective of competitor research is to get a competitive advantage by identifying opportunities such as offering better products and services over your competitor.
Step 6: Developing your Marketing Methods
Your marketing methods mainly depends on the target market. You should select the best marketing medium that communicates your brand messaging. This information can be located at your customer’s profile. When creating your marketing strategy, it is also essential that you determine how much time and budget you’ll be allocating on advertising. Content marketing, search engine optimization, public relations, events, and printed media are just some of the marketing methods you could utilize. To achieve maximum results, consider using a combination of multiple marketing methods.
Benefits of a Marketing Strategy
The development of a marketing strategy is an integral part of any business operation. It is used to develop the company’s marketing plans that help the company achieve its overall objectives plus helping it enhance its brand value.
Gives you a competitive advantage
A marketing strategy helps you identify your strengths and weakness and compares it with your competitors. With this information, you can improve on your weaknesses and focus on your strengths. A marketing strategy enables you to gain a competitive advantage in the market and strengthens your position against emerging competitors. A marketing strategy helps you showcase the benefits of your products and services.
Builds your Customer Base
A marketing strategy makes it possible for you to identify new markets and tap additional customers from an existing one. Customer research enables you to create a more customer profile based on taste, income levels, and taste. It makes it easier for your marketing department to create a more targeted advertising strategy that ultimately improves conversion and brand recognition.
Given similar products of the same quality, a customer is most likely to purchase the lower-priced product. Competitive research enables you to understand market dynamics and more importantly, the spending power of your customer base. Marketing strategy helps your business identify the optimum pricing plan for products and services.
Build your Brand
A marketing strategy highlights the strengths of your products and why it better than your competitors. A consistent and uniform messaging approach helps build your brand and gives you a unique identity in a volatile and competitive market.
Helps in the Development of Better Products and Services
Competitor and customer research gives you an in-depth look into the market and what specific products and services it needs. It helps you in the development of new products or how you can improve your current offerings. Marketing research also gives you a clear picture of the current market, competitor offerings, government regulations, and other factors that influence sales.
Part of improving your products and services is to have an effective distribution plan. It includes conventional brick and mortar stores and online selling. A marketing strategy can suggest the development of a more robust distribution network. It can involve the creation of an online service for products and services or the use of affiliate partners for distribution.
Helps in the Planning of Marketing Budgets
Every department in the company plays a role in its promotion and future development. A marketing strategy takes this into account and identifies what specific role each department should take and how much resources should be allocated.
A well-coordinated and planned marketing strategy ensures that budgets are distributed accordingly. It helps you focus on marketing strategies that provide the best return on investment. It also helps align overall company efforts to achieve business goals and objectives.
Critical for your Company’s Future Success and Growth
Marketing strategies improve brand value, gives you a competitive advantage, improves sales numbers, increases market share, and more importantly improves profit. Its benefits run the gamut of all business operations helping your company grow and prepares you for the future. It gives your company a competitive advantage that enables you to carve a niche in the market. A market strategy allows you to build your brand, helping your products and services stand out from the competition.
A marketing strategy goes a long way in achieving your company’s objectives. It enables you to create a roadmap to success and keeping your company’s short-term and future goals on track.