Whether you are just starting as a new business, or have been running your business for a while, you need to put a strategy in place to market your products or services.
Effective marketing starts with proper planning and strategizing. Do you want to improve your sales? Develop a marketing strategy.
When I talk about marketing strategy, what do I mean? In simple terms, it means an overall plan put in place to generate leads and drive sales. These plans must be actionable. A marketing strategy contains the value proposition of your company, business goals, brand message, information about target customers, information about your competitors and marketing plan.
A marketing strategy sets the direction for your marketing and is different from a marketing plan. While a marketing strategy sets the direction for your marketing, a marketing plan contains tactics that will be used to generate leads and attract clients to patronize your business.
Now that we have defined a marketing strategy, let’s look at the different components of a marketing strategy.
- Identifying your business goals: your business goals depends on the present position f your business. Are you still in the startup stage? Your goals can range from increasing awareness to developing a strong relationship with stakeholders. Or have you passed the startup stage where your goals can now be – to reach a new customer segment or raise more revenue? Whatever your goals are, ensure they are as targeted as possible. A simple tip to follow when setting goals is the SMART method. Your goals should follow the SMART method rule by being specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and timely.
Specific: State in clear terms what you want to achieve
Measurable: Your goals should have tangible measures that can be used to measure your results. For example an increase in yearly profit by 30% in the next 3 years.
Achievable: ensure that you set objectives that are within your strength. Do not go setting goals that are not attainable.
Relevant: Set objectives that will help you improve an aspect of your business. Your objective should matter to your business.
Timely: Set an expected time or date you plan to reach the goal. Now that we are done setting our business goals, let’s head on to the next step which is-
2. Setting your marketing goals: Your marketing goals will be defined based on your business goals. These goals will motivate you and your entire team for success. Examples of marketing goals include-to gain more website traffic, grow an email list over some time, e.t.c. these marketing goals may be long term or short term therefore, it could take years to achieve. The most important thing to note is that when setting goals, ensure that it is clear, practical and measurable.
3. Conduct market research: You don’t want to go into the market blind and confused, that’s why researching your market is essential. You need to get information about the growth, size, demographics, ideal customers and social trends of your market.
4. Ideal Customers: Your Ideal customers are those that are more likely to patronize you than others Most times, these ideal customers usually have similar characteristics, which can be used to profile them. Use the result gotten from your market research to develop a profile for your ideal customers. The profile will reveal their buying power, buying trend and buying patterns.
5. Conduct competitor research: As part of your marketing strategy, you need to also profile your competitors. Find out their products/services, their marketing tactics, and their supply chain. This is done to identify their strengths and weaknesses, which you can use to set your business apart. It will also help you to improve your performance better.
6. Outline your resource: Your resources include your time, skills and money. Considering your financial strength, skills and time will ensure that you and your team judiciously make use of what you have to meet your most important goals.
7. Draw out your marketing plan: Now that you have your goals set, market research conducted, ideal customers and competitors profiled, and resources outlined, it is time to develop the tactics you will use to achieve the set goals. How will you attract and retain your ideal customers? Do your Ideal customers use social media? If they do, is it LinkedIn? Facebook? Twitter? or Instagram? Whichever the answer is, your corresponding tactics should include an increase in social media presence by posting regularly and advertising on their preferred media platform.
This is the point where you use the information you have gathered all along to develop a corresponding marketing tactic that will generate leads and increase sales.
Once you have developed a marketing strategy, you can use the information to position your business better, develop an effective marketing plan and differentiate your business from your competitor’s.