How to Nail an Award-Winning Marketing Strategy
A successful business idea begins with a well-developed marketing strategy. While frequent adjustments and adaptations to your strategy may be necessary, it is imperative that your goals and plans are well defined from the get-go. Without a clear strategy in place, your business will lack the road map needed to achieve the end goal in mind.
So, what is a marketing strategy? A marketing strategy is a set of tools and techniques that allow businesses to allocate their resources in a manner that will increase sales and competitive advantage over competitors. It is made up of the business’s goals and the activities that must be completed to achieve them.
Still confused? Don’t worry, that’s why we have come up with this extremely comprehensive guide on how to create a marketing strategy that will take your business to the next level!
Step 1: Conduct A Situational Analysis
A situational analysis will help you understand the internal and external pressures of your business. It will identify the current capabilities of your business and the potential opportunities that your business may achieve. The situational analysis should include:
- Internal analysis: e.g. SWOT analysis
- External analysis: e.g. PESTEL environmental analysis
- Consumer analysis: e.g. demographics, buying behaviours, etc.
- Market analysis: e.g. distribution channels, market trend, competitors
Step 2: Define Your Target Market:
Construct a paragraph defining your primary target market (and secondary). This is different to the consumer analysis, since you are determining which market YOU are selling to. Research their demographic, psychographic, behavioural and geographic factors to gain a better understanding of how you are going to reach them.
Step 3: Identify Your Goals:
Want 100,000 impressions on Facebook within the 3 months of your business? Write it down. 10 leads by February? Perfect. Make sure your goals are SMART. That is; Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time Bound. Ensure your marketing goals are in line with your business goals and keep track of your progress.
Step 4: Decide How You Will Achieve The Goals:
This is the fun part. Which marketing tactics are you going to implement to achieve your goals? Will you be using print-media, social-media or e-mail to communicate your marketing message? Or all three? Determine which strategies are best suited to achieving your goal and decide how they will be used. Through your marketing campaign, the primary intention is to communicate your message to your target market. Your message may be to express the unique advantage of your offerings. It could also be to promote the launch of your new product. However, it is crucial that your strategies do not divert from the main focus of achieving your initial goals. Yes, it is very possible that you will achieve the goals earlier than the set timeframe. In that case, you should re-evaluate and construct new objectives.
Step 5: Set A Budget:
Marketing does not come free. Devote certain percentages of your budget to specific channels. Generally, higher allocations of funds will lead to more effective marketing. However, if you are not experiencing the results you are seeking, it may be necessary to adjust and re-evaluate your budget.
Step 6: Evaluate Performance:
The work does not end there. Once the strategy is in place, it is crucial that you continually audit its performance. If it is not achieving the results you are seeking by the timeframe you have established, it may be necessary to adjust certain variables within the plan. Were you reaching too high with your goals? Are your marketing tactics not achieving the progress you were expecting? Was your budget set too high? These are the questions you should be asking when evaluating the performance of your strategy.
A well-developed marketing strategy will provide your business with the direction necessary to achieve its long-term goals.