If you have a company that is in the business of making money, then you need a marketing strategy, because the marketing strategy is your roadmap to guide you in your efforts to get the maximum impact for the marketing dollars, time and resources you invest to reach your business goals.
A marketing strategy is a process or model to allow a company or organization to focus limited resources on the best opportunities to increase sales and thereby achieve a sustainable competitive advantage.
Effective marketing planning and execution is a process, and for every process it makes sense to start at the top with the raison d’être the French phrase meaning “reason for existence”, and work your way down to the bottom.
What are your business goals? These are the high level objectives and clearly defined targets that your company is trying to meet. The main objectives could be short-term survival, sales growth, profit maximization, fulfilling ethical or social responsibilities, providing a public service, etc.
Once you’ve defined your business goals, your next step is to develop and execute a winning marketing strategy to achieve your objectives.
What is your marketing strategy? These are the rules that govern what marketing efforts you focus on. Planning out ‘how’ you are going to use marketing to achieve your objectives.
In order to develop an effective strategy, there are a series of questions you will need to ask yourself in order to build out a roadmap, which will serve as the basis for the rules that govern what marketing efforts you focus on. This includes understanding your current situation, your business, your key success drivers, and how you deliver value to your customer. Knowing your market, your message, and the mix of marketing initiatives you currently use to reach your audience.
4 Steps to Developing Your Marketing Roadmap:
- Know your business
- Understand your market
- Define your message
- Develop your marketing mix
Developing your roadmap paints a detailed picture of your business, which will ensure a strong market orientation necessary to navigate you to reach intended results. Armed with this information, you can begin defining your marketing goals, strategies and tactics.
Your Marketing Goals
Your marketing goals should be clearly aligned to your business objectives and are essentially born out of those business goals. Are you trying to increase revenue from existing customers? Are you seeking new prospects? Is your goal to grow market share, increase revenue, increase customer lifetime value, increase brand equity, or something else?
Your Marketing Strategies
Given all of the information gathered at the roadmap stage, you can begin outlining 3-5 key strategies that best align with your business/marketing goals. Each of your strategies should support your marketing goal, drive your unique value proposition, and satisfy your target market’s needs. For example, if your target market’s buying decision is highly influenced by their peer group on the Internet, then one strategy might be to use a social media and community based marketing approach to connect with that audience online.
Your Marketing Tactics
The final step in the marketing planning process is to prioritize the various marketing tactics for each of the key strategies. The tactics define ‘how’ you are going to reach your objectives. In keeping with the strategy example above, a tactic that could be used to facilitate the social media strategy would be to create an online referral program for customers to share their buying experiences via a Facebook page incentive program.
Strong marketing strategy planning using a disciplined marketing approach is critical to build a thriving business – optimizing your sales efforts, investing your marketing dollars efficiently, and reaching your business goals. Please share your thoughts and questions on building an effective marketing strategy in the comment box below.