Why do you need to develop a marketing strategy? Before you develop your marketing strategy, it’s important to understand your development purpose. By understanding the development purpose, you can develop a powerful strategy. For beginners, the strategy must be developed for external and internal purposes.
For beginners, if you want to compete in a competitive market, not only will you need to develop a marketing strategy. But you must develop your marketing strategy effectively. The marketing strategy provides you with a scheme to promote and sell your product(s) or service(s). It can also be used as a source of information. The marketing strategy is a long-term game plan that helps you;
- Know your products
- Describe your business goals
- Write your marketing goals
- Investigate the market
- Identify your target audience
- Produce a competitive strategy
- Create a growth plan
- Develop a unique selling proposition
- Identify opportunities
- Discover productive marketing channels
- Audit your strategy
- Insert strategy into your marketing plan
A well-developed marketing strategy enables you to determine the direction of your business. It also helps your organization discover opportunities, avoid risks and maximize your earning potential. In addition, it helps you identify your vision and determine your mission. Consequently, you can provide clarity for your business and marketing goals. More importantly, you can outline solutions to achieve your company vision.
After you develop your marketing strategy, you should have a better understanding of your market. You will know who is in your target market. You’ll also find out what your competitors are up to. Most importantly, you will learn more about your company. In the end, you’ll make better marketing decisions. More importantly, you’ll have enough information to write your marketing strategy!
Steps to Develop Your Marketing Strategy
If you develop your marketing strategy with the components below you will attract valuable customers. Ultimately, your company can compete in a competitive market as mentioned earlier. Below are 12 steps that will help you develop your marketing strategy:
1. Know Your Products
Rule number one, know your products. Rule number two, know your brand. Before you develop your marketing strategy, it’s essential to have a complete understanding of what you’re presenting to the market. In addition, you must develop an understanding of how the customer perceives your product.
Before you introduce a product to the market you must know your product and your brand. By understanding your brand and products you can answer questions buyers or investors may ask. Specifically, questions like “What problems do your products solve”? Are your products user-friendly? Will consumers have emotional triggers when using your product(s)? At the end of the day, you must identify the benefits of your product(s). But, you must also recognize its defects.
2. Describe Your Business Goals
To start with, you must identify your business goals. Establishing your business goals is the following step. Documenting your business goals will give your management team something to aim for. It’s essential to include goals for every period, i.e., short term, mid-term, and long term. That way the organization is constantly on the go.
But to ensure business success early on, it’s advised to develop SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, time-specific) business objectives. That way you can increase your chances of achieving your business objectives.
Therefore, you should focus on establishing internal and external goals. For instance, you can develop internal objectives like increasing your profit margin. Or you can establish external targets like growing your customer base.
3. Write Your Marketing Goals
Every marketing strategy must include marketing goals. You can’t properly develop your marketing strategy without goals. Goals provide you with a target, something to strive for. Without a target to reach, there’s nothing to strive for. Therefore, it’s imperative to write down your goals to provide clarity to your vision. Like they say “you can’t reach a destination without a plan to get there”."Goals are like mile markers, they give you the ability to identify how close you are to your destination". Click To Tweet
Establishing targets and objectives is the foundation of organizational growth. It gives your organization the ability to increase sales, improve awareness and acquire new customers. Setting marketing goals and objectives enables you to know where you’re headed and how to get there.
4. Investigate the Market
Before you write your marketing strategy, you must investigate the market. Researching the market is a process that involves systematically gathering and interpreting information. This process is essential because it enables you to identify products and services that are in demand. In other words, you can discover what customers prefer.
The research process also plays a major role in your organization’s performance. It helps you increase awareness and gain a better perspective. More importantly, you can utilize research to gain an edge in the market. In essence, meticulously conducting market research will empower you to take your business to the next level.
The market research process supplies you with indispensable insights about the marketplace. More specifically, the 3 C’s stand for corporations, competitors, and customers.
Profile Your Competitors
By now I’m sure you’ve realized your business is not the only company in the market. Therefore, you need to take a look at the surrounding businesses. Hence, you’ll need to profile your competitors.
Profiling your competitors can actually help you develop your marketing strategy. Building a competitor profile can give you a clear understanding of what to do and what not to do. It can also help you save time and money.
Analyze Research Data
After you investigate the market, you must analyze market research data. On the surface, strategic marketing steers your organization in the right direction. But it is at the core of marketing strategy where deep insights are identified and solutions delivered.
Market intelligence provides you with sound information. Insights can be developed through methods that include; internal business analysis, external market analysis, competitor analysis, customer analysis, market analysis, etc.
Above all, the data and information collected from research help you make better marketing decisions. The findings give your organization the ability to prioritize the insights necessary to achieve your corporate objectives. Subsequently, you can use this information to develop a comprehensive game plan.
5. Identify Your Target Audience
Identifying the target audience is one of the most important phrases in developing the marketing strategy. The target audience refers to the group of consumers predetermined as your perfect customer. These individuals have been segmented into subgroups through their likelihood of buying your products. By examining factors including their age, purchasing power, gender, gender, geographical location, and marital status.
Customers are by far the most valuable asset to organizations. Without customers, an organization can’t survive. Even if the business has the finest products in your marketplace. For this purpose, you need to identify your target audience.
Profile Your Target Audience
Profiling your customers enables your organization to develop an understanding of who your customers are. It also provides you with information on what they do. This can help you offer your customers better products and services. which enables a company to innovate, grow and prosper.
What is a customer profile? A customer profile or consumer profile is a document that reveals the purchasing patterns of an organization’s customers. It also reveals their, interests, demographic characteristics, and socioeconomic status along with other traits.
6. Produce a Competitive Strategy
Developing a competitive strategy involves identifying factors that enable your organization to outperform your competitors. The process helps you develop a better understanding of the business environment. More importantly, it helps you identify internal and external business factors that will help you gain a maintainable competitive advantage.
3 characteristics of a generic competitive strategy:
- Extraordinary skills – (e.g. developing specialists through seminars, training, or professional development courses)
- Superior position – (the degree to which your product(s), services, and the marketplace is isolated from the competition)
- Distinctive resources – (the access you have to specialized assets, e.g. suppliers, patents, trademarks, etc)
The competitive strategy focuses on two variants, cost focus and differentiation focus. Cost focus is a strategic technique that highlights cost minimization within a target market. Differentiation focus is also a strategic technique, it highlights pursuing tactical differentiation with a focused market.
7. Create a Growth Plan
Developing an effective marketing strategy is no simple process. Therefore, it’s important to start in the right direction when you launch a business or develop new products. For this purpose, it’s important to focus on establishing a growth plan.
The growth strategy or growth plan is a set of marketing actions that enables you to attain a higher market share. It involves identifying components of the business in which the customer perceives value. The process involves formulating business intentions and developing tactics to achieve goals.
8. Develop a Unique Selling Proposition (USP)
As a small business, one thing that you want to ensure customers is the value of your products and services. Therefore, it is critical to focus on developing a unique selling proposition (USP). Utilizing this promotional technique can inadvertently influence consumers to purchase from you as opposed to competitors. In other words, you can start captivating customers from your competitors by producing an effective unique selling proposition.
The unique selling proposition (USP) or unique selling point refers to features or benefits that differentiate a service, brand, or product from competitors.
The main reason for the establishment of a unique selling point is to ensure the success of your products and services. As noted, generating an indisputable USP allows you to distance your brands, products, and services from your competitors. But it also enables customers to differentiate products and services, which increases levels of brand recall.
Nonetheless, developing a profitable unique selling proposition (USP) requires extensive research about your customers and category. However, effectively creating your USP will enable you to focus on the next task.
9. Identify Opportutnities
As a small business, it’s crucial to be in the right place at the right time. This means you must be where the customers are. If you don’t have customers, you can’t earn money. For this purpose, you must identify unique opportunities. In other words, you must identify market opportunities. These could be internal or external opportunities. For example, your business idea, marketing channels, team members, skills, or pricing strategies.
10. Discover Productive Marketing Channels
How can you find productive marketing channels for business promotion? For beginners, you must identify your niche to discover valuable marketing channels. In other words, you’ll need to find out your passion or things you enjoy doing. Are you a skilled videographer, writer, speaker, etc?
A marketing channel is a platform where goods and services are transferred between businesses and people. According to Wikipedia, a marketing channel consists of people, organizations, and activities necessary to transfer the ownership of goods from the point of production to the point of consumption.
For starters, it’s important to focus on mastering one channel at a time. Once you’ve mastered one channel you can move to the next.
Luckily for you, most people use digital technology these days. What does this mean? Digital marketing channels can help your business grow. Many small businesses have established market positions overnight through social channels.
11. Audit Your Strategy
The second to last step to developing your marketing strategy involves auditing your strategy. Auditing your strategy lets you know if your organization is ready to pursue the strategy. This process consists of examining all phases of your strategy. From your products to the identification of marketing channels.
It’s easy to get caught up believing the job is complete once you’ve allocated, so must data and info. Nonetheless, the marketing strategy is an endless process; it requires continuous maintenance, updates, and revisions. More importantly, it requires a significant amount of groundwork, studying, and patience.
12. Insert Strategy Into Marketing Plan
After you develop your marketing strategy, you’ll need to insert it into your marketing plan. However, you must review your strategy to determine if it is safe to move on.
A plan like a strategy also contains a set of tools and techniques that help your business grow. The plan supplies you with an outline to carry out your objectives. It contains tools and techniques that are designed to help you achieve distinctive marketing goals & objectives within a measured time frame.
Write Your Marketing Strategy
As you write your marketing strategy, it’s essential to focus on providing customers with value. If you can manage to achieve this any plan will work.
The marketing strategy can be developed individually or collaboratively. However, most organizations delegate teams or groups to carry out this process because it adds diversity and creativity to the strategy.
You can use the 8 Ps framework to write your marketing strategy;
- List the price of your product(s) and service(s). (Pricing Strategy)
- Write a detailed description of the physical product and its features. (Product Description)
- Explain the marketing techniques, tactics, and strategies you’re using for advertising and promotion. (Marketing Strategies)
- List your places of business, or where the products are sold, e.g., online, offline. (Place of Business)
- Jot down the employees or representatives of your business. (Executives, Managers, Staff)
- Describe your desired mood or tone of the business environment. (Building or Website Layout)
- Define elements that differentiate your product from your competitors. , e.g. warranties, discounts. (Competitive Strategy)
- Describe the equipment used to protect the product. (Packaging)