Marketing Strategy: What is it? Do you need one?
Simply put, a marketing strategy is a business's overall plan for connecting with and recruiting more customers. Without a strategy, companies are throwing spaghetti at a wall and seeing what sticks, and they will miss the reason something sticks and another does not.
A good strategy will define the company’s vision, mission and goals, and outline the steps needed to take to achieve these goals. Because the marketing strategy will affect much of the operation of the company, this strategy should not be created in a vacuum, but rather as a team. The entire team must be on the same page so the company’s brand is consistent throughout all levels of marketing. Inconsistent branding or marketing can lead consumers to see companies as disorganized or worse, phoney.
Mission, Vision and Goals
Marketing is about telling potential customers what a business is and what it is about. This is often referred to as branding, and is becoming more and more important.
Millennials are known for wanting to shop with their values as well as feeling connected to businesses they use. Companies must have a brand with a clear mission and show their customers what it is.
Other companies will be providing the same or similar services. Looking at competitors' marketing, reviews and social media page can help companies understand what they are providing or what they can provide that is unique. Doing this research will help businesses brand themselves and reach the right people.
Before setting out on a marketing campaign, companies must consider their goals for the campaign, or they will never know if they have reached success or know if they have failed.
Set SMART goals. These are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-bound goals.
Identifying key demographic and competition
A business’s next step when creating a marketing strategy is to know who they are marketing to. They can do this by creating what is known as a Buyer Persona. A Buyer Persona personalizes your customers. Rather than yelling to a bunch of people, having a Buyer Persona allows a company to imagine one person and have an intimate conversation with them.
It is much easier to share with one person the ethics, goals and value of a company. Talking to thousands or millions can be overwhelming.
To build this persona, business owners should think about the same things they would if they were buying a gift: age, gender, location and interests. There are some other factors to take into consideration as well: socio-economic status, marital status, buying motivations and buying concerns.
Remember though, people are not stereotypes, so be careful about making assumptions.
To avoid this, just ask your most loyal customers to do a quick survey and find out why they are loyal and what it is about them that makes them so. This way the Buyer Persona has much more weight behind it.
Now that the Buyer Persona is developed, the next step is to identify how to reach them. For some, using a combination of traditional and new forms may be appropriate. For some, they may only need a digital marketing campaign.
No one only needs a traditional marketing plan that does not make use of digital marketing. Digital marketing includes social media and email marketing. Which combination a company uses will be based on their customer base.
What is the point of having a strategy and not knowing if it has worked. If executed properly, a marketing strategy has SMART goals. The M is for measurable. Be sure to revisit these goals. Use the outcomes to tweak, revise and continue.