There is no other way to navigate the tumultuous world of marketing than to plan ahead of time and put everything down in writing. Things like promotion and branding are not something you can do sporadically, haphazardly, or in isolation from other core business aspects.
That is why a sound marketing strategy is integral to achieving success. It lays out objectives, means of executing them, and channels of message delivery. What is more, it fleshes out your ideas and visions and offers them to the scrutiny of market realities. So, it is time to assemble a skeleton of your strategy and set the foundation for long-term success. Here are the crucial moving parts you must have in place.
Goals as guiding lights
On the broadest level, marketing strategy is aligned with long-term business aims and aspirations. It supports strategic planning and takes an overarching view of the business organization as the whole. For this to really work, there must be a high-level of coordination across strategic documents and different departments and teams (especially those like sales).
Furthermore, a marketing strategy is supposed to define clear, specific, realistic, and measurable goals. Some of the most common objectives that companies pursue are increasing word of mouth, generating leads, retaining profitable customers, tapping into new markets, successfully introducing new product/service, etc.
Research is the cornerstone of any solid strategy. A thorough market analysis requires you to grasp multifarious factors such as the size of the market and its growth potential. Moreover, it is used to uncover target customers and gain deeper insight into their habits, behavior, spending patterns, lifestyle preferences, etc.
So, dive into demographics and historic online data. Another staple of market research comes in the form of competitive analysis. You should scope out what others are doing and try to draw lessons from their experience. Finally, focus on your own strengths and weaknesses, trying to emphasize the former and offset the latter.
Segmentation and targeting
The next stage involves making the leap from theory into practice. Namely, once you have identified your target customers, you have to segment them into different groups according to their varying needs and characteristics. This approach, which is the opposite of a scattergun tactic, will allow you to target with precision and come up with personalized and tailored solutions.
Ideally, you should get a clear idea of how your products and services match expectations and how you can offer something that others cannot. Use your unique value proposition (UVP) and unique selling point (USP) to highlight the benefits that you have going for you.
Tools of the trade
Good communication is the key to really getting your messages across. This is to say that your strategy has to determine the key ingredients of your marketing mix, which is the combination of all the tools and channels you are going to use. The two mainstays are digital and traditional advertising and it is a good idea to employ them both in synergy, to your maximum advantage.
Thus, it would be wise to delight customers with tangible items like free catalogs, but also communicate via social media and other online channels. Use word of mouth PR, advertising, print media, shop displays, promotion, and whatever works in the context of your target audience. Investing in marketing is not the cheapest activity for companies, but even if you are a freelancer you can consider applying for personal loans and start promoting your business ideas.
Keeping it in check
What is left is a system of checks and balances that hold your marketing strategy together. They typically fall into the marketing plan segment, a longer and more detailed document. So, set up a budget as well as a timetable for reaching objectives. Allocate resources optimally, where they matter the most and bring the maximum ROI.
Finally, designate tools for keeping track of performance indicators and evaluating the impact of your campaigns. You might want to take into account various telltale signs like the number of clicks on the page, time spent there, conversion rates, social signals, etc. There is an ocean of data out there and cutting-edge tools for gathering and processing it lie at your disposal.
On top of the game
If you want to piece through the marketing noise out there, work out a clear path of action and master the art of planning, designing, and implementation. Lay the groundwork for detailed market research and analysis. Use facts and figures as building blocks of your campaigns. Sketch the logistics of distribution channels and set the tone for how the products and services will be presented to people.
Monitor the results of marketing activity and achieve victories on both fronts, both the digital and ‘real world’. Bear in mind that your strategy is not set in stone. Things change fast, which means that you might need to make regular updates and tweaks to your plans and strategies. Using five vital elements, you should be able to spread the word, produce healthy recurring revenue, and get ahead of the pack in 2018 and beyond.
Guest author, Raul Harman, is a B.Sc. in Innovative entrepreneurship and has a lot to say about innovations in all aspects of digital technology and online marketing. While he’s not enjoying football and great food, you can find him on Technivorz.com