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You cannot achieve success in any area of your life without a strategy. The same is true of marketing. Marketing is not a standalone activity, distinguished from all other aspects of the business. Rather, marketing is a joint effort that involves collaboration from creative, financial, sales, and technical departments. And without a sound marketing plan in place, the cooks will definitely spoil the broth!
In the following paragraphs, we define what a marketing strategy is and how to use successfully in your business.
Defining Terms of a Marketing Strategy
What is a marketing strategy? In basic terms, a marketing strategy analyzes all aspects of your sales activity and combines it in a way so that all departments know what it going on. Hence, a marketing strategy is the process that allows the organization to focus on available resources and utilize them in the best possible manner to boost sales and gain leverage over competitors.
No marketing strategy can begin without first determining the business goals. These are the long-term objectives of the organization, i.e. where it wants to see itself in, let’s say, the next five years. Of course, there will be business goals for each marketing plan as well.
Another aspect of the marketing strategy is the marketing mix, which can be broken into Product, Pricing, Place, and Promotion.
Putting all of this information together, you should with creating your marketing plan, laying out specifically how plan to achieve the short-term marketing goals (boosting sales, reaching to existing customers etc.) and long-term business objectives (ousting competitors, expansion etc.)
Why Create a Marketing Strategy?
To begin with, marketing strategy helps to create harmony among the organizations. Organizational efficiency improves as everyone is one the same page. So the product development team goes hand in hand with the advertising department to come with the most relevant marketing message. Here are three additional benefits of developing marketing strategies:
1. Distribution Becomes More Efficient
Once your marketing strategy is in place, you know all the necessary details, such as who your target customers are and what price range can you offer. This will help you determine the most effective means of distribution. For instance, if you are catering to a younger demographic, you will have to provide purchase options for mobiles and tablets using services like PayPal and credit cards. Indeed, providing your customers easy methods of shopping is a great way to boost sales and improve customer loyalty.
2. Establish Brand Image
No business in the world can survive in the long without a solid brand image, and this is yet another aspect where a marketing strategy helps you out. A lot of advertising dollars are wasted when you buy media and place adverts on platforms that do not go in line with your brand image. As you develop a brand image, you will know better than placing ads on every website and radio slot that you can get your hands on.
3. Creating Products That Sell
Marketing is not only about promoting your existing line of products. Marketing is getting to the heart of your clientele and understanding their needs. And if you think that your existing products are not doing justice to the customer demand, then you have to redesign your offerings. This is the best way to serve your clientele and solidify your status in the market. And with changing technology and economy, you will have to reinvent yourself to stay relevant, and this is where marketing strategies play a major role.
The bottom-line is that a marketing strategy is necessary if you are to sell the right products at the right price to the right people with the right promotion and distribution methods. This also includes market research and analysis of data using tools like PEST (Political, Economic, Social and Technological analysis) and SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats) analysis.
With this knowledge serving our background, let us go over some marketing strategy do’s and don’ts that you should keep in mind.
These are all the essentials that go in a successful marketing strategy. To begin with, you need to be crystal clear on your business objectives, and these should be communicated to all relevant departments. A good marketing strategy is not one where you invest heavily in technology and multimedia (though these are essential components of marketing). Rather, marketing is all about reaching goals.
If the objective is to persuade the client to give you his email address and he doesn’t, then the marketing has failed¸ no matter how expensive or creative it is. This is not to say that marketing isn’t creative and innovative, but what’s the point of being creative if you fail to stick to your goals?
Your goal can be to create a buzz about your product or service (simply letting people know that you are also there in the market), to use this buzz to create sales, or to prompt customers to become evangelists. Of course, no one is stopping your from targeting all three of these goals at once, the best way to tackle marketing is to pursue one, or at most two, marketing goals at a time.
Another thing that you need to remember that marketing has drastically changed in the digital age. Creating advertising campaigns is not enough. Nowadays, your promotion will most likely garner a Google search for your business. Unless you can leverage analytics, SEO, mobile optimization, podcasts, video content, multi-device support, and other related digital apparatus, you will find hard to stay ahead of competition.
Marketing Strategy: Mistakes to Avoid
To close this article, here are three mistakes that you should avoid when drafting your marketing strategy:
1. Striving for a ‘One-Size-Fits-All’ Approach
This is perhaps the greatest mistake businesses make when implementing a marketing strategy. As mentioned multiple times in the article, the business that fails to recognize market dynamics and adapt its marketing strategy to meet market changes is setting itself for failure.
2. Putting All Eggs in One Basket
Unless you have clear-cut data on your hands to back your marketing decision, you should be careful to spend all your advertising dollars on one or two promotional items (like tradeshows and direct mail). For the most part, your marketing budget should try to incorporate as many channels are possible (email, podcasts, print ads, and marketing etc.).
3. Failure to Track Results
Finally, remember that marketing is only measured by results. When you execute promotional campaigns but fail to track results, you will never be able to spot weakness and hence, there will be no improvement. Marketing is an organic process and closely follows the scientific mindset of trial and error. You find out what works and shun the rest. In the future, all investment follows the strategy that works, and hence you get to save money in the long run.
Hopefully this overview would help you familiarize with all aspects of a successful marketing strategy.