The importance of… a marketing strategy
(Posted on 28/07/21)
We have all heard the old adage, ‘fail to plan, plan to fail’, but just how important is it to have a marketing strategy?
Time to think
There is no right way to develop a marketing strategy – it can range from a ‘strategy on a page’ through to a document that challenges War and Peace in length and complexity! The most important thing is making sure that it is right for you, that it will develop as your business progresses and is treated like a working document, rather than a ‘dust gatherer’. One of the key benefits of taking the time to develop a marketing strategy is that it makes you take the time out of your busy workday to really think about your business and what you are trying to achieve. You might have developed the best product or service in the world, but unless you can clearly answer the ‘so what?’, you might never find the right audience for your offering.
At its most basic, a marketing strategy deals with the four Ps of the marketing mix – product, price, promotion and place. What are you going to sell, at what price, how you are going to market it and where are you going to sell it? If you are marketing a service, then this becomes the seven Ps, with people, physical evidence, and process added to the mix.
Developing your value proposition
Developing your value proposition is important. It provides the foundations for all your future marketing activity. It should be a simple statement that clearly encapsulates why a customer would choose your product or service. It focuses on the clearest benefit that your customer will receive. It should address your customer’s challenge and make the case for your company to provide the solution.
Understanding your audience
Your product needs to be fit for purpose, so identifying your target audience and carrying out segmentation within that audience will help you understand what they want and need. This is essential, as only by doing that can you ensure that the product or service you are providing will meet their needs and expectations – and the marketing messages you develop will speak to them, as well as reach them, via the right channels.
Competition is healthy
It’s not only your own business and your customer base that you need to understand. It’s also about knowing who you are competing against. Competitor research is time well spent and might even help you identify a particular gap in the market.
Channels and messages
Once you understand your business, your target customer and your competition, it’s time to think about the channels you will use to market your product – and the messages you will send out. An integrated marketing communications plan has the best chance of success, with multiple touchpoints where your potential customers will interact with the marketing messages. The level of activity maybe dependent on budget, but with potentially low-cost marketing opportunities, like networking, PR and social media, available, a smaller budget doesn’t need to be a barrier to a successful marketing campaign.
Direction of travel
Only by identifying what you are trying to achieve and how you are going to achieve I t, are you able to recognise success when you get there. Therefore, an important part of your marketing strategy should be about setting specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and timed (SMART) objectives – and then possibly more importantly – holding yourself accountable to achieving them.
At Zebra, we enjoy working closely with our clients to help them understand what they are trying to achieve and how they are going to achieve it, then developing and implementing the plan to help make this a reality. If you would like to find out more, contact us.