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June 30, 2015

Setting out your Marketing Strategy

Any good marketing strategy will look to align the Businesses aims and objectives to activities. By mapping out where the business wants to go you can ascertain what you are trying to achieve with your marketing strategy.

A key element in any marketing strategy is knowing and exceeding your customer’s need. Researching where your potential customers are currently shopping and what they are getting for their money is a great way to start. Using this information, you can look to take your product or service one step further. Ensuring your product or service is perfectly pitched, preferably in a niche area will make developing and targeting your strategy more straightforward.

Setting budgets from the outset will help you to see the strategy as a whole, identifying the most significant areas of spend and justifying this to your colleagues. Smaller budgets must not be seen as a constraint; they may mean you have to set the pace of any campaigns over an achievable timescale but they will also push you to investigate more cost effective mediums to reach your potential customers.

Once you have identified your own business aims, carried out your research and costings analysis and decided on your pitch you can start pulling together your strategy. A comprehensive marketing strategy will cover four key areas:

  • Increasing your penetration within markets where you already exist.
  • Identify and develop new markets for existing products or services.
  • Looking to develop new products or services.
  • Entering new markets with new products and services.

However, if you are a smaller business you are better to focus your resources in two of these key areas and ensure you do this well rather than spreading yourself to thinly trying to achieve all four. Most people overlook the value of maximizing business with an existing customer and if you have limited resources this is a great place to start.

Your marketing strategy is not set in stone and neither should it be, the strategy should constantly evolve with your business. We review our strategy once a month asking ourselves 3 questions:

  1. Where are we on the strategy now?
  2. Is this where we wanted to be according to our timeline?
  3. How can we stay on track? /catch up? /slow down?

Remember a written strategy that everyone has played a part in helps the business speak with one voice and ensures everyone has brought into the direction in which you are travelling. It can also help if you are looking to secure extra funds, either through a grant, investor or the bank. Most importantly, a strategy is a great basis to set your measurements for success and identify your Returns on Investment (ROI).

By setting goals as a part of your strategy you can reflect on the effectiveness of any one particular activity. Although ROI is a good measurement it must not always be taken as financial, particularly in marketing. If a promotional activity such as increased social media interaction is based on building presence and brand awareness it is difficult to attribute direct sales to this activity. However, if more people are engaging with you it is likely the benefits are there – it may just take longer to reap the rewards.

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