Have you got a plan? Why strategy is everything when it comes to business success
Imagine having a wedding without a plan. Buying a house without a mortgage repayment scheme. Having no daily routine of getting up, getting dressed, having breakfast etc. People need plans, and people power businesses. So businesses need strategy.
Marketing strategy is a crucial component of any long-term business plan. It’s a long-term approach to maintaining consistent, competitive advantage, which is not an easy feat with the explosion of e-commerce. Think of it as a road-map, one that outlines how you’re going to attract and keep customers. It’s the bare bones of a business selling products or services. Broken down into basics, it’s what you’re offering, who you’re offering it to, how you’re going to deliver it and where you stand in terms of competitors.
Let’s outline why having a marketing strategy is vital to the long term success of your business.
It sets out clear guidelines and allocation of resources.
Having a strategy takes a long-term business plan and divides it into the essential over-riding objectives. What you’re offering, to who, where and how. Defining your basic business goals and attributing tasks and objectives to those goals, can rally up a workforce with focus and an enhanced sense of responsibility. Marketing strategies that are goal focussed with clear tasks and objectives provide a simple, more manageable guideline to actions that need to be taken to achieve your objectives. It allows you to use your resources, both in employee and equipment form more efficiently, allowing you to stick to your budget, making sure that your expenditure is staying below your profit yields whilst driving those conversion rates upwards.
It helps brand your business and makes it unique.
Although setting business goals and objectives to ultimately boost leads and convert them into buyers and returning customers is the main advantage of using marketing strategy, it’s also a great way to get your brand out there. With plenty of competition and increased advertising reach, consumers are beginning to need more than just a great product. Brand values, brand culture and the purpose of your business can all be developed and expressed through effective marketing strategy. Your vision as a brand is communicated through your marketing, a way for consumers to build a personal connection with a brand not just because of the brand’s products but because of what the brand represents. Creating a marketing strategy that allows you to communicate your ‘brand identity’ not only shows potential customers why your product is superior to any other, but also why they should choose your brand over anyone else.
It can better your understanding of your customers.
Determining and understanding your target market is another great advantage of having an effective marketing strategy. Knowing your target audience is knowing what they really need, and offering them a solution to satisfy this need. You need to become relevant to your potential customers. Behind every marketing strategy is target audience research – strategy that is based on consistent, repeated research into customer attitude and behaviour towards your products and brand as a whole. Having a robust, adaptable marketing strategy allows you to continuously gather consumer data and adjust your marketing tactics accordingly.
It can improve the promotion of your business to your customers.
Part-in-parcel of target audience research is keeping on top of where your customers are most likely to shop. You can’t just know their wants, needs and behaviours; you also need to know where they like to browse and where they spend their time. With a data-driven marketing strategy you can follow your customer as they go, shaping the methods of promoting your business according to their movements. It allows you to supply engaging, valuable content as well as offer services and products — in other words, marketing strategy not only helps keep on top of promotion to new customers, it also helps retain an existing, returning customer base. Having a well-thought-out marketing strategy is key to not only enticing new customers, but also keeping client retention rates high.
So, having a plan is paramount. Setting up a marketing strategy may seem like a formidable task, and whilst strategising does take time, it is truly invaluable to business success. You can kick-off developing an effective marketing strategy with these bare-bone basics:
- Determine your customer
Really get to know who you are targeting. What do they need? What do their influential peers need? What current problems do they face? What influences the choices they make? Get inside their motivations, attitudes and behaviour. Understanding your demographic is crucial and the only way to do this is through research, research, and more research.
- Know your products inside out
If you’re selling something, you need to truly understand how the product may benefit a buyer. How will the product or service better your target audiences’ quality of life? Does it offer the best solution to their issues?
- Check out the competition
Know and monitor what you’re up against. The last thing you want your product or service to do is to blend in with all the rest. Standing out in terms of price, product, location — what is most important to your customers? Really get to grips with your competition and separate your brand from the rest.
- Develop your Unique Selling Points (USPs)
By meticulously researching your audience and your competition, you know what’s out there and what’s not. This is where creating your Unique Selling Points comes into play. USP’s give you that competitive edge, defining what you offer, who it will benefit and why its superior to the competition.
- Determine your resources
From monetary resources to skills and connections that your team may have, knowing how much you have to play with is crucial to developing a marketing strategy.
- Choose your marketing methods
Direct email marketing, SEO, social media ads — where do your target audience spend most of their time browsing and shopping? You know your market competition and you know your target audiences’ behaviour, attitudes and needs. So what’s the best method of reaching your customers? Whilst most marketing strategies focus on a ‘marketing mix’ of a variety of platforms, channels and deliverables, get to know our audience enough to confidently channel your advertising to their most heavily used platform.
Still seems like a lot? Don’t worry about it. That’s where we come in. At Blonde and Giant, we deliver effective market strategies to suit business from across the sectors. Leave it up to us, we’ll do all the work for you.