The development of a marketing strategy is critical to the success of any business regardless of size. Similar to a business plan, a marketing strategy will help you focus your efforts and determine where and how to spend your budget. The process involves looking at your business’ strengths, weaknesses, competitive advantages, and target market.
A marketing strategy won’t guarantee success, but it will help guide you in determining when, how, and why you’re carrying out its tactics—and in turn, increase your chances for success and help you better understand both the industry and your own business.
Follow these six steps to get started:
- Review Your Business Plan
How does your business’ products and/or services benefit your customer? What separates you from your competition? How do you stand out in the market? Reviewing your business plan will help you brainstorm your unique selling proposition.
- Lay Out Your Goals
Are you looking to increase the market share of a specific service? Do you want to grow gross revenue? Any solid strategy must begin with measurable objectives you can quantitatively compare against your results.
- Identify Your Target Audience
This step is essential! Your products and services may provide value to a wide range of people, but that doesn’t mean you should spend your marketing budget trying to reach all of them! To be successful, it’s important to develop a customer profile including as much detail as possible. To accomplish this, look at your best customers and make a list of their characteristics (gender, age, geographic location, level of education, career, income level, etc.). It’s also important to understand what motivates your customers to buy from you. This can be accomplished through current customer research.
- Develop Marketing Tactics
Define marketing tactics that will address your objectives, reach your target market, and build a loyal client base. Each tactic should be related to a specific goal. For example, if you want to reach 95 percent client satisfaction this year, your tactical plan will likely include a client survey.
- Put Together a Schedule
Your strategy’s execution will truly make it or break it. While you may be eager to get started, your marketing plan needs a schedule with a timeline as well as the costs associated with each step. It’s important you develop this implementation schedule with your company’s leadership team and key employees to ensure your objectives are reasonable and that you have the resources and expertise to effectively complete all of the tactics. Most companies find value in outsourcing many of their marketing tactics.
- Track Your Progress and Modify Tactics
It’s important to note that marketing plans (just like financial plans) need to be consistently monitored and modified as needed. The market will likely look very different two years from now—so it’s imperative a marketing plan is adaptive to capitalize on every potential avenue of revenue. Set up regular meetings with your staff and/or marketing partners to evaluate your progress and identify issues. In order to maintain your traction, it’s important you learn from both your mistakes and victories!
Developing a marketing plan is a considerable amount of work, and it’s difficult to be objective about your own business when you’re so close to it. Because of this, many businesses choose to partner with a marketing agency to facilitate the process in a more effective and efficient manner.
If you have any questions about the development of an effective marketing strategy, please leave them in the comment section below or privately reach out to the Baer Performance Marketing team here.