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Your Definitive Step-by-Step Guide to Creating the Ultimate Marketing Strategy

Updated on July 9, 2016

Creating a Marketing Strategy

Creating a marketing strategy
Creating a marketing strategy | Source

The only way to beat the competition is to stop trying to beat the competition

— W.Chan Kim & Renee Mauborgne

Importance of a marketing strategy

Developing a marketing strategy is extremely important for your business. Without planning one, your efforts to attract, retain and engage customers are likely to be inefficient.

A typical marketing strategy makes sure that your products and services meet the needs of the target audience and goes a long way in creating profitable relationship with customers. In order to achieve this, your strategy should respond to changes in customer perceptions and importantly should focus on demand.

What is an effective marketing strategy?

An effective marketing strategy is a well-informed strategy that can help you define your vision, marketing or business goals and it puts forth the steps needed to be taken in order to achieve these goals.

Where to begin?

Where to begin?
Where to begin? | Source

Elements of an effective marketing strategy.

In other words, an effective marketing strategy sets up the foundation for the following elements:

  1. Creating awareness of your business, products and services.
  2. Explaining the position of your products and services in the marketing and competitive landscape.
  3. Identifying the marketing tactics you will need to use to stay and remain unique from your competition
  4. Allowing you to build a marketing plan with outlining the USP of your product/service
  5. Helping you measure the effectiveness of the marketing campaigns, you may conduct.

Pre-requisite: Understand your strengths and weaknesses

First, you need to take note of how your business' strengths and weaknesses will play a crucial role in affecting your marketing.

I would suggest, before you begin crafting your marketing strategy document, you can go ahead and perform an honest and rigorous SWOT analysis that highlights your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats.

Your Strengths may be the following:

  • Flexible customer service support
  • Already having with you a large customer database
  • Special features/benefits/USP that your product and services offer etc.

Your Weaknesses may be the following:

  • Limitations of financial resources
  • Your team not being aware of essential marketing strategies to promote the company's products/services
  • Not having an established reputation in the marketplace etc.

Starter Tip: Know your budget before you begin

Don't forget to include the total money you have to spend - as well as how those dollars will be spent in what particular type of campaigns you execute. Please note that it is best to divide your expenses into categories, and then list the total amount of money you have to spend per category. An example of what I am referring to is displayed in the table, below.

Budget Planning Essentials

Budget Planning Essentials
Budget Planning Essentials | Source

Sample Marketing Budget Planner

Category/Type of Marketing
Time Period
Budget
Social Media Advertising
Jan 1st, 2017 - Jan 30th, 2017
$3000
TV Advertising
Jan 30th, 2017 (2 Prime Time TV Ads in top channels)
$15000
Mobile App Marketing
Feb 04th, 2017 - June 03rd, 2017
$1000
Radio Jingles
July 21st, 2017 - July 22nd, 2017
$1500
Email Marketing
Regularly every week from Jan 1st 2017
$3500
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)
Regularly every week from February 1st after the website and blog is up & running
Nil
Google Adwords and Bing Ads (SEM)
August 3rd 2017 - August 25th 2017
$4000

Step 1: Set goals

The first step would be set goals so that you can visually map your journey and think of where you are at present, what you need to achieve and how far you can go. Your goals can be the following:

  • Boost awareness of your products and services
  • Sell more products
  • Reach new audience or customer segments
  • Generate leads through inbound marketing or any other marketing techniques
  • Establish yourself as a thought-leader in the marketplace

Step 2: Research your market

The next step you need to incorporate in the actual creation of your marketing strategy is to research your market. To do this, you have to gather information about the market, relating to the following:

  1. Growth of the market
  2. Social trends (both past and present)
  3. Audience Demographics that include (age, gender, location, occupation etc.)

Step 3: Profile your customers

After this, you have to further profile your audience and classify them into buyer personas.

Buyer Personas are research-based modelled representations of your target audience. They play a crucial role in identifying your customers needs, interests, their behaviour and what factors influence their buying decisions.

After performing the classification and creating a sample buyer persona, you can look at identifying your potential competitors and their products/services that includes their marketing tricks or tactics they use regularly. Also, delve into thinking about what's your USP, taking into account your competitors products/services.

Step 4: Develop your kick-ass marketing strategy

The final step is to develop the kick-ass marketing strategy itself. All you have to do is:

  • List down your target market and their marketing tactics on paper. Think of what factors were behind their success.
  • List down your goals you need to achieve at the top.
  • Create a roadmap of your product/service/business from where you are currently to how you can attract, retain and engage your customers by achieving the goals. Examples can be such as - Coming up with incentive schemes/offering discounts or following an inbound marketing strategy or creating awareness of your brand through paid advertising etc.

To conclude with, a marketing strategy can be dynamic and interactive and they can be termed as the strategic tactics that can help boost your organisation's growth. Use all the described steps in this blog to create the most powerful marketing strategy.

Also, you can watch the video displayed below to learn the "4 Principles of Marketing Strategy" by Brian Tracy to get more insight into the concept and gain understanding about your marketing mix which includes: how to get customers, how to determine your target markets, what's your competitive advantage etc. If you want more info, refer to the bonus questions section, which you can find at the end of this article.

All the best in your marketing efforts!

Marketing Mind-Map for Success

Marketing Mind-Map for Success
Marketing Mind-Map for Success | Source

4 Principles of Marketing Strategy by Brian Tracy

Bonus Tip: Important Questions to ask yourself while creating your marketing strategy

Here are a few questions to ask yourself while developing your marketing strategy:

  • What are the current trends and changes that are happening in your business environment?
  • What are your typical strengths and weaknesses and what improvements you can focus on?
  • What do you want to achieve? Are your goals or objectives clear and realistic?
  • What is your audience typically looking for? What are their needs, requirements and interests?
  • If you can classify your audience into the most profitable audience vs the rest, which customers will be the most profitable?
  • What's the best possible way to reach out to your customers - email marketing or through videos or tele-calling?
  • How will you attract and target your right potential customers? Are there groups or forums that you can post in to target the niche effectively?
  • What do you suggest or think the best ways to boost your sales and to build a great reputation?
  • Could altering or changing your products or services or features in it increase sales and profitability? It is vital to note that most products or services need to be updated constantly to maintain competitiveness and all of them undergo version changes.
  • What do you think of the price your product or service is set at? Although prices need to be competitive, is it a reasonable price - i.e. a total value for money?
  • What is the best platform you can leverage to distribute and sell your products?
  • What can be some of the best methods to promote your products? A few marketing methods might include advertising, direct marketing, social media marketing, exhibiting at trade fairs, PR or video marketing or word-of-mouth marketing etc.
  • What analytics you can use to tell if your marketing is effective? Think of this, before you start delving into creating any marketing strategy.

Share your best opinion.

Which marketing strategy inspires you?

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© 2016 Srinidhi Ranganathan

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