Many businesses want to develop and implement a strategy that allows their product to sell itself. That’s the dream. A strong marketing strategy will target the right audiences in ways that will make them think about your company. As a result, your stores and online properties begin to see more traffic and revenues.
On the other hand, an intelligent marketing approach will stimulate demand for years to come. The target audience will become aware of a need they were previously unaware existed. The aim is for consumers to think of your product or service category, and your brand is the first thing that springs to mind.
Coca-Cola, Campbell’s, and Disney did not become household names by accident. Thoughtful planning, execution, and analysis revealed strategies to reach high-potential market niches while setting apart the brand enough to differentiate it from the competition. If you want your company to become a household name, this is required.
There is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all marketing strategy or a set of approaches that will work for every organisation. It would be so simple if it were that simple. However, like all things in business, marketing requires a bit of elbow grease and a lot of persistence. You can, however, experiment with different ways of doing marketing, measure the outcomes, and make adjustments as you go. Here are some ideas to help you start making your strategic marketing plans a reality.
Take a look at your previous strategies.
“If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” almost everyone has heard. That may be a cute wordplay, but sometimes a business is too prepared to live with broken strategy. Great marketing plans begin with a deep understanding of what has and hasn’t worked in the past. All methods have advantages and disadvantages, or strengths and weaknesses, and determining which ones are critical to success.
Perhaps past research indicated that a marketing message emphasising lower costs than your rivals would resonate with your target demographic. While the statement drew shoppers in the door, it didn’t keep them there. Working out the triggers or pain points that reduced pricing addressed is only half the battle. You must also identify and comprehend the pain points that caused those same clients to stop buying from you.
You’ll find fresh approaches to try by looking at what worked well with a previous plan and what didn’t. Perhaps the price isn’t a powerful enough motivator for your ideal customers anymore. You might find that you’re chasing the wrong market for your business. Or, after a bit of analysis and soul-searching, you may find that your messaging lacks a central subject, producing confusion about what your brand stands for.
Even if you aren’t a marketing genius, read niche-specific information for your industry. For example, if you are a solicitor, look for a book on SEO for law companies. If you’re a real estate agent, go for a book on social media for realtors. Just because marketing isn’t your area of expertise doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be aware of popular methods in your business. After you’ve learned from your previous tactics and what the leaders in your game are doing, consider what you can do differently in the future.
Build on your uniqueness
Real-world businesses rarely find success by blending in with the crowd. You must discover methods to differentiate yourself, even if what you sell becomes commonplace. Product and brand positioning are essential components of comprehensive marketing strategies. You’ll usually find what a brand stands for as a single positioning statement in a marketing plan. This very concept is something that Donald Miller’s “Building a StoryBrand” can assist you with defining.
While communicating how you want your target audience to perceive your business, you build a positioning statement on uniqueness. This statement describes what distinguishes your brand’s stuff from similar products and services. Positioning clarifies why customers should buy from you not just once but repeatedly.
Narrowing down on what makes your brand unique entails more than just stepping up your previous marketing plan. If you extend that failed low-price strategy to more products, it’s doubtful that your target audience will have a compelling reason to stick around. After all, they didn’t stick around when you last tried that. Instead, it would be best to create a story that appeals to the emotional and subjective reasons your brand is unique.
Ideally, that story should match up with the values and lifestyles of your target audience. Specific market segments do not continue to purchase a particular brand of specialty coffee because they require a caffeine boost. They’re investing in an experience that includes individualised service, a coffee shop atmosphere, and a sense of exclusivity. You can see this in action at Phil Di Bella’s Coffee Commune in Brisbane. Likewise, you will draw some customers to your social responsibility initiatives and community involvement.
Develop Your Game Plan
Ideas become a reality by laying out the lengths you’ll go to cross the finish line. Creating a game plan for your marketing strategy is similar. Involve your team (if you have one) to develop realistic approaches to achieve your goals. Many businesses employ SMART objectives that are clear, measurable, and time-bound.
For example, suppose your strategy’s primary goal is to grow market share. This aim, on its own, is too broad and does not provide adequate direction for your team. Instead, include percentages, timeframes, and audience groups to narrow it down. Your new target could be to expand market share by 15% in two markets during the following year.
You might also set out to achieve this goal through a combination of social media, direct mail, traditional advertising, and email blasts. Allow your staff to comment on whether the objectives are fair and if there’s enough time to implement them. The 10% growth target may be out of reach given current numbers and competitive activity. However, 5% may be a reasonable aim based on your data.
Put the Strategy into Action
The only way to find out if something will work is to try it. Spending too much time endlessly generating ideas can cause strategies to become over-complicated or even obsolete. However, just because you followed through on your plan doesn’t guarantee you’re finished. During the execution of your strategy, it’s critical to track how well your approach is working and make adjustments as needed.
If consumers aren’t responding positively to your brand’s story, ask your front-line employees to help collect more data. Collect customer feedback from sales and service staff and information from consumer surveys and reviews. While you can take some input with a grain of salt (especially the extreme feedback), look for commonalities and recurring themes that point to the source of the problem. Don’t disregard or discount comments because of your blind spots about your business. Better still, give the feedback to someone that isn’t as invested in the game as you. They’ll be far more honest and less affected if the results don’t read the way you’d like them to.
It takes practice to develop and implement a good marketing strategy. And, as consumers and market factors change, successful plans do not always hold. Things move fast in this digital economy, so a plan right now may not be a good plan in 6 months. Nonetheless, entering into comprehensive analysis with an open mind, innovative ideas based on audience feedback, and implementing a solid game plan, at least for now, can help you bring a successful marketing strategy to life.
Dante St James is the founder of Clickstarter, a Facebook Blueprint Certified Lead Trainer, a Community Trainer with Facebook Australia, a digital advisor with Business Station, an accredited ASBAS Digital Solutions advisor and presenter, and the editor at The Small Marketer. You can watch free 1-hour webinars and grow your digital skills at Dante’s YouTube Channel.