What is a Marketing Strategy?
A marketing strategy is a simple game plan for your business. This plan is designed to help you achieve your marketing objectives and goals by focusing your resources on the areas where it will have the most impact. Having a marketing strategy that’s personalised to your business can help increase sales as well as achieve a sustainable action plan that will give you an advantage against your competitors. Marketing is not a one-off activity, and with so many different components being necessary throughout every stage of your business, it can be easy to lose track. Putting a marketing strategy in place creates clear sustainable guidelines that you and your team can use time and time again.
It’s extremely important to make sure your business has a marketing strategy from as early as possible. These strategies not only lay down a set of steps to help you focus on the short-term and long-term marketing goals of your business, but they form a streamlined strategy which ensures that your team are all on the same page and can easily work together to achieve the same goals. You wouldn’t build a house on rocky terrain, so you shouldn’t run a business without having a solid marketing strategy in place first.
How do I create a Marketing Strategy?
Creating a marketing strategy may sound big and scary, but it can be broken down into five simple steps.
Step One: Build your story
The first step of creating a marketing strategy is to identify who your brand is. This includes a little bit about you, your industry and who else may be involved. It’s easiest to write whatever comes to mind first, you can always go back to it over time to make any changes or add anything you missed earlier. It’s always a good idea to include your strengths and weaknesses in this first step. This will help you to understand your business more as well as make it easier to outline the goals and marketing objectives you’re aiming to achieve.
Once you have begun to build your story, you can move onto the next step in creating your marketing strategy.
Step Two: Vision, missions and values
Now you know who you are, you can start thinking about what goals you want to set for your business. In this section, you can include your visions, missions and values. These all sound like the same thing at a first glance, but they actually play their own individual roles.
Your vision should be what you want your business to achieve, it is almost like a goal. For example, if you run your own bakery your vision may be to provide custom made cakes to new clients.
Your mission should be how you want to achieve your vision. In this scenario, your mission could be to promote your services across social media or in local community groups to increase the awareness of your brand.
Your values are personal to you. They are how you conduct yourself and help your client base better identify yourself as a business. As a baker, your values could be to only use the best ingredients and provide your customers with high quality products at reasonable prices.
When choosing your vision, mission and values, you should try to make sure that they are SMART. This acronym stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time Bound. By ensuring that your targets meet each of these criteria, your visions, missions and values will be relevant to your business and allow you to reflect on your results further down the line.
Step Three: Current marketing activities
The third step of creating a marketing strategy involves looking at the current activities that are active within your business. Marketing activities can be anything from sharing a post on social media to running paid ads on Google. Don’t worry if you haven’t done any of this, you can include that you have no current marketing activities and begin from there. If you have tried certain processes and find that they aren’t working very well, make sure to mention this. You can include the results from each tried and tested marketing activity as well as what improvements are required to help your business reach objectives you want to achieve.
Step Four: What makes you different?
In this step, it is important to consider what makes your business unique, as well as how you differ from your competitors and the current market. It can sometimes be hard to try and big ourselves up, but if you simply write down the first things that come to mind you can always revisit it at a later date. Things that are always good to consider are not only the products and services that you provide, but also the unique features and benefits that you can offer to your clients when providing these services.
Step Five: Target Audience
The final step to complete your marketing strategy is to get a solid idea of who your target audience is. After all, these are the people you will be appealing to and therefore you need to make sure that your marketing activities are relevant and will engage your target audience. Factors to consider when thinking about who your audience is include things such as gender, age and demographic. As well as this, you need to know where your audience is. With the rise of online businesses, it is important to identify where you will be reaching your audience. Are they all online? Or do you offer a product that will engage more face-to-face service? Finally, what is your target audience interested in? Knowing these details about your target audience will make the marketing process much easier.
It’s as simple as that! Keeping your marketing strategy to a doable five step process creates a sustainable plan that helps to keep you focused on your business goals!
Cathy Burns, Director
Tel: 07940 461113.