Build A Winning Marketing Strategy – What You Need To Know
What is a Marketing Strategy?
A marketing strategy outlines and analyzes where and how a business fits into the market by expanding on the 4 P’s of marketing (Product, Promotion, Price, Place). It is important to note you cannot build a successful marketing strategy until after you have completed a full market analysis.
The 4 Ps
You can break down the key information in the marketing strategy section using the 4 Ps of marketing concepts.
Product refers to either a physical product or a service you plan on offering. Some of the product areas that should be included in this section are:
- Related products or services
This part covers the various aspects of how you plan on marketing your product or service. The areas you will need to address include:
- Marketing budget
- Promotional strategy
- Publicity and public relations
- Sales promotion
This part addresses the way you plan on pricing your product or service. The aspects of pricing you will need to address are:
Bundling (if you have related products/services)
- Pricing flexibility
- Pricing strategy
- Retail price
- Seasonal price (if applicable)
- Wholesale (volume) price
Also known as Distribution, this part is all about the delivery of your product or service to your customer. Here are the areas you will need to cover:
- Distribution centers
- Distribution channels
- Inventory management
- Order processing
Before we dive into the rest of the marketing strategy information… Let’s look at how a Marketing Strategy is different from a Marketing Plan.
Marketing Strategy vs Marketing Plan
A Marketing Strategy is your company’s goals, your Marketing Plan is the tactics, campaign, initiatives, and promotions you will use to achieve those goals.
Why You Need a Marketing Strategy
The need for a marketing strategy will become painfully obvious as a company grows. A CEO knows where the company needs to go and provides the direction every step of the way. But once a company grows beyond the CEO’s ability to handle the day-to-day there will be a lack of clarity and consistency in all branding and marketing efforts.
This is where the need for a full marketing strategy is most prevalent. The marketing strategy is a document that is designed for long term use. This will give your marketing strategist and the marketing team a document to refer to when building future marketing campaigns. This will ensure that all marketing activities will complement the future goals listed in the marketing strategy.
7 Steps To The Perfect Marketing Strategy
Step 1 – Complete A SWOT analysis
The SWOT Analysis will Identify the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats for your business. This is essential for long-term planning as it will help to gauge where you are in the market.
Remember this is a document that informs many decisions later on, so it needs to be taken very seriously. You can do this by adding many people to the project or by engaging an outside company to execute the SWOT analysis for your company.
Step 2 – Establish The Value Proposition
The best marketing strategies mirror a company’s value proposition. Why? Because the value proposition builds on the company’s main strength while differentiating the company from other competitors in their market.
This is a crucial step in building a successful brand. Once you understand the benefit of your product, specifically the benefit to the customers, and the key differences from other offerings on the market you will have a pinpointed value proposition your company can use to build toward a bright future.
Step 3 – Define The Marketing Strategy Objectives
A company’s marketing strategy defines the goals the company wants to achieve. These goals will guide the company into the future. Because these goals guide so many different parts of the company it is important for the goals to be structured in the SMART goal format.
SMART stands for:
This will ensure that a company can quickly review the progress of the goals and know who is responsible for it.
Step 4 – Understand Your Customers
This step builds on the Value Proposition step. To really be able to help your customers you need to know what their problems are so you can solve these problems with your product or service. Gather as much data as possible so you can know everything about your target market. This will ensure your company is able to meet the wants and needs of your target market.
Step 5 – Build Your Buyer Personas
Using the data you gathered in the previous step, begin to build out your buyer personas. The buyer personas give every level of your business the insights they will need to ensure they reach the intended target with the correct message using the proper methodology.
Step 6 – Research Your Market and Competitors
To ensure that you gain maxim penetration into the market you will need to do a lot of research. Review the market to find common frustrations and complaints of customers. This will give you insights into how to position your product.
You will also need to look at your potential competitors. Research what is working well for them, where they are failing, and any weaknesses in their business. Doing this will ensure that your business beats all the competitors by doing everything they do at the same level while also providing things your competitors do not.
Step 7 – Detail Your Marketing Methods
Once you have completed the buyer persons you will know how to best reach your target audience. Using that information, you will detail how you want to reach them and what you want to say to them in each medium. This is essential for a business just starting out because it ensures maximum exposure to your target market while also keeping your expenses down.
The 8 Best Types Of Marketing Strategies (B2B & B2C)
1. Referral Marketing
- Define: Referral marketing is the act of using recommendations and referrals to grow a business by leveraging their network.
- How it works: The best way to incorporate referral marketing in your business is to join a networking group. There are a lot of networking groups available so do your research.
- Pros: A constantly expanding network
- Cons: Can be slow to grow
2. Email Marketing
- Define: Using your existing database of customers to increase sales by sending various types of emails to draw them back to the site.
- How it works: once a person registers for an account on your site or signs up for a newsletter, you will craft emails to send to them that will bring them onto your site where you offer them special pricing or limited-time deals.
- Pros: Can drastically increase sales
- Cons: Takes a lot of time to manage effectively
3. Event Marketing
- Define: Promoting your brand or offering through live interactive events either online or offline.
- How it works: This can be done in a few ways. You can sponsor an event or have a booth at an event, or you can host an event to specifically promote your brand or offering.
- Pros: Can reach a lot of people especially if it’s an online event
- Cons: Can take a lot of manpower to be effective
4. Content Marketing
- Define: The creation and distribution of content through multiple channels to promote interest in the topic of the content and not necessarily the brand.
- How it works: Your company will create a piece of content (Blog, Video, or A Lead Magnet) and drive traffic to this piece of content through emails, social media, and ads.
- Pros: A great way to gain recognition real quick by producing content that answers questions people have been asking.
- Cons: Since this involves multiple types of marketing, this can be an expensive undertaking.
5. SEO Marketing
- Define: Improving the quality of a website through content and technical aspects to provide a better ranking in search engine results, thus driving more traffic to the website and providing a more valuable customer experience while on the website.
- How it works: You start with an audit to identify the weak areas that need improvement on your website. You will optimize these areas and then focus on the content to make sure that it is SEO optimized so you can increase your organic rank on search engines.
- B2B or B2C
- Pros: The better your organic rank the more organic traffic you will get. HINT – Organic traffic is traffic that you do not have to pay for.
- Cons: Could require a site rebuild and can consume a lot of resources at the beginning but pretty easy to maintain after that.
6. PPC (Pay-Per-Click) Marketing
- Define: Advertising on search engines by paying to appear in search result for a given keyword(s)
- How it works: You will build an account on the search engine of choice and define the keywords you want to target. As people search for this term, you will appear at the top of the search results.
- B2B or B2C
- Pros: Can greatly increase awareness and sales
- Cons: can become costly depending on the number of keywords you want to target.
7. Social Media Advertising
- Define: Using social platforms to run ads for your brand or offering to attract new customers.
- How it works: You will set up a business account on the social platform you want to use and you will craft an ad that speaks to the benefit your customers receive from using your brand or offering.
- Pros: Greatly increase the reach of your business
- Cons: If not done properly you can lose business
8. Guerrilla Marketing
- Define: An advertising strategy that employs surprise or ambush tactics to promote a brand or offering.
- How it works: Usually involving a pre-existing feature of a city and your brand will be added to it by using stickers or temporary paint.
- Pros: Very cost effective
- Cons: Can lead to legal issues if not properly researched
Examples of Successful Marketing Strategies
Millions of companies around the world try different marketing strategies every year. There are entire websites about some of the massive failures in marketing, but here are some examples of really good marketing strategies from some of the world’s most popular brands.
Is there anything more effective than letting the customer design their own product? Most companies are not able to offer this, but Nike has the infrastructure in place that can allow them to make this offer and then deliver it with the quality and consistency that consumers have come to expect from them.
The Nike ID Platform rolled out and has been super successful. People will build multiple pairs of shoes just for fun. Sometimes they will order them but most of the time they will not. Do you know why this is good for Nike? The longer consumers are on their site, the less time they have to spend looking around the internet at Nike’s competitors.
At this point, everyone is familiar with Spotify. Not everyone is a user but they know about it. So how did Spotify manage to gain such a massive market share on the online music market in such a short amount of time?
They listened to customers of their competition and offered something none of their customers offered. Spotify offers mood music. If you want to workout or go for a picnic, Spotify has that for you.
Additionally, Spotify has made it easier for you to find more music that you may like. They do this with curated playlists and weekly suggestions. They also keep people connected by connecting to social platforms so you can listen to music with friends and share playlists.
This is a great example of understanding your target market’s wants.
Wendy’s made a big splash on social media. By leveraging Twitter they were able to leverage their brand voice and grow their brand recognition.
They used a simple strategy. They interacted with customers and the general public. But they did it in a way that set them apart from their competitors. They used humor to grow their audience by “roasting” their competitors on Twitter.
Taco Bell used what they knew about their target market to adjust their advertising strategy. Through research, Taco Bell learned their target market is mostly college-aged and does not watch television. Because of this Taco Bell rolled back some of their advertising spend on television spots and moved the ad money over to social media, where they could more effectively reach their target audience.
A solid marketing strategy is essential to the long-term success of a business. Doing this before your business grows will ensure brand and message consistency, leading to long-term success for your business. Also, think about revisiting this document at regular intervals to ensure that your marketing strategy is using successful strategies as the market landscape changes.
Read more about creative marketing concepts.