There are lots of things to do to get a business off the ground. However, to grow that business and make it a success takes even more. The first step is to come up with a viable idea. Then you need to identify a profitable niche. Next, define your audience and make sure your product or service is of value.
A significant part of business success is getting your message across and letting your audience know you’ve got something they need and want to sell. Find the right marketing strategy, and it will fuel the growth of your business, help you turn a profit, and keep your business afloat.
Every business needs a marketing strategy, but creating one is not as easy as saying it. In this ultimate guide, you’ll find everything you need to know. We will look at the reasons to adopt a marketing strategy, which strategy to choose, and how to put your strategy into action.
What is a Marketing Strategy?
A marketing strategy is an overall game plan that any organization or business can use to help it achieve a competitive advantage over its competitors. It’s a forward-looking, long-term approach that allows you to understand the wants and needs of your customers.
It can encompass a wide range of things, including how you view your company’s position, strategic and creative partners, relationships your business has with the media, marketing channels, the mix, and possible tactics.
Your business marketing strategy defines how you plan to reach prospective consumers and turn them into customers. It describes the value your company promises to deliver to customers should they buy your product or service. You’ll also need to include essential brand messaging, data on customer demographics, and target audience.
Marketing Strategy vs. Marketing Plan/Marketing Tactics
Two terms that are often confused are marketing strategy and marketing plan. They are not interchangeable and work alongside each other. For your business to be successful and grow, it’s essential to know where you’re going and how you’re going to get there. What is required is a marketing strategy and a marketing plan.
The strategy is how you’re going to achieve your goal, and the plan clarifies what you’re going to do to get there. So another way to look at it is that the marketing strategy is the why. The marketing plan is the when and what.
Why Your Business Needs a Marketing Strategy
Your business will not succeed just by chance or luck. It takes a certain amount of planning. If you try to move forward without making plans, there could be tremendous consequences, for example:
● Lose leads and clients to your competitors
● Lose your market share
● Miss out on growth and development opportunities
● Customer engagement and retention rates will be low
Adopting a marketing strategy and making marketing plans, on the other hand, will have significant benefits for your business. Let’s look at some of these in more detail.
1. Clear Business Goals
The most fundamental role of a marketing strategy is to establish clear actions and objectives. With a marketing strategy in place, it will coordinate employees and help them achieve your business goals.
It helps with a focused approach and provides step-by-step instruction. The strategy will define what you need to do, when, for what audience, and how you’ll pay for it.
With the necessary guidance, your business is more likely to achieve long and short-term tasks.
2. Best Defence Against Competitors
Think of a marketing strategy as your secret weapon. It’s something you’re going to use to achieve domination. Without a clear marketing strategy, you’re already one step behind your competitors. The proper marketing approach will help your business connect with the right customer and go through any necessary transformations when introducing new products.
3. Clear Product Definition
Being able to define your product and price is something business owners often neglect. Sales channels, price definitions and expenses, and correct product segmentation can be complex for business owners to deal with, whether seasoned businesses, beginners or a startup.
Some of the questions that you might raise when adopting a marketing strategy address these issues logically. They will help build pricing, marketing segment, and offering for each product you will sell.
A successful marketing strategy will also help you uncover new product opportunities, build future opportunities, discover new markets, and target new audiences.
4. Understand and Focus on Your Target Audience
A common reason for businesses to fail is that they omitted or couldn’t identify customer pain points correctly. In other words, the product or service that the company is selling doesn’t meet a customer’s need or help solve a vital problem.
Potential customers can have a range of different pain points, for example:
● Financial: This is the most basic of pain points. Ideally, a product or service should help the customer save money. It should also be more cost-effective than any alternatives and create a value proposition for the customer.
● Convenience: Another critical pain point for a product or service to address is convenience. Does your product or service make life more convenient?
● Service: Service as a factor includes several things, such as maintenance, warranty, replacements, ease of use, and customer service.
So, how do you go about identifying customers’ pain points and retargeting? There are some things you can do that will help you find the right path.
The first step is to construct a map of your customer’s journey. Things to consider are why customers would want to buy your product and how they found it. Look at the different channels they might have visited, such as social media ads or posts, emails, online search results, or other media. Try to identify possible pain points at each customer journey stage and expose their motivation for using your service or product.
Another good exercise to undertake is a customer survey. Ask them what they like or don’t like and whether any factors prompted them to make their choice.
Customer reviews and feedback can also be very revealing. You might find some indications as to their expectations, preferences, and possible pain points.
If you’ve got a sales team, talk to them as they are the first line of contact and should be very aware of what potential customers want from your services or products. Are there any issues that customers frequently raise? For example, do they know what customers like or dislike about a product, and are there any recurring reasons people refuse to purchase it?
Facebook ads can be a very effective tool when it comes to retargeting, mainly through pixels. Pixels track everyone who visits your site, and around them, it’s possible to build custom audiences.
Finally, take a close look at the competition. Ultimately, you want to be offering a product or service that’s more innovative and better.
5. Targets and Markets Roadmap
A marketing strategy and its accompanying plan is going to help you impress your target market. It’s also going to help you discover potential new ones at the same time. Think of your marketing strategy as your GPS guide or map.
A marketing strategy will clearly define your services or products, identify any needs they meet, and help determine prices that will help your business stay competitive.
How you plan to achieve your goals plays a vital role in writing a business plan, managing human resources, advertising, and budget.
Your road map will include not just highways but secondary roads and off-the-beaten tracks as well. With so many options to choose from, an organization can be a challenge, but not if you’ve got a defined marketing strategy that helps pinpoint the right roads to take.
6. Improves Role Division
With an effective marketing plan, you’ll be able to divide the workload into manageable pieces and attach specific duties to each of your employees. When the right people are in the most appropriate positions and working together harmoniously, this is an essential first step on the road to success.
7. Resource Allocation
Your marketing strategy is a blueprint that gathers the information you need to help you reach your strategic business goals. There will be findings relating to human resources, budget, actions, available equipment, and much more.
With this information in one place, you’ll find the answers to questions about marketing objectives, business tasks, processes, staff recruiting, paid ads, influencer advertising, LinkedIn ads, using an SEO agency, or paying for digital/print design.
8. Reality Check
A common reason for businesses to fail is not having a marketing strategy or plan. Consider it a living, breathing thing that evolves and changes over time. The recent global health crisis has led many businesses to revisit their marketing strategy, rethink, and adapt.
Use your marketing strategy as a reality check and go as deep as is necessary. The critical thing to remember is that even maps can change, so there’s no reason why you shouldn’t check your marketing strategy and plan regularly. Then, choose to revamp or improve it if necessary.
Keep your eye on the ball, and you’re more likely to win the game.
What Are the Different Types of Marketing Strategies?
There are a vast number of marketing strategies to choose from. Which one will be most effective for your business growth depends on many things. Below is a list of some of your options that have been divided into B2B and B2C situations.
B2B and B2C marketing are very different in terms of strategies, applications, and audiences and how best to communicate with them.
B2B marketing very much targets the interest, challenges, and needs of individuals who make purchases on behalf of an organization. B2B companies include co-working spaces, warehousing, screen printing, on-demand order fulfillment, and marketing software companies.
B2C marketing, on the other hand, targets the interests, challenges, and needs of consumers making purchases for themselves. B2C companies include e-commerce companies, retails stores, streaming services.
B2B Marketing Strategies
The following B2B marketing strategies are generally recognized as being successful, whatever the industry.
Content marketing is an effective tool because it focuses on expertise and our inherent desire for education. This type of strategy provides the customer with valuable information that informs them.
As an added plus, it also supports any SEO marketing efforts, as long as it involves information your audience is looking for and helps them find your website and its content. It also has the potential to convert them into customers.
Content marketing is most successful when aligned with the buyer’s journey and its various stages. Testing of the content strategy is also critical with regards to B2B companies. Ideally, run tests on incentives and make sure the content is varied. For example, include videos, ebooks, infographics, or webinars.
Inbound marketing is an effective strategy because it uses strengths from other strategies to attract, engage, and convert customers. With inbound marketing, you can catch customer’s attention and pull them in with your meaningful content.
This strategy works for all businesses, whatever their type or size. It creates knowledgeable prospects and is easily integrates using a CRM (Customer Relationship Management) system.
Social Media Marketing
A high percentage of B2B buyers and c-Suit executives use social media to inform their purchases. However, it’s a little harder to connect with businesses than individuals via social media because of the longer sales cycle and chain of command.
Social media is also an excellent tool if you want to build brand awareness. It helps to give your company a personality online and humanize it. These are both very powerful for marketing and connecting with customers. In addition, B2B customers appreciate brand expertise and content, both of which can be shared very effectively via social media channels.
Search Engine Marketing/PPC
Paid online marketing and advertisements are practical marketing tools for growing website traffic, and Pay-per-Click (PPC) is one of the most popular methods. In addition, search engine marketing of this kind is very effective because it is cost-effective and adaptable.
Search Engine Optimization
With SEO, you’re increasing awareness and traffic by ensuring it appears on the first page of any search results, whether the search engine is Google, Yahoo, Bong, or any other search engine. Search engines have become one of the most common ways people navigate and find information on the internet. People rarely scroll past the first one or two pages, making a spot on these pages highly effective for increasing your audience. Optimize your website, get it in the first place, and you won’t regret it.
B2C Marketing Strategies
Let’s take a quick look at some B2C marketing strategies that work.
Content marketing can take many forms, such as social media posts, blogs, podcasts, or guest posts that backlink to your website. Whatever you choose, the content must grab the customer’s attention and turn them into loyal customers for your brand.
The content you create doesn’t have to be detailed or lengthy, but it must be easy to read, engaging, articulate, straightforward, and match your brand image.
Social Media Marketing
This is a very effective method of generating traffic and promoting a brand. As well as connecting people, social media platforms are also suitable for creating a niche for your brand.
It also provides an opportunity for people to share and comment, thereby increasing the reach of your content and allowing consumers to connect with you on a personal level.
Email marketing is a tried and tested method of reaching customers. Ultimately, an email marketing strategy will lead to engagement and, in turn, converts subscribers into leads and eventually customers.
For an email marketing campaign to be successful, it must resonate with customers and focus on essential issues. These are often money, resources, and time. You need to indicate how your product or service can help them.
Emails can also be a compelling platform for sharing brand content. As a result, newsletters often form a critical part of a content marketing program. However, they have to be effective and stand out from the constant barrage of emails that flood an inbox.
For an email to be effective, it should contain:
● An enticing subject line
● One call-to-action per email
● It should be segmented to reach the most appropriate audience
● The design should be responsive
A membership program can be very beneficial for your business because it increases customer engagement and makes them believe they’re getting something special, along with additional benefits that often increase the more a person buys.
As the consumer moves up the levels of the program, they’re able to access more rewards. This further enhances their loyalty and relationship with your company.
If you want to get your products or service out there and boost your visibility, you can do something that won’t take years.
Influencers have a significant role to play in marketing strategies. This is because they’ll have a loyal band of followers who base their purchasing decisions on those that their role model makes. In addition, promotion and relationships with an influencer also give an emotional attachment and a personalized touch to a company’s products and add value.
However, the key is finding the right oneness in your niche, thereby targeting the right audience. Simply spreading your message is not enough. The message has to be distributed in the right way and to a suitable customer base.
Hit the nail on the head with this marketing strategy, and you’ll be able to reach a massive audience without having to invest vast sums of money.
Admittedly, some influencers charge for their recommendations, but some don’t charge a lot, and some do it for free. An excellent way to get an influencer interested in promoting your business is to send them a gift or product sample.
A great way to engage potential customers and get traffic using organic backlinks is to write guest blogs. You can publish guest blogs on other company’s website or social media pages. Taking part in discussions, using hashtags, and commenting on other blogs also work very effectively too.
Testimonials and Feedback
Potential customers will always be interested in hearing what other people say about your service and product. Feedback also needs to be taken seriously because it can highlight any faults or issues with your service or product.
What are the 7 Ps of Marketing?
Talk to the experts about marketing strategies, and a term you’ll often hear is the 7 Ps. But what are they, and why are they important?
The 7 Ps are a collection of marketing activities you can make use of. Use them in any combination to help satisfy your target audience and potential customers. Of course, you can control them, but how much control you excerpt on them depends on your external and internal market environment.
The 7 Ps of marketing are:
- Product: What you’re selling is your product. But included in this category are all product features, benefits, and advantages a customer can enjoy if they purchase your service or product. Therefore, you must think about critical benefits and features customers need or want.
- Price: The price of your services and products can have a massive influence on your customers. You should establish how much they’re willing to pay, the size of the mark-up, payment methods, profit margins, and other disbursements. Seasonal pricing and discounts are something else to consider.
- Promotion: How do you plan to make customers aware of what you’re selling? Options include promotions, direct marketing, sales tactics, and advertising.
- Place: Where are your products going to be available? Giving your customers easy access to your products or services is crucial. Potential and current customers also need to be able to find you effortlessly. How you design your selling space is equally important.
- People: The people include salespeople, staff, and let’s not forget yourself. This category also includes customer service. If it is excellent, you’re creating a user experience and positively marketing your brand. It is also likely to influence whether existing customers share the superb experience and give referrals and word-of-mouth recommendations.
- Process: If your delivery processes are high-quality, it will ensure you deliver a good standard of service every time and increase efficiency because you’re saving money and time.
- Physical Evidence: Physical evidence is all the things your customers see, such as your branding and packaging, the layout of your selling space, and the physical environment.
Take the 7 Ps into consideration when implementing your marketing strategy, and you’re more likely to enjoy success.
The 7 Cs of Marketing Strategies
7 Cs is another commonly used term people use when talking about adopting a marketing strategy. Understand what these are, and you’ll be better able to implement, maintain, as well as manage your marketing strategy.
The 7 Cs include:
- Customer: The first step with any marketing strategy is defining the target audience, requirements, and needs. It’s equally important to understand the audience as individuals. Such an understanding will allow you to adapt your service, product, and brand so that your target customer finds it more appealing.
- Consistency: Don’t confuse your customers by sending out mixed messages. If your customers are confused, they’ll be lacking in confidence and more likely to look elsewhere.
- Creativity: We are constantly bombarded with advertising throughout our daily lives, so you have to be creative for your marketing strategy to be effective. It’s your job, or the role of your marketing team, to be innovative and strive to find new ways of informing, educating, and persuading your target audience.
- Culture: The internet has made global shopping an everyday thing, so any marketing messages you convey must have an extensive appeal culturally. That being said, delivering specific marketing messages is also acceptable and long as you get the message right.
- Communication: Consumers tend to prefer being communicated with rather than companies marketing them directly or sending in your face messages. For a marketing message to be effective, it has to inform, educate, and persuade.
- Change: Whichever marketing strategy you choose to adopt, adjusting it continually is vital. As well as accommodating customer, societal, and technological changes, trying different things should get your target audience’s attention.
- Channel: An online presence is a well-recognized requirement for companies nowadays. However, marketing to some of the remotest corners of the world can be very challenging, even for the experts. There’s far more to a well-crafted online presence than a static website. There’s a wide range of social networks to choose from, for example. Although Facebook and Twitter have shown themselves to be very effective.
An Easy to Follow Method to Documenting Your Strategy
There’s no right or wrong way to write a marketing strategy or decide on a marketing mix. You may find case studies and a template useful, such as those available on Hubspot. However, the following step-by-step guide is an easy-to-follow and effective process.
Step 1: Understand Your Competition
Understanding your market is a crucial first step. Next, identify your products’ strengths and weaknesses. Finally, think about how your company could improve and whether external factors could negatively impact your business’s success. This type of competitive analysis is known as a SWOT Analysis.
Step 2: Become Acquainted With Your Customer Base and Audience
The reason for your business’s existence is to meet the needs of your customers. Never overlook such a vital component or dismiss the need for market research. Understanding your customer base is also something you should do continually. Consider the process to be an evolving one, and over time, you’ll gain a better insight and find yourself in a better position.
Step 3: Analyze the Competition
A few simple tactics that might be worth adopting include identifying your competitors, learning their strengths and weaknesses, and identifying what you can do to make your business different. Of course, the final part of the process would be to communicate this with your customers in the best possible way.
Step 4: Get Your Marketing Budget in Order
To make money, spending some is generally a requirement. If you don’t know how much money you’ve got to spend, you’ll find it challenging to execute a marketing strategy. Learning how much and where you’re going to spend it will make things happen and your expected return on the marketing dollars you spend.
Step 5: Voice, Tone, and Branding are Important
Every brand has a voice, and it has the power to impact your customers’ perception of your business. A very distinct identity will reach the people whose issues your products or services can solve. It’s also vital that your voice is consistent.
Step 6: Understand the Marketing Funnel
The marketing funnel illustrates different stages your customers will go through when they make a purchase. A description of the marketing funnel tends to include the following terms:
● TOFU or Top of Funnel: Your customers are becoming aware of their options
● MOFU or Middle of Funnel: Your customers are now starting to research their options more seriously
● BOFU or Bottom of Funnel: The customer is ready to purchase a service or product from yourself of a competitor
Step 7 Set Your Marketing Goals
The best way to measure whether a marketing strategy is successful is to set your marketing goals. If you have clearly defined goals, you’ll have something to show for the marketing efforts made. Ideally, any goals you set should be SMART ones, for example:
Step 8: Select Your Marketing Channels
To help potential customers work through the marketing funnel, they have to see messages in the right place and visible at the optimum time. Some of the most important channels for a digital marketing strategy include a website or blog, Search Engine Optimization, email marketing, paid and organic social media marketing, YouTube, and Pay Per Click.
Step 9: Define Your Marketing Tactics
To execute your marketing strategy effectively, you have to determine a series of marketing tactics. They will help you meet your goals, expand your business, and be a successful marketer. You can choose lots of tactics, but you’ll need to decide which might work the best and have the most impact.
Step 10: Select KPIs and Metrics
You use metrics and KPIs to track the performance of your marketing tactics. The ones you choose to use will depend on the tactics and the channel.
You’re not going to be able to pull together a marketing strategy overnight. You need to consider many factors, all of which we’ve touched on in this ultimate guide. Of course, every marketing strategy is different. However, they all have one thing in common.
A marketing strategy is a road map of the steps you need to take to achieve your goals. Put in the required amount of work, not forgetting the all-important research, and you’re already a good way along the road to reaping the rewards of your labor.
Whatever marketing strategy you choose to adopt, hopefully, you found this article useful. If there’s anything you’d like to add or you’d like to share your experience with other business owners, please leave a comment below.