Want to know why half of the small businesses fail in the first 5 years? Their marketing strategy was a shambles, and that’s if it existed in the first place.
There’s a reason you’ll still hear people from all walks of life parrot the platitude ‘failing to plan is planning to fail’. It’s a universal truth that goes ignored, and that goes double for the contemporary business world. Sure, maybe back in the day, when demand outweighed supply, you could just set up shop and hope for the best. But, unfortunately, those days are long gone. If you want your business to succeed in the 21st century, it had better be optimised.
That’s why having a killer marketing strategy is essential. You may not want to do it, you may feel like you have better things to devote your time to. But I’m here to doll out the tough love and tell you ‘too bad’. It may not be easy to hear, but if you’re feeling discouraged, remember the silver lining: Excellent marketing strategy leads to excellent returns.
So without further ado, enjoy our top four, non-negotiable elements of a good marketing strategy. And, don’t say we didn’t do anything for you. At the end of thise article, you will find a free Marketing Strategy Template which we prepared for you.
1. So where the bloody hell are you?
It might have been one of the biggest marketing blunders in Australian history, but when it comes to marketing strategy, the phrase rings true. The first step in developing a marketing strategy is gaining a deep understanding of the current state of your business. In marketing, we call this a situation analysis.
By gaining this understanding, we’re accruing vital knowledge that allows us to optimise what we can control, and guard against what we can’t. We do it by understanding and managing our internal and external environments.
Anything your business directly controls is part of its internal environment and everything else is external and can only be influenced. For example, the production processes of your businesses will be classed as internal, but the suppliers that provide you with raw materials for use in production are external.
2. Choosing who to sell to, and how you’re going to get them
I know you want to sell to everyone. Unfortunately, even Coke and Nike can’t do that. Money, raw materials, hours in the day, all finite resources that we can’t afford to gamble away. That’s why marketers have developed the three-step process of segmentation, targeting and positioning, to help us select the very best customers.
Step 1: Segmentation – We look at the entire market and break the customers down into groups, utilising criteria that relate to their purchases. We call these groupings ‘segments’. One segment for a car manufacturer might be tradesmen who need rugged vehicles to carry their tools. Another may be inner-city professionals who need comfortable, compact cars that are easy to park and maneuver through traffic.
Step 2: Targeting – Critically evaluating and choosing segments for their profitability as well as our ability to service them. This might mean having to avoid larger segments that you just don’t have the capacity to serve.
Step 3: Positioning – Gaining an understanding of how each of your chosen segments perceives your brand, and if necessary, taking steps to alter that perception. The budget car manufacturer seeking to target wealthy 30 to 40-year-old men, will most likely need to develop a model that represents luxury and signifies the driver leads a high-status lifestyle.
3. Determine your marketing mix
Now that we’ve figured out who we’re selling to and what they want, all we have to do is give it to them. There are four variables that marketers control when creating an offering, and they are collectively known as the marketing mix or the four Ps; Product, Price, Place, and Promotion. Respectively that’s: what you’re going to sell, how much it’s going to cost, where you’re going to sell it, and how you’re going to encourage your customers to buy it.
This is the meat of marketing strategy, and far too often, this is where the uninitiated fall flat on their face. Proceed with caution. We’ll talk a lot about different aspects of the marketing mix in the future, so keep an eye on our blog to get the inside scoop.
4. Set your SMART goals
It’s likely that you’ve already heard of SMART goals before, but I’m covering them because:
A. Maybe you haven’t heard about them, and;
B. Even those who claim to understand the concept, have been known to make mistakes in execution.
SMART stand for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound.
A goal is specific if it targets a well-defined problem, not just some nebulous idea like ‘I want my customers to be happier with my brand’.
A measurable goal is one that has specific criteria that you can judge the effectiveness of your tactical decisions against. This can be as simple as the number of units sold.
An achievable goal is one that your business can realistically accomplish with the resources it currently possesses. If your industry’s revenue has historically grown by 10% per annum, don’t expect your new strategy to yield a 1000% increase in profits, unless you’re intending on making a blood pact with Satan.
Relevance in goal setting focuses on the necessity of the goal. If you calculate the risks and rewards of a goal, the benefits must vastly outweigh potential consequences.
Finally, Time-bound just means that you have to have a firmly set deadline for achieving your goal. Without a time constraint, you’ll never know if you’re progressing at the right pace.
Putting it all together
You know where you are.
You know where you want to be
You know how you’re going to achieve it.
There’s no voodoo in marketing strategy. It’s simply about using analysis, planning, and experience to set yourself up for success. If at any step along the way, you realise that things aren’t working, you can always get in touch.
We’ll make sure you get it right.
As promised, here is the free Marketing Strategy Template. Enjoy!