Before you can even start to create your marketing strategy, you MUST have a corporate strategy. These are sequential in the design process. Why? If you create your marketing approach without your corporate direction, you could make a lot of mistakes and waste a lot of marketing dollars chasing targets that are not what the company wants.
So, let’s assume that you have a corporate strategy and are asked to create the marketing strategy. Depending on the size of your company, the marketing strategy might change per business unit. Assuming that you are a startup or smaller company, one marketing strategy is most likely sufficient.
Components to help you create your marketing strategy
Obviously, a marketing strategy will be different from industry to industry so I cannot be too specific about one industry in a general blog post. However, keeping in mind your industry specific needs, the following components must be included in any marketing strategy.
- Alignment with the corporate strategy and goals – You must show how your plans will align with the overall organization and its desired path. For example, if the company has decided to focus on being the best within a niche market, that gives you very specific marketing targets and buyers. However, if your company’s goals are broader, then you have more complexity to acquire your targets.
- Go-to-market – This is your plan to deliver your unique value proposition to customer and achieve competitive advantage. The end goal of a Go-to-market is to enhance the overall customer experience.
- Competitive analysis – An in-depth competitive analysis will help you accomplish 3 things:
- Understand how your customers and potential customers use and rate the competition
- Identify your competitor’s strengths and weaknesses
- Provide you a starting point for developing effective competitive marketing strategies in your target market
- New products and/or services – As you consider new products and/or services, be sure to conduct thorough market research of the target customers to understand positioning, needs, what value you can provide and what will resonate with them.
- Market position – Objectively, assess where you stand in the market. This is about the customer’s view of your product and/or services and how they evaluate you against your competition and it has nothing to do with what you internally think about your product.
- Brand evaluation – Brand evaluation provides an objective measure of your brand’s value and a sense of its valuation. You can also uncover potential problems with your brand during this process.
- Customer experience – A good customer experience means that the individual’s experience during all points of contact matches their expectations. A company’s ability to deliver an experience that sets it apart in the eyes of its customers will increase the amount of consumer spending with the company and inspire loyalty to its brand.
- Buyer persona – Who is your buyer? This sometimes changes over time as your organization launches new products or services. The more specific you can be about your buyer, you can design marketing approaches that resonate with them. This will also allow you to be more cost effective with the budget that you have because you won’t waste campaigns that don’t produce the exact results you want.
- Storytelling – The culmination of your strategy is crafting your story. Brands that tell a story that resonates with their target audience outperform their competitors. According to a study by Harvard business review, “making an emotional connection with your audience is much more important then customer satisfaction. In fact, a retailer managed to increase its number of active customers by 15% and boost same-store-sales by 50% by using a customer experience strategy based on an emotional connection.”
Keep these key points in mind when you create your marketing strategy and you’ll have a good foundation. Remember to separate strategy from execution. The execution of the strategy is a separate plan! Although they are integrated, you must start at the top level and then work down. If you want help creating your marketing strategy, book an appointment with Sandra to get started on the right path or take her class on Udemy, Applied Marketing Strategy and Decision Making Tools, which provides detailed instruction on how to create and apply a marketing strategy.
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