Marketing strategy – where do you start?

Every job we undertake involves an element of marketing strategy.  It is what makes us different from a standard marketing agency.  But where do you start in developing your marketing strategy?

It always begins with an in-depth period of research and review. If yours is a new business this will involve market research, for existing businesses an internal consultation, customer feedback and competitor research is a must.   The idea behind the analysis is to gain as much insight as possible into the existing market, product perceptions, customer view, the market – including your competition and  your financial status, anything that helps you to understand the current market situation.

Models such as SWOT and PESTL are useful here but ensure you use them to create value.  For SWOT write down your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats but then decide how you will convert your weaknesses into strengths and your threats into opportunities (remember SW are internal and OT are external).  The political, economic, social, technological and legal factors allow you to evaluate your business from a wider market perspective.  How many businesses would have benefited from understanding these changes better when planning their business?

From here you need to set some objectives.  They should always be SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and tangible) but moreover, they should apply as accurately as possible to your business.  Sure, you need revenue and profit targets for the short (1 year), medium (2-3 years) and long term (3-5 years) but what else is important to you and your business?  This could be employee size, office locations, or something really personal such as selling the business in 3 years. Whatever it is, work it out, right it down and use it as a benchmark to measure against.

OK, so you know what’s happening in the market and where you want to be.  Now it is time to roll your sleeves up and figure out how you are going to achieve it.  Work out which market/product strategies you will use.  Do you have new, or existing markets you will enter in coming months? Will you create new products, or sell more of your existing portfolio.  The ANSOFF matrix is a useful tool for this.  If your plan involves more than two strategies as an SME and you have limited resource, I would suggest a more focused approach.

Who are you targetting?  Do you truly understand your ideal customer? How do you wish your offer to be perceived in the marketplace?  How does this compare to your competitors?  Next look in turn at the marketing mix – your pricing strategies, your product, people, place or distribution channels, process, promotional strategy and physical evidence – how you show your prospects how credible you are.  Once you have a strategy break this down into set marketing tactics, with dates, times and who is responsible. Set a clear marketing budget.  See Circle’s integrated marketing to look at each marketing channel in turn.

Next you need to set contingency plans and budgets to ensure you can achieve success. You are now ready to implement and gain buy-in across your organisation. Review your marketing strategy at regular intervals.  It is your blueprint for success and can be adjusted as the market changes.

If you are looking to develop a marketing strategy for your business, there is no one better than a Chartered Marketer.  Circle Marketing is run by Laura Pegg, a Chartered Marketer and experience Marketing Director.  We would be delighted to help you with your marketing strategy and help you achieve the success you need.

For more details contact us today.