You’ve got the expertise, the team, and your product, and you’re ready to make some sales. For that, you need marketing. We know running a business involves a lot, and marketing may be one of the last things on your mind. However, if you want to grow and be successful long-term, a marketing strategy is a must have.
A solid marketing strategy outlines business goals and aligns marketing efforts with those goals. It makes decisions easier and helps allocate resources like budget and time. Many companies use marketing strategies to keep their teams on the same page and connect with their customers.
Marketing strategies are not one-size-fits-all. Yours should reflect your unique business. If you’re just starting to form one, or refreshing a current one, this guide can outline critical aspects and why it’s so important.
What is a Marketing Strategy?
A marketing strategy is a detailed outline of how you will communicate your product’s value, relate to customers, and make sales. This involves a number of aspects, deemed “the Ps.” While this started with four, it has since expanded to include 7, sometimes 8.
- Product: what product/service are you selling; what value are you providing
- Price: will you target budget shoppers or set a higher price point
- Place: where is your product available – only online, DTC, local markets, etc.
- Promotion: how will you promote your product to customers
These are the foundational four, and a good starting point. Additional “Ps” include:
- Physical Evidence: how do you deliver a positive experience to customers – packaging, customer service, testimonials to back up your claims
- Processes: what steps do customers take to buy your product; how is it delivered; is there post-purchase support
- People: what team members are supporting your brand
These seven Ps are widely accepted in the marketing industry. Some have added an eighth P but there is some variation in what it stands for. It could stand for partnerships, productivity, or performance. To use this eighth P, decide which makes the most sense for your business and values.
Each marketing strategy will comprise different combinations of the Ps that align with overall business goals. There is no one right answer and a good strategy should be constantly evaluated and refined.
Why do I Need a Marketing Strategy?
If formalising these seven or eight aspects into an official strategy seems like a lot of work, that’s because it is. But it’s work worth doing. A clear marketing strategy helps define who you are and how you function. It helps you allocate resources to drive actual results, and give you benchmarks to measure success.
Define your Brand
You know how great your business is and what you offer, but do others? With a marketing strategy, they will. In today’s connected world, consumers want to know more about a company than just what they sell. Every detail of your product and business sends a message about who you are. Rather than leave that message up to chance, a marketing strategy puts you in the driver’s seat to define who you want your brand to be.
Recyclable packaging with earth tones says that you are environmentally friendly. Selling at local markets says you are community minded. A hefty price tag says that you are a luxury that provides value worth every penny.
Taking the time to think through these details creates a clear brand persona. Letting customers know who you are cultivates trust and loyalty for long-term success.
You know the saying “Jack of all trades, master of none”? A marketing strategy prevents that. With a clear strategy, you’ll know exactly what position you fill in the market and what your goals are. That makes it a lot easier to stay focused and take meaningful steps that drive results.
For example, a cafe with a strong marketing strategy knows that they sell premium specialty coffee beans in their stores to customers who know coffee and care about freshness and coffee farming. They aren’t likely to waste time and money promoting frappuccino’s to teenagers or shipping beans across the country.
Instead, they would strategically sponsor a local coffee roasting convention and promote stories about their farming partners on social media. This lets them drive awareness and sales with an audience that recognises their value.
You’ll get much further in business with concentrated efforts towards well defined goals. A marketing strategy gives you this focus and empowers you to get results.
We don’t need to tell you the value of qualitative data in business. How will you know what goals you do or don’t accomplish if you don’t set any? Along with the Ps, your marketing strategy should have clearly defined goals, both long-term and short-term.
It should also outline what steps you will take to accomplish these goals. If you want to increase sales in the technology sector, how will you position your product to do that? Will you measure success in the number of clients or revenue? Will you measure this metric every quarter or yearly?
Knowing this lets you objectively track where you are succeeding and what aspects need some extra support. This is important in keeping your team aligned and on the same page, especially across divisions or departments.
If you don’t meet your goals, you know you’ll need to adjust your strategy moving forward. Remember, a marketing strategy should be fluid and allow for adaptability in the market and your business.
When you have this plan, you can work with the confidence of knowing you are set up for success, now and for years to come. We recommend creating a marketing strategy as one of the first steps of your business. For help developing a strategy that works for you, reach out to our expert team.