Ask yourself, ‘what is my marketing strategy?’ Does the answer come easily? For many businesses the answer isn’t always obvious, and yet with three easy questions it can be.
To start with, what do we mean by ‘marketing strategy’?
When I refer to ‘marketing strategy’ I’m not talking about specific marketing deliverables, such as a new website a brochure or a direct mail campaign – these would be defined after your marketing strategy was written. We’re talking about the overall direction of your marketing – where it should be heading, and what the overall priorities and focuses aught to be.
Three simple questions that help you define your marketing strategy
Firstly, I have to acknowledge that yes you can include A LOT more detail in your marketing strategy than these 3 areas, but for the core of what matters in your marketing strategy, look no further:
Question 1: What are your target audiences?
In simple terms, who are you going to target? Consider ex customers, current customers, and new customers. Consider geographies, sectors, job titles and their areas of interest. In other words, break down all your target audiences into groups where the messaging or your product/service may differ across those groups. Try if possible to keep it under ten groups for simplicity, but it’s better to have more than 10 rather than grouping together unrelated target audiences.
Question 2: How are you going to position yourself in front of those audience groups?
Again, in simple terms, what overall messages do you want to convey to each of those target groups? For example, you might decide that the main message to previous customers focuses on the recently improved range and depth of your product offerings (i.e. to show them what’s new and to re-gain them as a customer). Whereas existing customers might benefit from messages promoting your additional products or services (to encourage them to spend more). And yet prospective customers might benefit from messaging that conveys your business’ credentials so you gain their trust. These are just examples, but it’s worth taking the time (possibly brainstorming the messages with colleagues) to define these messages so you can be positioned in the best possible way for each target group.
Question 3: What are your offerings to those audiences?
So here we’re asking, ‘what do you want to sell to each customer group’ (and if relevant, at what price)? For companies with broad product ranges for example, it can be difficult not to say ‘we want to sell everything to all our customers’, in which case this question might need refining to what your priority offerings are for each target audience so you have some clarity.
Once you have completed these questions you can easily answer ‘what is your marketing strategy?’ Without thinking you will be able to say you are looking to sell ‘A’ product, using ‘B’ messages focused at ‘C’ customer audiences. Easy!
Will I use this information?
After you have defined your overall marketing direction, you’ll soon be using this information. If nothing else, it gives clarity to your purpose and also makes things clear for other people. Probably within a week or two, you’ll already have quoted your marketing strategy to staff members so they are clear on what the priorities are and also to external people or companies (e.g. a brochure designer, or PR agency) so they understand the direction you are heading in as well.
I’ve got my marketing strategy, now what?
If you wish, you are now in a position to create a more detailed marketing campaign plan where you can define what marketing deliverables you will execute in order to take you in the direction you’ve detailed in your marketing strategy.
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