Starting a business is not for the faint-hearted. First you need an idea. Then you need to translate that idea into a product or service that clients want to buy. If your business is able to surpass those stages, then you need an effective marketing strategy to reach and convert your customers. Pretty easy, right?
Wrong. Creating and executing a marketing strategy which truly aids your business takes a lot of craft and graft – and often a hefty budget too. A key mistake that some entrepreneurs make is that marketing strategies operate on a ‘one size fits all’ dynamic – nothing could be further from the truth. What’s vastly important is that your marketing strategy is tailored towards you and your customers – and the connection between those two points.
One size does not fit all in marketing strategy
Despite what some well-paid marketing gurus will try to tell you – the secret is that there is no secret. It’s impossible for someone with no knowledge of your business, your customers and your team to tell you how to market your product.
That said, there are some general tips you can follow which can give you the tools to create a marketing strategy for your business.
Before coming up with your marketing strategy, you need to know who your product or service benefits and how it’s unique.
Know your customer
Researching and coming up with answers to the question of who your customers are is the first step in most marketing strategies. This is the point where you must ask question after question about who they are, what they do and what they had for breakfast this morning.
Common questions that many small and medium businesses will want to ask are (but not limited to):
- What demographics do your customers come from?
- Where in the world are they?
- Where do they look for things online?
- How do they search for products?
No amount of SEO, analytics or Google Adwords will be enough to hold up a marketing strategy which has not come up with substantial and detailed answers to such questions
Know your competitor
Your idea may be unique and you may have a talented team behind you – but it’s likely that your product is at least similar to something which has come before. What is it? Is it better or worse than what you offer? Why?
The point of running a competitor analysis is not to copy the every move of a successful rival. Rather to help you figure out what you can be doing better than them and how you can stand out from the crowd. Find out what works for them and where the gaps appear and work towards filling it. Look at their social media channels, sign up to their email marketing lists and look for ideas that can be adapted to your own voice and brand
The Five Ps
Once you’ve collated your research into customers and competition alike, you should now have a better idea about the market and what works and what doesn’t. How do you use that information to your advantage and produce leads and conversions?
According to one of the most influential marketers, E Jerome McCarthy, marketing strategy should be centred around the 4 Ps – Promotion, Product, Price and Place.
Modern day marketing strategists have added a further P for good measure – People. While McCarthy’ ideas originated in the 1960s, the values of customer behaviour still ring true today. Businesses should look at the questions related to these five aspects when they adapt a marketing strategy in order to maximize return.
Product – What are you selling? What problem does it solve? You need to show that what you offer actually fulfils a purpose for the customer. As well as how it is different from anything currently on offer from competitors
Price – How much does it cost to produce? What is the profit margin? How are your competitors priced? Choosing a price for the product or service you offer is a key part of your marketing strategy. If you’re at the higher end compared to some of your rivals, you need to showcase how you offer better quality.
Place – Where can customers find you? Where do they purchase your product/service? Your marketing strategy needs to make clear how your business operates and where it operates from.
Promotion – How are you going to reach customers to inform them about your product or services? How will you advertise the features and benefits you provide to convince them to check out your product?
People – Who are the people behind your product? How can you get the most out of them in order to create engagement with consumers? Getting the right people on board with the right skills is important if you have a team involved in helping you create and deliver your marketing strategy.
Executing a marketing strategy
Creating a solid marketing strategy is key if you want your business to succeed. Even if you have a great product, if no one knows about it then it’s not going to sell. Customers don’t just don’t arrive at your doorstep from nowhere. Executing a well thought out marketing strategy will bring them to you.
In terms of actual marketing methods, there are almost limitless possibilities depending on your business, whether that be from a totally digital perspective or more traditional marketing techniques. As we mentioned previously, adaptability to what works for you is the key. So find out what works for your business and run with it!
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