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How to write a Marketing Strategy

A ‘marketing strategy’ isn’t just for big corporate organisations, it’s for every business.  Size really is irrelevant – it’s all about having a clear focus of what you want to achieve and how you are going to do it.

So how do you keep a marketing strategy simple?  Here’s our 4 step guide!

  1. Market Research – firstly you must be sure you have identified a need or a desire for the product or service you are selling.  You may have found a gap in the market or you have something new to bring.  Not only should you have identified your target audience but also you should have researched your competitors and the marketplace in general to ensure you can differentiate your company.   Your research should include: pricing/messaging/audience demographics and more.  Don’t cut corners here it will come back to bite you in the long-term.
  2. Company Analysis/ObjectivesYou must have a clear goal of what you want to achieve.  Make sure you know your strengths and weaknesses.  Some businesses can write a 3-5 year plan with a year-on-year focus.  Don’t be alarmed if you can’t do this, a 12 month plan for the year ahead is absolutely fine.  Start by looking at what turnover you want to achieve and then work back from this.  Is this revenue going to come from new business only or a mixture of new business and prospects?  Are there likely to be some products or services that will sell more quickly than others?  Do you have a mix of high and low value products/services?  You will need to be quite clear what you have to sell and what split of this will make up your turnover.

Quick Example.  A website company needs to turnover £100K in the next 12 months.  Typically the websites they create are valued at £5K so on the face of it they need approximately 20 new clients to achieve their turnover so their marketing activity should be focused on winning new business – right?  Wrong.  They have 50 existing clients; they also host websites and carry out graphic design work so suddenly they need to factor in the following:

  1. How they can improve existing customer sites and how to go about selling this
  2. How can they go about securing more web hosting business
  3. What design work they’ve carried out – whether they can sell more to existing clients, how much they could look to achieve with prospective clients.
  4. New websites – taking account of the above they might find that actually they only need to find 10 new clients because the rest of the revenue will come from points: 1,2 and 3.

This inevitably will change their marketing focus.

NB – Understanding what you need to sell and to whom will change your marketing focus and that’s why it’s really important to go through this exercise.  Your marketing strategy should also remain flexible – for example, a competitor may introduce a new product to market which you need to react to.

3. Customer Profiling – Step 3 is to identify your target customers, using the information you’ve gathered from your research and company analysis.  Segment them by splitting existing customers and prospects into groups – these groups will be defined by what you sell/how people buy from you.
4. Positioning – Having identified which products/services you need to sell and to whom, you now need to ensure that what you are saying addresses the ‘need or the desire’ in your audience.  This takes you back to your research.  What do people want and how do your products or services address that.

    You really need to look closely at what customers actually see as the benefit.  For example, while Costa sells coffee, the benefit to the customer is a place to relax and chat with friends or a place to catch up on work because they offer wifi access.

    The way you define the benefits of your products/services will shape your marketing message.

    Congratulations, if you’ve completed steps 1- 4 you now have a marketing strategy.

    So what’s next:-

    Time to introduce your Marketing Plan

    Your marketing plan goes into the logistical details of your strategy e.g. what marketing platforms you are going to use to target customers, (social media, email marketing, exhibitions, PR, direct mail, newsletters etc), the frequency, who is going to carry this out and the budget you are working to.

    Written by:  Sarah Walker – It’s Ideal Marketing Ltd.

    It’s Ideal Marketing Ltd became a client of Windsor Accountancy in June 2014.  Anyone interested in talking to Sarah about Marketing Strategy or Marketing Plans for their business should call: 01628 702799 or 07885 334875, email: sarahwalker@itsideal.net or visit www.itsideal.net for more information.

     

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