As a detailed plan covering a company’s promotional efforts, a marketing strategy is an essential part of business success. This strategy typically includes components such as content creation, audience profiles, marketing and sales objectives, and key performance indicators.
The goal of any marketing strategy is to ensure that everyone on the team is on the same page, connect the company’s marketing efforts to their business objectives, and test marketing solutions against the target audience to ensure effectiveness while allowing for the flexibility to revise marketing content as new trends emerge. However, the ability to take advantage of the latest trends is possibly the most important marketing benefit that detailed strategies have to offer.
Before you can refine your marketing strategy, you must have an effective one that works on some level. It might not be the perfect strategy, but it can serve as a starting point. The goal is to create a solid foundation upon which new steps and objectives can be added.
This is a common question, and there is no one-size-fits-all answer. The truth is that most people are not well-equipped to create and refine their marketing techniques. There are a lot of factors that go into building an effective strategy, and you typically need a professional to sort through them with you.
Exceptions do exist, of course, and in this case, education is the determining factor. Do you understand the principles of marketing and how they can impact your business? If your goal is to create your own marketing strategy and handle content creation internally, it is a good idea to invest in quality education. However, this doesn’t mean that you can’t work and study at the same time.
Busy professionals can consider approaches such as MBA distance learning programs that will teach them the basics while allowing them to continue building their careers at the same time. The Aston MBA has four modules to work through and includes a personal and professional development program based on the latest thinking in behavioral science.
If you decide to take this path, be sure to choose an accredited educational institution. Online courses shouldn’t be significantly different in terms of quality from in-person coursework. Respected providers such as Aston University take the mystery out of online learning.
Here are the basic steps involved in developing an initial marketing strategy.
Do you know about the “four Ps” of marketing? These factors play an important role in your plan. They include:
What are you selling (product), and how much are you charging for it (price)? Where will the product be sold (place), and how do you plan to market it (promotion)? Write this information down and keep it handy as it will help as you flesh out your marketing objectives. Don’t worry if your answers aren’t very detailed; It’s actually better to keep things broad at this point.
Marketing objectives, or marketing goals, should be established before you create your strategy. They should help you create the rest of the plan, including the content you plan to create, how you intend to create it, and the money you have at your disposal. You’ll have to be realistic with the last point. If you have sweeping marketing goals, you should be prepared to pay to make them happen.
This is where you begin narrowing things down. Don’t just say, “I want to make more money”. That’s the default goal of marketing. Dive deeper. How much more do you expect to make? When do you need to have the money? Take your general goal and narrow it down until it becomes a specific goal, and remember that you can always revise these goals as your objectives and priorities change.
An effective marketing approach can help expand your business, increase the money you make, and boost your brand to new audiences. While few people enjoy spending their money on necessities, marketing is not an area in which you should compromise. You must establish a budget up front and be prepared to invest your hard-earned money to meet your goals.
This doesn’t mean that you have to reinvest every cent you make, of course. It’s possible to start small and focus on just one or two efforts. Once those objectives begin paying out, you can increase the budget for additional plans as new objectives come along. Even when you start small, however, the aim should be to set aside plenty of money to meet your goals. Marketing is not an area where you should cut corners.
This concept can be difficult for new business owners to understand. The most important people behind your business’s success aren’t necessarily you or your customers; they’re your competitors. Remember that you are not marketing in a vacuum. There are other businesses that would love to capture your customers and turn them into their own brand loyalists.
Because you don’t operate in a vacuum, you can’t advertise in one, either. This is where the competitive analysis comes in. A competitive analysis is exactly what it sounds like: an analysis of your competitors. More specifically, it analyzes who your competitors are, the products they offer and how much they are selling them for, their target audience, and potential sales figures. All of this information helps inform your own marketing strategy.
What good is a marketing strategy if creating the content it needs to succeed is difficult and confusing? It is important to put together a good content creation process to make this process as easy as possible.
First, determine the marketing channels you plan to use. Will you be uploading to Twitter or YouTube, or do you plan to build up your reputation as an expert in the space using your blog? Once you know the marketing channels you intend to use, you can narrow down the type of content you need to create. From short-form videos to white papers and everything in between, decide which types of content to focus on.
Once you know the kind of content you will be creating, start creating guidelines to automate the process as much as possible. What font, style, and tone will you use? When should you be ready to upload your posts or publish your work? Create a schedule and stick to it.
A good marketing strategy is always changing. Although there is not necessarily anything wrong with finding a good formula and sticking to it, you should also be willing to experiment. Once you have a technique that works with your target audience, test out some new strategies. You can always revert to the plan you know works for your customers if they aren’t successful.
Here are some tips to make refining your strategy as easy as possible.
While a broad understanding of your customers can help build a decent marketing strategy, a more detailed understanding is even more helpful. You might know that your target audience consists of mothers, for example, but are they new mothers or mothers with multiple children or older children? These demographics are similar but have their own distinct needs and concerns. Understanding which one is seeking out your product can help you build a marketing strategy that addresses their unique pain points.
You should also understand why customers buy your product or service. Do they need immediate help, or is yours a luxury product in which they invest infrequently? This information can also help you refine your marketing strategy.
When you first create your marketing strategy, it is often enough simply to list the channels you plan to use to communicate with customers. Once the strategy is created and you’re focused on refining it to be as effective as possible, however, it is time to get serious about content creation and communication. What channels do you actually use to connect with customers? Despite your best efforts, it is usually untenable to use all of the main social media websites extensively to interact. Instead, pick one or two you can use consistently.
It is important to be honest with yourself about your capabilities throughout this process. Refine based on your reality rather than your goals. If you planned to use Facebook to connect for a year but have only posted once or twice, it’s time to move on.
Another way to refine your marketing strategy is to examine trends and adapt them to your business. Sometimes creative thinking can lead to invaluable market insight. Here are some of the top business trends emerging in 2023.
Over the past few years, influencer marketing has become much more widespread than it used to be. Through the mid-2010s, influencers were typically used for marketing to very niche communities. The “beauty community” on YouTube, for example, saw quite a bit of influencer marketing from cosmetics companies during this time.
Today, influencer marketing is increasingly popular across different industries. The financial tech (fintech) industry, for example, is finding a lot of success working with influencers to promote new apps or cryptocurrencies. Lifestyle brands are also popular sponsors, whether that lifestyle includes a busy mom and her new baby or an unmarried individual on the search for adventure around the world.
Influencer marketing allows businesses to promote their products through word-of-mouth advertising rather than via more traditional means. This, in turn, increases the trustworthiness of the brand and better motivates individuals to buy. Think about it this way: Who do you trust more when picking out a flattering shirt: your best friend or a random ad on Google? For many, the answer is the former. We tend to trust other people’s opinions above an obvious commercial. Influencer marketing makes it easier than ever to secure that kind of personal connection with customers.
An increasingly popular trend we are seeing in the business world is short-form content. This type of content focuses on videos that are short and concise. This is a marked departure from videos that are longer, often with a more casual focus. Vlogger content, for example, reigned over the video content category for years. Audiences loved the chance to get to know the professionals behind their favorite products and services. We are seeing this attention turn increasingly to short-form content instead in 2023.
According to HubSpot, roughly 90% of marketers see short-form videos – videos that are a few minutes long – as the go-to video marketing solution in 2023. This is great news for more businesses, as short-form content is significantly easier to create than long-form content, especially when you have access to professional video production services. Platforms such as TikTok, Reels, and even YouTube Shorts are excellent for finding and sharing this kind of content.
Did you know that social media is an increasingly common customer service tool? Many customers look directly for a company’s social media channels when they run into problems with their product or service. Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram are some of the most common social media sites customers turn to when they need help.
You can take this trend and make it part of your customer support initiatives. Offering basic customer support via social media channels not only helps address customer concerns, but it also helps build your reputation as a brand that is willing to go above and beyond for its customers.
If you are interested in building the perfect marketing strategy for your business, from the initial draft to the most minute of details, you can follow the guidelines in this article to help you succeed.