How to make your marketing strategy a reality
Developing and implementing a strategy that helps your product sell is an aspiration for many businesses. A good marketing strategy ends up targeting the right audiences in a way that gets them thinking about your brand. As a result, your stores and website start to see more traffic and sales increase.
But a good, really effective marketing strategy will drive demand for years to come. Target audiences will realize a need they didn’t know they had. Your brand becomes the first thing people think of when considering your category of product or service.
Famous names like Coca-Cola, Campbell’s and Disney didn’t make it to the top by accident. Careful planning, execution and analysis identified ways to reach high potential market segments while differentiating the brand enough to protect it from the competition. If you want your business to achieve last name status, you will need to follow suit.
There is no single approach to marketing strategies or a set of tactics that will work for every business. However, you can try different methods, measure the results, and make adjustments as you go. Here are some ways you can start turning your strategic marketing ideas into reality.
1. Review previous strategies
Almost everyone has heard the phrase, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” That might sound like good advice, but sometimes companies are too willing to live with strategies that are broke. Good marketing strategies start with a thorough understanding of what has worked in the past and what has gone wrong. All methods contain pros and cons or strengths and weaknesses, and determining which of these are essential to be successful.
Perhaps previous research has suggested that posts emphasizing lower prices than your competition would resonate with your audience. Although this message drew people to the door, it did not stop them from leaving. Figuring out what triggers or sore spots these lower prices have talked about is only half the battle. You also need to identify and understand the issues that caused those same customers to stop buying.
Through Analyzing What went well with a strategy and what went wrong, you will discover new approaches to try. Maybe the price isn’t a strong enough differentiator. You may find that you are targeting the wrong market segments for your brand. Or you might come to the conclusion that your post doesn’t have a central theme, causing confusion about what your business stands for.
Plus, even if you’re not a marketing genius, read content specific to your niche. For example, if you are a lawyer, find a SEO book for law firms or among you are a real estate agent find a social media book for realtors. Just because marketing isn’t your expertise doesn’t mean you shouldn’t understand the strategies commonly used in your industry. Once you’ve learned from previous strategies, focus on what you can do in the future to be different.
2. Focus on originality
Businesses don’t usually succeed by blending in with the crowd. Businesses need to find ways to stand out, even if what is sold becomes a commodity. In-depth marketing strategies include product and brand positioning. This is usually included in a marketing plan as a single positioning statement.
While a positioning statement communicates how you want your target audience to perceive your brand, it is also based on originality. This statement says what sets your brand apart from similar products and services. Positioning helps explain why consumers should buy from you, not just once, but over and over again.
It’s not enough to take your previous marketing strategy up a notch to focus on what makes your brand unique. Your target audience is unlikely to have a compelling reason to stick around if you simply extend a low price strategy to additional products. Instead, you need to build a story that appeals to the emotional and subjective reasons why your brand is different.
Ideally, these reasons match the values ââand lifestyles of your target audience. Some market segments don’t continue to buy a company’s specialty coffee because they need a caffeine buzz. They buy an experience that includes personalized service, a cafe atmosphere and a feeling of exclusivity. These market segments can also look to the company’s corporate social responsibility and community outreach efforts.
3. Create your game plan
Ideas become realities by describing the steps you will take to get to the goal line. Creating the game plan for your marketing strategy works the same way. You’ll want to bring your team together to define realistic ways to achieve your goals. Many companies use SMART objectives, which are specific, measurable and time-bound.
For example, the main goal of your strategy is to increase market share. On its own, however, this goal is too broad and does not provide enough guidance for your team. Instead, you can narrow it down by including percentages, timelines, and audience segments. Your revised target could indicate that you want to increase your market share by 10% over the next year in two sales regions.
You can also add that you plan to achieve this goal using a combination of social media, direct mail, traditional ads, and email sending. Let your team tell you if the goals are reasonable and if there is enough bandwidth to implement. Perhaps the 10% growth target is not achievable given current numbers and competitor activity. However, 5% may be a realistic goal depending on your data.
4. Implement the strategy
The only way to know if something will work is to do it. Spending too much time in the ideation phase can lead to a loss of relevance of strategies. But fulfilling your plan doesn’t mean you’re done. During the implementation, it is important to measure the performance of your strategy and to make the necessary adjustments in a timely manner.
If consumers aren’t reacting to your brand story as you would expect, ask front-line staff. Collect customer feedback through employees in sales and service roles, in addition to information from consumer surveys and reviews. While you may take some comments with a grain of salt, look for similarities and common themes that point to where the problem lies. Don’t ignore or dismiss comments because of internal biases.
Designing and implementing effective marketing strategies takes practice. And successful formulas don’t always hold, as consumers and market forces change. Nonetheless, careful analysis, original ideas based on public sentiment, and the implementation of a solid game plan can help you realize a successful marketing vision.