A well planned market strategy can be vital to the growth of your business. You make business decisions every day, mostly relying on your intuition. While you must make decisions, intuition alone may not provide you with the facts you need to achieve marketing results.
A marketing strategy can help you not only define your business goals, but help you develop the activities to achieve them.
You can set up your own informal marketing strategy in just a few simple steps. This strategic plan can help you in making decisions later down the road. Find some quite time to sit down with a notebook and put your thoughts on paper. It could be helpful to make a file that you will keep everything that deals with your marketing strategy. Keep all of your quick thoughts and notes in this file as well. You never know when you need to look back.
The first step is to describe your company’s unique selling proposition, also called your USP. This is what sets you apart from the rest of the market. What service or product do you have to offer that is unique? Why would a consumer choose your product or service over others? Why are you in business? If necessary, look through your business plan. You can even include your goals in this step.
Now define your target market. Who do you want as a customer? Who do you currently have as customers? Do a little research into target markets — are you on track with others in your industry? Or are you bringing in a target market that isn’t usually a customer of your industry? You may find that you have different targets for different products — and you may need a different marketing strategy for each.
For example, a hot sauce product may have a target market of males between 21 and 35. However, a pasta sauce product may have a target audience of middle-aged females. Two different products with two different target audiences.
Now describe how you will position your products or services. This step may take a little research. Start with how you are currently positioning your product, then move on to what you would like to see in the future. Are you happy with your marketing position, or do you want to see changes? Does the positioning reflect on your goals?
Finally, define your marketing methods. What are you currently using? Do these methods match your target audiences? For example, the blog reader is not always the same target audience as the public radio listener. Do you advertise, market via the Internet, use direct marketing or public relations?
It is important that you have a marketing budget in place. Marketing is an investment that you hope will pay off. If you follow a well planned strategy, you should see a return on your investment.
You should revisit your marketing plan at least once every quarter. I like to think of it much like a budget — keep it in front of you and on your mind. You just can’t develop a plan and then file it away — it won’t do you any good. You have to take steps to realize the goals in your plan. Check to see if you are on target or not. You may need to make revisions as time passes and your business changes.