We are heading towards the end of September, the kids are back to school and the chill of Autumn is looming. With a new season around the corner and Christmas approaching quickly, now is a good time to take stock and look at your business strategy. Is your business plan working? Do you have a marketing strategy?
As the festive celebrations draw near, it is often tempting to put on creative thinking caps and develop seasonal promotional ideas to boost sales. However, it is important to do this with your overall business and marketing plan in mind. In order to grow your business, reach your target audience, keep your brand top of mind, investment in marketing should be seen as a necessary step. From creating a desirable and relevant brand, developing a website to formulating tactical advertising campaigns, there are important decisions that need to be taken and the first step should be writing a strategy.
In order to ensure your management approach is aligned, your budget is maximised, and your business objectives are achieved, there needs to be time and resource committed to research. From identifying key business goals and target audience through to looking at your competitors and what they are up to, it’s an essential investment.
What is a Marketing Strategy?
To start, it is important to review the landscape. Evaluate the market by considering your business’ strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats and reviewing the competition. Following this, identify your key business objectives, whether it be to double turn over in the next 3 years, grow your customer base, or expand into new markets. The detail is the starting point. Your strategy needs to outline who your target audience are, what they look like in terms of demographics and where they are found and, importantly, how they behave. Pinpointing the strengths of the business and understanding your audience will help to define your unique selling point and positioning.
Brand Identity and Messaging
Once your USPs and target market are identified, it is then possible to shape your marketing communications plan. Brand identity and messaging is critical to audience perception. Brand values and product or service differentiators need to be identified, which in turn leads to the formulation of a single statement or strapline that clearly summarises your offering. Creating a unique selling proposition will result in your business standing apart from the competition.
Do we really need a Marketing Strategy?
Without a marketing strategy, you risk your objectives being misaligned. This can often result in poorly targeted campaigns, confused messaging and a scattergun approach. Trying lots of different activities to see what works can also result in budget overspend. By delivering cohesive communications and tactically aligned campaigns over a minimum of a 12month period, with a clearly defined audience in mind, you can expect a more efficient use of the funds and resources available.
A strategic marketing plan should always be written in partnership with the sales team and agreed by management. A shared vision is crucial when working closely together towards common objectives.
Marketing now covers a broad range of areas of expertise, with changing trends and technological developments redefining methods and reach at an increasingly rapid pace. PR, digital, media planning, events, website development, SEO, social media and copywriting can all fall under a marketing remit and it has become ever more challenging to find one person to match the skillset. As a result, it often takes several specialists to create the right strategy for a business. A set of fresh eyes, approaching your product or service from a customer’s perspective, can often produce a stronger plan and generate more creative ideas.
Do you need help writing a marketing strategy? Get In Touch to speak to a member of our team. We would love to help.