In any successful business, one of the first steps is always to identify your marketing strategy. A marketing strategy is typically a long-term approach and an overall game plan of how you’re going to achieve your marketing goals from strategic thinking and research, to planning and execution.
An easy way to look at it would be to compare it to something most people have experience in one way or another, that being, home renovation.
We start by identifying the pain point or the reason why the renovation is needed.
“I want to remove this wall between the kitchen and living room to make a more open concept layout” OR “A bigger kitchen means more storage” OR “It would be nice to be able to see the kids playing in the living room while making dinner”.
With pain points and reasons for change in mind, we have the clarity to develop and plan out next steps.
- Identifying how the new space will look and function
- Preparing the space for demolition
- Proceeding with demolition
- Clean up and fix walls/floors, etc.
- Apply a coat or two of paint and return furniture and do final touches
The end result is a functional space with an improved living experience for the homeowner. A common misconception is that strategic planning is only for larger teams or projects. Regardless of size or complexity, it ensures everyone is working together towards the same outcome even if they jump in mid-process.
The Process of Developing a Strategy
Getting from point A to Z is a long-term, integrative process. Here are several key steps we cycle through that inform a marketing strategy and include:
- Strategic Thinking
- Strategic Planning
- Market Research
- Marketing & Communications Planning
Developing A Strategy Step by Step
Taking a sledgehammer to a wall even for a home renovation is ineffective without a sense of purpose or direction. Before building out a strategy to bring a viable product or service to the market we want to consider the following steps:
Step #1 – Putting Strategic Thinking into Play
Start with the “Why”
- Why did we develop our product or service?
- Why is the customer going to pay attention? What needs will this fulfill or what value will it bring to their everyday lives?
Step #2 – Moving into Strategic Planning
How? -Having figured out the why, we move towards mapping out the “How”
- How do we reach potential customers?
- How do we turn potential customers into actual and repeat customers?
- How will we measure our success?
This stage is often about goal setting and outlining objectives. For example, “…we want to generate strong leads or sales in our first year, take 2% of market share by next quarter, grow our social following by 500 in 2 months”.
By answering some of the why’s and how’s and clearly identifying goals and objectives, we are closer to bringing our product or service to market. However, once it gets to market – who are we marketing to?
Step #3 – Market Research
Who is our key audience?
- How old are they, where do they live, what or where are the best places to reach them?
- Who are the competitors – what are they doing, what’s working or not working for them? How do their customers perceive them?
- What is their key differentiator and how does it compare to ours?
Step #4 – Internal Review
Now is the time to take the why’s, how’s and who’s into consideration, and that’s often done in the form of a SWOT or competitor analysis.
We want to be able to identify how your brand speaks to your product or services’ value add, how it helps address your customers pain points, and what makes you unique from your competitors.
Now we can start to formalize a plan to best communicate with our audience in the most effective and efficient way possible
Step #5 – Marketing and Communications Plan
The overall marketing strategy informs the comprehensive plan and is an outline for future advertising efforts and medium selection.
It is the holy grail of marketing documents, outlining all of the why’s and how’s, business goals and objectives, customer profiles, pricing strategy, positioning, and the type of promotions to be run, etc.
Benefits of an Integrated Marketing Strategy
There are many factors that go into a marketing strategy and this is a simplified version of it. The real takeaway is how important having a strategy is to the success and longevity of any business. It is a living breathing document that outlines the process from planning to execution.
The benefit of working with a marketing agency like Thinkr, is that this is what we live and breathe. We have a team of professionals that can take businesses in any stage of growth through the paces – starting first and foremost with the marketing strategy and ongoing marketing efforts, to branding and design, logo development, website build, social media, digital and traditional advertising, photography, videography, and more. Ultimately, we have resources and tools to build a strong brand, develop a solid game plan tailored to each client’s specific needs and keep the brand personality, message and common goal on track and consistent throughout the marketing journey.