The importance of a reality-driven and well-thought strategy is vital in every important thing we do, let alone in a business. Any business in the 21st century succeeding without a corporate plan would be a miracle, and you cannot leave your investment in the “hands of a miracle.” Yes, your business needs a marketing strategy to make things happen.
A marketing strategy is definitely not a piece of paper with few instructions or bullet points in it. It is something that will have a decisive role in what your business does in the next few weeks or months. It is a seed that you sow today and reap the crop tomorrow.
So, we are now marching towards, What Is a Marketing Strategy and What are its Key Components? If you want to be a part of this ride, get in.
What is Marketing Strategy?
A marketing strategy is any business’s overall Plan to reach its target audience/potential customers and then convert them into actual customers by selling them a product(s) or service(s).
Now, it might sound like a straightforward thing, but it is not. That said, a marketing strategy addresses elements such as the company’s value proposition, information related to target customer demographics, key brand messaging, and many other core elements.
A great marketing strategy always includes the famous “4Ps of marketing”; product, price, place, and promotion. Apart from that, a good marketing strategy must also consider the internal and external factors.
Internal factors include performance analysis, marketing mix, budgetary limitation, etc. Similarly, external elements include competitor analysis, customer experience, socio-economic factors, legal restraints, etc.
Key Components of a Marketing Strategy
Every business develops a marketing strategy according to its unique needs, objectives, resources, and limitations. Still, here are some key features of every marketing strategy.
It is obvious that you are going to offer a product(s) or service(s) to a specific group of people having similar needs. That “group of people” is your target audience, and all your marketing efforts will be directed to these potential customers, which in turn, help you to earn profits and achieve other organizational goals.
Now, different companies also opt for mass marketing (their target audience is everyone and anyone). But, this marketing strategy is helpful for businesses selling universal products such as FMCGs. However, if you are selling something specific, i.e., developing something for diabetic patients, then you cannot opt for mass marketing. Your brand can only target a specific niche/group of people. This process of defining your target audience on the basis of different factors is called market segmentation.
Market segmentation is generally further categorized into four categories:
- Psychographic (values, likes, dislikes, lifestyles, opinions, etc.)
- Geographic (location, urbanicity, climate, culture, language)
- Demographic (age, gender, income, marital status, etc.)
- Behavioural (actions made within a website, in-app, in-store)
Once you determine your target audience, the next step will be to acquire more data about them. That said, you need to know your potential customers by getting details about their age, pain points, touchpoints, income, goals, buying patterns, etc. Remember, this is arguably the most important stage in this process. If you fail to understand your target audience accurately, you will lose it all.
Goals and Objectives
Now that we know our target audience, it is time to set our organizational goals and objectives. Goals are generally vague, broad, and long-term targets that you want to achieve in the future. On the contrary, objectives are more defined and time-oriented strategies/steps to achieve those goals.
For instance, your goal is to be the best advertising agency in the United States but, that’s a long journey. You will set smaller objectives such as “We want to be in the top 10 advertising agencies in Orange County, California, by 2024”. This is a more précised and actionable target.
While setting your organizational goals, you need to be realistic, i.e., setting S.M.A.R.T goals and objectives. The term S.M.A.R.T means
Setting actionable and realistic goals and objectives can be difficult. However, Conducting a SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats) analysis is one great way to get things going. A thorough SWOT analysis helps you identify your strengths and weakness (both are internal elements). Moreover, it also gives you a clear picture of the opportunities and possible threats (e.g., competition, economic or political conditions, etc.)
Your competitors are the biggest threat to your business, and that is why competitor analysis must be a mandatory part of any marketing strategy. Obviously, someone is already selling what you are going to offer, so why would people buy from you. The answer to this question lies in effective competitor analysis.
Competitor analysis helps you evaluate your competitors’ products/services, social media presence, sales/marketing strategies, internet marketing, etc. This allows you to determine your position in the market, identify market opportunities, and set a benchmark to compete against the competitors.
Thoroughly studying your competitors will be helpful in other ways as well. For instance;
- What are the suitable or effective marketing types in your industry?
- What types of marketing practices should you avoid?
- Where do your competitors lack, and how can you convert that into a competitive advantage?
However, here is the advice of great value; solely relying on Google for competitor analysis is not a wise thing to do.
The era of brash advertisements and pushy promotional tactics is long gone. Any marketing strategy in modern marketing practices is simply incomplete without content creation. When you reach your customers with great/value-added content, it sets your authority and makes you trustworthy, knowledgeable, and valuable.
According to research from Hubspot, 70 percent of the marketers were actively investing in content marketing in 2020. Providing value/solutions to your potential customers should be the core purpose of content marketing. Your content represents your business and plays an important role in building, converting, and retaining a loyal audience.
People just want solutions to their problems, and you can do that by providing them useful content. When your customers are benefitted from your content, it will automatically attract them towards your brand. There are different forms of content marketing, but here are some of the most common.
Brand awareness means how easily consumers recognize a product or service by its name. Brand awareness is an extremely important element when you are promoting a new product/service or reviving an old one. Consumers always recognize a product or service by its distinguishing features and the value it provides.
Sticking to few advertising channels is not helpful in creating brand awareness. Rather, you should consider incorporating different modes of advertising/marketing for this purpose. For instance, you can build a high-quality blog and share videos, images, infographics, podcasts, and presentations. Similarly, you can try TV ads, Newspaper ads, magazine ads, etc.
Monitoring and Evaluation
Have you seen any marketing strategy that doesn’t include the “evaluation” element in it? I bet you haven’t. It is simply useless if you keep implementing what you planned earlier without evaluating the outcomes. Yes, if you are getting the results as you expected them, keep going. However, if the outcomes deviate from your expectations, you need to reassess your marketing strategy and adjust accordingly.
One very effective way to assess which marketing channel is working best for you is to ask your customers, “How did you come to know about our business?”, or something like that. You can request your customers to fill questionnaires, examine their online behavior, etc. This will help you to identify your strengths and possible weaknesses in your marketing strategy.
Marketing strategy, if you get it right, can open so many opportunities for your business. Every business strives hard for
- Customer loyalty
- Brand awareness
- High sales
- Good ROI
- Strong brand image
- Competitive advantage and so on.
All of this heavily relies on your marketing strategy; considering the elements mentioned above and regularly evaluating them can be helpful for your business’s marketing.