Successful marketing leads to successful sales numbers. That’s what makes your marketing strategy, the sibling of your marketing plan, vital. Simply, a marketing strategy defines and explains your goals to achieve with marketing efforts. It’s the “what” that’s guided and shaped by the business goals defined in your business plan. Your marketing plan, defines and describes the “how” – your step-by-step marketing process. You must define your marketing strategy before creating your marketing plan. An effective marketing strategy features seven key elements.
1. Unique Selling Point
Identify and describe the unique selling point, or proposition, of your product or service. The USP is the one overarching feature that makes your product different from other similar or like products.
2. Target Market
Define and describe your target market. You find your target market through market analysis. Your target market definition includes:
- the age or age range of your potential customer
- the gender of your potential customer
- the potential customer’s income level
- the potential customer’s family situation, i.e. single, engaged, married, divorced, etc.
- Would people purchase the product: repeatedly? as a one-time purchase? as a specifically timed purchase?
- Identify special features potential customers find appealing.
- Identify potential customers’ likes/dislikes of your product or service.
- Would people purchase your product or service as an impulse buy or save up for it?
Define the benefits of your product or service. You’ll include your USP, but go beyond that. List every benefit of the product.
4. Product Positioning
Define the product positioning. That’s a fancy phrase for the product’s tagline or slogan that defines it to consumers. For example, 7 Up hints at its USP in its tagline, “The Un-Cola,” while differentiating itself from competitors.
5. Marketing Methods
Identify and describe the marketing methods you’ll use. A sample of available methods includes: a website, direct mailing, e-mail campaigns, print advertising, flyers, brochures, radio or television ads and word of mouth. Your target market helps you determine this because during the market analysis, you’ll uncover what types of ads most often generate a purchase from them.
6. Competitive Analysis
Describe the results of your competitive analysis, including specific analytical points on each competitor. Consider each competitor’s strengths and weaknesses, plus the mundane, such as hours of operation, location, etc. If your competition opens an hour earlier than you and receives considerable business during that hour, it could benefit your business to open earlier.
Include the often ignored and forgotten budget. It’s probably everyone’s least favorite element to complete, but the most vital. You must identify costs and allocate the appropriate amounts to complete your marketing campaigns. Just as you must budget funds to pay the electric bill monthly, you must budget funds to complete the steps to reach your marketing goals.
With your marketing strategy complete, you’re ready to begin work on your marketing plan. You’ve defined “what” you need to do. Next, you’ll define “how” you’ll do it.
Srikar Srinivasula is the founder of www.shopsmart.online & eFlair Webtech. As an Internet entrepreneur and tech enthusiast, he loves to read, strategize, and experiment sound business & marketing principles.
Main image credit: tweakyourbiz.com