How To: Develop A Marketing Strategy

In our eyes, successful marketing starts with a well-defined strategy.

It can be tempting to leap into solution-mode and creative marketing tactics when you’re under pressure to deliver results. But, as we explained here, to optimise your marketing success, it’s imperative you first develop a deep understanding of the market you are operating in, the customers you are targeting and how you communicate with them.

Today, we’re sharing how we develop marketing strategies for our clients here at Brindle, ensuring their marketing efforts are focused and consistent, setting them up for future success.

When creating a Marketing Strategy, you should aim to

  1. Describe your business’ goals
  2. Profile your target audience
  3. Profile your competition
  4. Explain your positioning within the marketplace
  5. Describe the channels that are available to you (website, social media, PPC, etc.)
  6. Document a measurable timeline for implementation

It’s essential to remember your Marketing Strategy refers to the overall plan for reaching your target audience and turning them into customers. Your specific promotional tactics, initiatives and campaigns form your tactical Marketing Plan (more on that later).

Identify your business goals

Although your marketing strategy’s focus is, you guessed it, marketing, it’s important to start by identifying the broader business goals, ensuring your marketing activity is aligned to support the business objectives.

Business goals might include launching a new product or service, entering a new market, or achieving a sustainability goal. More often than not your business goals will also be tied to delivering top-line revenue results.

Define your marketing goals

Once the business goals are agreed and documented, you can use these as a reference point against which to plan your marketing goals and gauge the success of various tactics.

For example, if the business goal is to achieve a 25% increase in top-line revenue growth, marketing should determine how many sales or leads it needs to deliver to produce that target outcome.

Marketing goals may take multiple years to achieve, but no matter how long the timeframe, they should always be S.M.A.R.T goals – clear, measurable, with a realistic timeline for delivery.

S.M.A.R.T GOAL SETTING

  • Specific: Well-defined goals outline what the goal is, who is involved, what and why it is being done and when it will be reached.
  • Measurable: How will you measure progress? Your goal must have trackable and numeric targets.
  • Attainable: Is your goal realistic? Do you have the resources (time, money and capability) to achieve this goal?
  • Relevant: Is the goal relevant to the broader business objectives and within reach for everyone involved.
  • Timely: What is the timeline or deadline to achieve your goal

Need an example? 

Rather than setting a goal like this ‘launch new gin brand online” a S.M.A.R.T goal would be “Launch Melbourne Gin to the Australian market, via the online store and affiliate eCommerce channels (social, wholesale, marketplace), selling 1000 units, by June 2022.”

Research, research, research

Next, it’s time to dive deep into market research. This is one of our favourite elements of developing a comprehensive, successful Marketing Strategy. Your research should reveal a detailed picture of

  • Your customers and prospects
  • Competitors
  • Similar product or services
  • Suppliers
  • Industry and market trends.

It’s important to note that market research is never a ‘set and forget’ activity and should include external channels, including industry reports, and internal information including sales and customer data, and web and social analytics. While the bold strokes of your strategy should (hopefully!) remain essentially unchanged year to year, it is a living document that should be reviewed annually and updated when market volatility occurs to stay relevant, useful and targeted.

Brindle Tip: When developing a Marketing Strategy for clients, the Brindle team use the outputs of market research to complete a detailed SWOT analysis to reveal your competitive strengths, weakness and opportunities, and even threats to achieving your goals.

Understand your potential customers

One of the most critical outcomes of market research is to arrive at a detailed picture, or buyer-persona, of the customer(s) you are trying to sell to. The more specific you can be with this semi-fictional persona, the deeper understanding you will have of customers’ pain points and how your product or service can solve these challenges. Armed with these insights, you’ll be able to shape impactful messaging that immediately connects with potential customers. Resulting in more sales!

Not sure where to find this information? If you’ve been operating your business for a while, you can use your own sales, website, and social data. Work out who (age, demo, gender, locations) is buying what (products, categories).

If you’re launching a brand-new business, stalk your competitor’s social media channels, look at who is following and engaging with them. The most active online followers are more likely to be shoppers and, therefore, your ideal customers.

Next, you’ll need to understand your customer journey, from awareness to purchase, repeat purchase to loyalty. Understand and document how long each stage takes and how many touchpoints they need with your brand to make a decision. Remember, most websites convert at between 2 – 4%, which means 96% of website visitors won’t buy from you (or give you their information) on that particular visit. That’s why keeping top of mind is so important.

Brindle Tip: In developing buyer-personas, consider the buyers’ age, relationship status, lifestyle preferences, occupation, where they live, habits, etc., to better understand the buying lifecycle, including where and how they make their buying decisions, who they buy from and when.

Buyer personas will likely change over time as the business (and the market) evolves, so this is another ‘live’ component of the Strategy that should be reviewed and updated annually.

Establish your competitive advantage

The more saturated the market you are competing in, the more important it will be to articulate what’s sets your offering apart from the competition.

A business’ competitive advantage may be based on any number of factors, ranging from quality to price, location, or specific product specifications.

Brindle Tip: While cost is often compelling, it’s preferable to look for what’s truly exceptional about your business offering, translating these into core claims that you can truly own and use to differentiate your brand and marketing.

Develop winning marketing tactics

Armed with this comprehensive overview of the market, customer and competitor information, it is now possible to start planning the marketing tactics that will best allow you to achieve your business goals.

With a MYRIAD of tactical and promotional opportunities to choose from this is a HUGE undertaking (which is why we’re covering it in our next blog). We recommend experimenting with different ideas, constantly reviewing against your strategic marketing goals to see what’s working (and what is not).

Take the time, invest in strategy

While the thought of pausing temporarily to research and document a Marketing Strategy might seem frustrating when everyone is eager to ‘just get on with it, remember that the process of developing a strategy helps create focus, deliver impact and ultimately, ensures a higher return on your marketing investment. Need some help creating a winning Marketing Strategy? Get in touch with the team at Brindle here. 

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