How to Create a Marketing Strategy

If you want to develop a marketing strategy for your business, it’s important to understand the key steps involved.

What is a marketing strategy?

A marketing strategy is a plan put forth by an organization to achieve its goal. These goals can be accomplished through many different avenues, such as gaining customers, increasing sales, improving customer retention rates, or any combination of these. Entire books have been written about the different types of strategies an organization can employ to achieve its goals.

A solid marketing strategy is long-term, it is strategic in nature and should remain constant over a period of time.

The contingency approach is very much tactical, leading to changes in the marketing mix as a result of changing market conditions.

A marketing strategy should have the following characteristics:

  • Provide superior customer value
  • Make long-term investments in relationships
  • Build satisfied customers 
  • Create an effective supply chain and IT infrastructure

The key to success is to build a strategy based on these concepts. The organization must strive to ensure that it implements a learning culture, is willing to change and is innovative, with a long-term commitment to building long-lasting customer relationships. 

What Are The Benefits of a Marketing Strategy?

A well-developed marketing strategy is essential for successful campaigns. The key components of a successful strategy include the following: comprehensive research, goal setting, organizing all your data, website usability testing, customer acquisition planning, and prioritizing tasks.

What Are The Key Considerations of a Marketing Strategy?

For a strategy to be effective, it needs to have clear objectives and a focus that aligns with the organization’s corporate goals. There are three components to planning a marketing strategy:

1. Customers

2. Competition

3. Internal issues

A staged approach to developing marketing strategies consists of the following steps:

  • Identifying the mission, vision, and corporate strategy of an organization
  • Analyzing resources, capabilities, and opportunities
  • Analyzing the surrounding environment in terms of customers and competitors
  • How segments, targets, and positions are determined

The opportunity to market to a target market arises when conditions and timings are right to achieve it.

The appeal of a market will be determined by a strategic analysis of a number of factors. Among them are:

  • Analyzing the external environment;
  • Assessing the relative capabilities and competencies of the organization;
  • Identifying strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats currently and in the future;
  • Identifying the needs and wants of the customer so that the organization can respond to changing requirements.

Identify what you believe are the marketing opportunities available to your organization or one you know well in the short, medium, and long term.

Kinds of Marketing Strategies

There are many different marketing strategies you can utilize. The first one, direct marketing, is when marketers distribute their message directly to the consumer – through print ads, TV commercials, what have you. Another strategy is called viral marketing. This type of marketing relies on the idea that consumers will voluntarily share a company’s information with their friends and family because they find it interesting or useful. The last type of marketing strategy I want to mention is guerrilla marketing. It involves making your company’s product highly visible in public places so consumers happen across it naturally.

What Are The fundamentals of a Marketing Strategy?

These are some of the key components of the fundamentals

Basically, marketing strategy identifies specific segments of the market, towards which an organization’s marketing activities and programs might be targeted. 

The plan should highlight opportunities to be exploited and explicitly state the objectives needed to achieve the organization’s corporate goals.

Ultimately, strategy should ensure synergy across the entire organization, without exception. The success of any strategy hinges on ensuring that all business functions and their supporting activities serve the same purpose and have a common vision while achieving integration and consistency.

Creating a Marketing Strategy

A marketing strategy is a plan that outlines the purpose of all company’s marketing efforts. It should be a strategic plan that will help the organization achieve its business objectives. The marketing strategy starts with a clear understanding of who the customers are, what their needs are, and how the company can meet their needs better than competitors.

Implementing a Marketing Strategy

Implementing a marketing strategy is never easy, but it is necessary. The first step of any marketing plan is to analyze your data and identify your target audience. You also need to create a list of mediums that work for you and send out the message.

ANALYSIS OF COMPETITORS

In order to be successful in any market, you need to understand the competitors. The competition uses a variety of tactics and by understanding them, a proper response can be developed.

The analysis of competitors is critical to any marketing strategy, and to ignore the competition would be to assume the organization operates in a vacuum, which is evidently not the case.

The following key factors will be considered when analyzing the competition:

  • Can they market effectively? How much money are they prepared to spend on advertising?
  • Innovating at a high level: what do competitors do and how are innovations delivered?
  • How skilled is the management team?

In a more strategic review, the following would be considered:

  • Who are the competitors?
  • What are the goals?
  • What strategies are being pursued and what successes are being achieved?
  • Strengths and weaknesses that have been identified?
  • How will the competition behave and how will they react to offensive moves?

DATA FOR STRATEGIC DECISION MAKING

Auditing marketing environments requires a wide range of tools to gather information about an organization’s internal and external environments. The method you choose depends on what you want to accomplish, so each has its advantages and disadvantages. Some methods include:

  • The internal records of many companies have evolved beyond traditional sales and account records to include customer relationship management (CRM) systems and data from websites.
  • Profiling customers can be done using this information. Furthermore, other internal records can be utilized to identify the organisation’s key resources and capabilities.
  • Secondary data (already published) is a good source of information for understanding aspects of the external environment. These sources include government statistics on the population, information from rival websites, or data from trade associations regarding the markets and competitors. However, quality can be an issue, so marketers should carefully evaluate their sources. Secondary sources are useful for gathering data on macroenvironmental factors, but are less useful for gathering data on the microenvironment.
  • Syndicated and shared research – By sharing the data-collection process, this can provide information cost-effectively. In general, the information gathered creates more useful insights into customers and markets than secondary sources, over which the organization has no control, but these insights aren’t as extensive as commissioned bespoke primary research. For benchmarking exercises, which are commonly facilitated by a trade association or similar industry body, shared research can be useful.
  • Organisations typically conduct bespoke primary research to better understand buyers, end users, and competitors, and the research is usually quantitative – such as surveys, experiments, and observation – or qualitative – such as focus groups and in-depth interviews. Even though it is much more expensive than other forms of research, it can give the organization unique knowledge that, if used effectively, can give it a competitive advantage.

In deciding which methods to use and what data to collect and analyze, marketers should keep the purpose of the exercise at heart – that is, to support the creation of an organization’s strategic marketing plan in mind.

In addition to helping marketers make important decisions about marketing and corporate strategy, the research should also illustrate forecasts and objectives within the marketing plan and serve as a benchmark or baseline against which to measure progress.

Monitoring and analysis of changing market conditions

  • Competitive intelligence – Most companies and their products and services can be found on their websites and public relations and promotional materials. Recruitment advertisements can also provide insight into a competitor’s plans. Furthermore, you can gather competitor intelligence from the media (including online) and by talking to customers and attending trade shows and other industry events. Some organizations go so far as to headhunt senior managers or key technical staff and conduct mystery shopping on them. In such cases, however, there is a fine line between acceptable and unethical behavior.

Establish a list of acceptable and unacceptable intelligence gathering activities for your organization. What if you worked for another type of organization (not-for-profit, government, commercial, etc)?

  • Customer intelligence – Many sources of competitor intelligence also provide valuable information about customers. Trade events, for example, bring buyers and sellers together and provide a rich source of data. The Real-Life example above illustrates how they can also generate ideas for innovation.
  • A changing external environment – Focusing on customers and competitors can provide information and knowledge that could give an organization an advantage over less well-informed competitors.

You also need to consider the wider environment. Intelligence gathering is essential for detecting new or potential entrants to the market or the emergence of viable substitute products. 

To anticipate major changes in the macro environment, regular scanning is also essential. A range of people and organizations outside of the marketing department are required to support this process. Employees who handle key accounts, sales staff, agents and distributors, and others who may have access to valuable information need to know what to look for and what kind of information they need.