How to write a Marketing Strategy
How’s business? If you’re like the vast majority of New Zealand businesses and things are a bit tough right now, then you need to read this!
A marketing strategy is your blueprint for success. It makes sure that every moment and dollar spent on marketing is a purposeful step towards achieving your goals.
But what are your goals? Think about what you wanted your business to achieve in 2020… are they still realistic or achievable? A marketing strategy is a series of analyses that produces a set of company and marketing objectives. So, given the massive upheaval the world has experienced in the past few months, it’s definitely a good time to relook at what you want to achieve and set some marketing objectives to help you achieve this.
Here are the seven things I look at for my clients when I’m developing a marketing strategy. And if you’re wanting to write your own strategy, I recommend you follow these steps.
1. Company Overview
Who are you or who is your company? Where have you come from and where are you hoping to go?
If you’re developing a marketing strategy for your own business, you know these answers. It still pays to write it down. Articulate your history. Articulate the reason why you started this business and why you keep doing it! You’ll need this information in step 6!
2. Product/Service Overview
What does your company do? What products, services and extras do you offer your customer?
I was talking to a new client last week. About 30 minutes after we’d established what his company did, I discovered a whole other area of his business that he’d never told me about. Again, it seems obvious to the people within your company what you sell, but writing it all down often helps us see new connections and opportunities that we might not otherwise.
3. SWOT Analysis
What are your strengths and weaknesses? What opportunities and threats are you facing?
If you do nothing else right now, do a SWOT analysis. The operating environment for ALL Kiwi businesses has shifted so much recently and will continue to shift. Make sure you’re really looking for the strengths and opportunities and are aware and can mitigate your weaknesses and threats.
Who is your target audience? Define them.
If you’re a landscaper, it’s not enough to just say that your target audience is Christchurch home owners. Think hard about who your best customers are and define them in terms of income, location, family size, property size etc.
Have you identified an opportunity at Step 3? Define any new target audiences that you want to engage with.
Part of your Customer Analysis should be buyer personas. Especially if you’re in the B2B space. Your target audience isn’t “Manufacturer Companies”… your target audience is the person within that organisation that makes the decision to buy from you. That might be the Managing Director or the Operations Manager. You need to know who they are, what they like and don’t like and what challenges they face.
5. Competitor Analysis
What does your industry look like? Who are your key competitors? Again… you know this already, but WRITE IT DOWN!
Take the time to look into your competitors. Are there any new players trying to enter the market. Do a Google search for the type of product or service you sell and see who’s paying for Google Ads. Take a look at the websites and social media of your competitors. What are they doing well and what are they doing poorly? Can you see a gap in the market?
6. Marketing Pillars
Go back over everything you’ve done so far and now it’s time to define (or redefine) your brand.
What is your company mission and vision? Why does your company exist and who do you exist to serve?
What are your company values? This is where you can start to set yourselves apart from the competitors and to address some of the problems and needs of your target audience.
What is your brand essence? If we distilled your brand down to one word, what would that word be and why?
For me that word is “Reconnaissance” because, in the words of Winston Churchill, “time spent on reconnaissance is seldom wasted.” It embodies my approach to my work… that putting in the hard yards and doing the research yields better, smarter results!
Now that you’ve done the research and defined your brand, what are your company objectives? Have they changed in light of what you’ve uncovered in steps 1-6?
What should your marketing objectives be to achieve your company objectives? Make sure they’re SMART objectives.
One of my marketing objectives is to share my knowledge and experience through blog posts to make marketing accessible and available to all New Zealand businesses whether they can afford to pay consultants or not.
Now that you have your strategy, use it! Don’t file it away and forget about it. Action the intelligence!
Now’s the time to start your Marketing Plan. These are the actions you’ll take to achieve your marketing objectives. Your strategy tells you where to find your customers and what appeals to them. Your plan tells you to set up that Facebook Page and post about cats, because that’s where they are and what they like!