The importance of having a marketing strategy
Marketing is an essential part of a brand’s growth and success. Business decisions made in the present will condition future results, so it is vital to have some guidelines to follow when determining the direction our brand will take to decide things hastily and without rigour.
Much of a brand’s success is not due to the product it sells; although important, this is only one element to consider in the marketing mix. To ensure its popularity, the brand must have a consistent marketing strategy to support it.
There are probably hundreds of competitors selling the same thing as you, and if there aren’t already, it’s because your product is innovative and new to the market. Don’t worry, they will come. Many of your competitors may be able to offer competitive prices that eclipse your brand, others may have better quality, a storytelling strategy that moves consumers… every brand is different. Therefore, the important thing is that you know how to sell your product, differentiate yourself, and offer added value.
Although positioning is not achieved overnight (as you need it to settle in the consumer’s mind over time), this is often achieved through a good marketing strategy that results in a positioning that is very different from that of the competition.
What is a marketing strategy?
Your strategy consists of all the actions you take with your brand to achieve a specific objective and is made up of objectives (short-term actions) and goals (to be achieved in the future, in the long term). The most important is the long-term strategy, as being clear about where you want to get to is what will ensure that you do not lose your way by making the wrong decisions that divert you from your objectives.
It is important for companies to be able to anticipate and adapt to changes that may affect their market. Operational marketing, on the other hand, in the short term, is the actions that will lead you to achieve your business goals.
An essential branch of marketing strategy that cannot be missed today is the digital marketing strategy.
The presence of brands on the Internet and Social Networks is increasing more and more, having an impact on people’s different multimedia devices, and being present in the different moments in which the user has a need. In this world your brand should not be left behind.
How to make an effective marketing strategy?
Establish your 4 P’s of the Marketing Mix
We have already talked about the Marketing Mix in the Digital Concepts. In a nutshell, it is the combination of elements that a business uses to make smart and profitable decisions about its activity, product and/or service.
The elements of the Marketing Mix are one of the first things you should be clear about before taking any other action.
- Product. What are you going to sell: a physical product, a service? You have to be loyal to it and make decisions that are favourable to it, as well as taking into account the market you are in and how it is going to evolve. It is important to study the needs and wants of your consumer. Therefore, over time a product will evolve as its consumers evolve. For example, the first iPhone that was launched on the market is very different from the most recent ones, since the design, the functionalities, the technology… have changed.
- Price. How much will it cost your customers? The price will depend on the perception your customers have of your product/service and the profit margin you want to attribute to yourself. At this point, you should consider penetration strategies and discounts.
- Place. Where am I going to sell my products? There are different options, from the traditional physical shop to e-commerce or Marketplace (Amazon, Asos…).
- Promotion. How am I going to promote my product? It consists of the way in which you are going to promote yourself, either with advertising, direct marketing actions, display…
Analyse your competition, the market and your environment.
As the saying goes, “keep your friends close, and your enemies closer”. It is vitally important to study what your competitors are doing and how they operate so that you can anticipate what they are doing and be the pioneer brand in your category. First of all, it is essential that you carry out a benchmark, a bit of analysis of the market in which your brand is or wants to enter, the definition of your competition and what they do, etc.
Identify what you can enhance about your brand that will make you different from the rest of your competitors and in this way establish your USP: “Unique Selling Proposition”. The USP acts as a purchase motivator and is the main promise of your brand: what it is that you offer, what makes you different and what will make customers buy your products and not those of your competitors.
The process of Benchmarking and establishing your USP can be done through a SWOT analysis, in which you study your Strengths and Weaknesses, everything you can control as a brand, and the Opportunities and Threats of the market, both your environment and your competitors.
All this will allow you to base your decisions on data rather than deductions. You cannot act on perception of what you think your target will like, and that is why the previous study you have carried out will help you to guide your strategy and justify the steps you take.
Define your target and Buyer Persona
We are clear about the target: we know that we must bear in mind the public to whom our product is addressed. But… Buyer Persona? This term may be more unfamiliar. A Buyer Persona is the representation of the ideal customer. In other words, the prototype customer of our target. It serves to personify the target audience we are addressing, identify insights and needs of our target, etc. Everything we do has to meet the needs of the defined buyer persona. A common practice is to imagine this person and establish their lifestyle, needs, tastes, hobbies… So, every time you make a business decision, you can ask yourself: what will my Buyer Persona want? Many times, brands establish more than one Buyer Persona, differentiating between male or female, or targeting two age segments.
On the other hand, it is important to know how to segment and identify the needs of this group of people. A brand cannot target everyone, as it would lose credibility and effectiveness. As Woody Allen said: “I don’t know the key to success; but the key to failure is to want to please everyone”.
You can consult and deepen the concept of Buyer Persona in our Digital Concepts, where we explain it in detail.
Define the Customer Journey of your target
Once we are clear about the type of person who might be interested in our product, we must investigate how they act before they buy our product/service. This is where the definition of the Customer Journey comes into play. The customer journey is the name given to the process that takes place from the moment a need arises in the consumer until they make the purchase of the product. If you analyse this process well, you can find consumer pains (frustrations) that need to be solved and optimal moments in which you should communicate in one way or another depending on the predisposition of the target. The type of communication will change depending on the moment of the customer journey in which our audience is.
E.g: If I start looking for a flat, my need is to find one at a price that suits and does not exceed my budget. The gain is the forums where the flat offers are updated every day, while the pain could be a fraudulent website.
Get them to know you and talk about you
In the environment in which we consumers live, saturated with messages and brands that offer us “apparently the same thing”, differentiating yourself and launching attractive messages so that your potential consumers consider you is of vital importance. Therefore, you must create notoriety around your brand or business.
If your target does not know you, it will be difficult for them to reach you if not by chance. It is advisable to constantly invest in one of the many forms of advertising that exist today. This will depend on your needs and budget: from collaborations with Influencers (which have a high percentage of engagement and virality), internet advertising with Adwords, ads on social networks with Facebook or Instagram Ads, events, spots on radio stations, etc.
Monitor your strategy
There is no point in programming a whole marketing strategy if we do not then use the data obtained to find out what effect it has had and whether it has been profitable, and thus iterate and redirect everything we detect. Knowing how to analyse your strategy will allow you to corroborate its effectiveness and efficiency. Therefore, you must set different KPI’s that you must meet with your brand strategy. For example, if you have invested in internet advertising (such as Display), you will be interested in measuring the campaign through the CTR, the number of impressions, the reach, etc.
To sum up
Developing a marketing strategy (both conventional and digital) is key if you want your business to thrive and grow as you expect it to. The decisions you make will depend on the needs of your business, but having all the points we have mentioned will help you in this task and will ensure that you don’t lose your way along the way. Remember:
- Establish the 4 P’s of your marketing mix.
- Analyse your competition and environment
- Find, study and define the Customer Journey of your target group.
- Create awareness
- Use metrics to measure the effectiveness of your strategy.
I hope you liked our article and that you can apply it to your business.