Let’s Make a Marketing Strategy
Before we can dive into all the fun ways you’re going to get the word out about your new business, we need to set some overarching goals. What exactly are you trying to accomplish? How much effort (and money) are you willing to spend on it? What is the competitive environment like? Once you’ve figured out the battle to make your business a success, we can then decide which particular marketing tactics will be the most effective for you.
Strategy Versus Plan
While the words strategy and plan may at times be synonyms, a marketing strategy and a marketing plan are complementary, not supplementary. Think of a marketing strategy as the goals you wish to achieve. Maybe you want to drum up sales at your store. Maybe you want to generate awareness of your new service. Whatever it is, it’s important to have a clear vision of what you are trying to achieve to serve as a benchmark for understanding if you are making progress as you go along.
A marketing plan is what you will then do to achieve the goal(s) set out in your marketing strategy. It’s the summation of the tactics you will employ to achieve success. Will you be reaching out to influencers to share your expertise with them? Will you be bombarding your neighborhood with flyers or running ads on Facebook? As this series goes on, you’ll learn more about the different tools at your disposal and incorporate the ones that work best for your needs.
There are a number of helpful frameworks one can use to establish a marketing strategy. One is called SWOT Analysis, which stands for “strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats.” Here, you develop a matrix of your internal strengths and weaknesses, the external factors that represent opportunities to capitalize on something missing from the marketplace, and threats of actions that other companies may take that could cost you.
Let’s say you’re an accountant (or a new tax preparation app). Is the existing competition too expensive? Then there’s an opportunity to undercut them as the low-priced competitor. Or is the low-end market already saturated? Maybe you’d be better off as the high-end competitor that may cost more but offers far greater convenience and service.
Using those ideas, you can then develop your 4 Ps (aka a marketing mix). The first element is product, or what exactly it is that the consumer needs and how the item or service you offer satisfies that. Then you have price, which is not just how much you want to charge for the item, but what the customer gets at various price points, how you will structure payment, and the sort of value the customer will feel they’re getting for their money. Third is promotion, or how you want to get the word out and how much of your profit per sale can be driven back into marketing. Last, you have place, which is where you will be distributing your offering, be it a physical store, online, trade shows, etc.
Give your marketing strategy and plan some good thought, as this will ultimately guide the rest of your marketing and communication activities. If you need some help setting pen to paper, there are a number of good templates and guides available online. Once you’ve settled on a general outline (which you can always revise to stay on top of current trends), you can start to incorporate all the fun tools and tactics, starting with tomorrow’s lesson: SEO and SEM.
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