I love maps. When I was a kid, I used to study maps in my room. I would pretend that I was on an adventure in some faraway place. In the adventure that is marketing a business in today’s world, you still need a map. Your business likely won’t go where you want without one.
A good marketing strategy is the map you need for your marketing efforts. It tells you how to get where you want your marketing campaign to go. It provides signs and markers to keep you on the right path. Without one, you may find your campaign on a lonely, dark road with profits nowhere in sight.
When should you develop a marketing strategy?
There are a few times in your company’s life when you need a marketing strategy in place:
- When you’re starting a business.
- At the beginning of each year. This gives you a roadmap to follow all year long.
- When you are bringing a new product to market. The same applies for when you’re introducing an existing product to a new market.
What should your marketing strategy include?
Your company’s marketing strategy needs to include certain basic information. Each piece of information serves a purpose. Any piece that’s missing may spell trouble for your campaign.
Here’s a quick rundown of what any marketing strategy needs to include:
1. Information about you:
- Know your product. You must understand every aspect of your product. How is it put together? What is it made of? Most important, what does it do for the customer? Remember that above all, your audience wants to know how you can solve their problems.
- Know your budget. Splashy ads on TV or in newspapers might get widely seen, but they aren’t always effective ways to reach your target audience. Find out where your target is, where they get their information. Then get your message in those places.
- Know your target. This is CRUCIAL. Who are they? What do they value? What are their spending habits? Where do they spend their time? What drives them to action? The more complete your picture of your audience is, the better your results will be.
- Know your competition. Almost every company has rivals. Who has a product similar to yours? How has it been marketed? Has it been successful? What are the weaknesses in the product? Important: Why should a customer buy your product over your competitor’s?
- Know your goals. What do you hope to accomplish through this campaign? More customers in your store? More traffic to your landing page? Whatever your goals are, make them specific and measurable. For example, a goal might be, “500 more visits to our company web site next month, with 25% of those visitors buying our product. ”
- Know your progress. When you have specific, measurable goals, you know where you stand at all times. If you are not reaching your goals, be ready to evaluate your strategy to see what’s wrong.
Of course, include as much detail as you can in your marketing plan. The clearer you are in each of these areas, the more successful you’re likely to be.
Any business that’s serious about getting its message out needs to have a good marketing strategy. Spend a lot of time working on these six areas before you start a campaign. The work you put in beforehand will save you time, money, aggravation, embarrassment, and, most importantly, lost sales.
Richard Jarman can be found at http://jarmanbusinesswriting.com He provides solutions for companies who experience frustration getting their message across to their customers. He assists companies in crafting marketing materials that highlight their unique strengths and abilities. His goal is for all of his clients to have sales and marketing materials that work for them, that increase profits and build customer loyalty. His monthly e-zine, The Next Step, is filled with tips and articles designed to inspire and improve your business. Sign up today by going to http://jarmanbusinesswriting.com/thenextstep and get a FREE report, The Essential Guide to Hiring a Copywriter.