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What is a Marketing Strategy?
You can think of a strategy as the blueprint for where your business is today, where you want to take it tomorrow, and what marketing tactics you need to employ to get there.
As a business function the goal of marketing is to connect an organization to its customers, clients, partners and society at large. A strategy is the foundation of any successful marketing plan outlining the steps you need to take to achieve your organization’s goals and objectives. The process is similar to building a new home where a team of specialists begin by drafting a blueprint before preparing the construction site and laying down the bricks.
A strategic marketing plan provides the outline for how an organization will combine product, pricing, distribution, and promotional actions to create offerings that customers will find attractive. The plan also addresses the implementation, control, and refinement of these actions.
How can a Marketing Strategy benefit my company?
If you want your business to grow and flourish, having a well-developed marketing strategy is key so that your firm can give focus to the right areas required for business growth. A comprehensive marketing strategy breaks down your product design, pricing strategy, supply chain strategy, and the marketing communications activities required to reach your target markets.
Without a doubt, the marketing communications piece of a marketing strategy plan is what many people are most familiar with. It is, however, critical that we do not to neglect the other three elements of the strategy as they are equally as important to satisfy customers’ needs and wants.
Busy executives and business owners often reach out to us feeling overwhelmed by the seemingly endless communications channels available to promote their business.
With technology changing at a rapid pace, they’re not sure whether they should use LinkedIn, Facebook, run Google Ad campaigns, write search engine optimized (SEO) web content, create an email newsletter, run a TV or radio ad, host an event, or create a landing page. What combination of tactics should be used? How and when should they be used to generate the best results? How should results be measured?
If you’ve found yourself asking any of these questions, a marketing strategy will provide the answers for you. Over the long-term, a strategic approach saves you time, money, reduces your risk, and improves your overall marketing results so that you can build a more profitable and sustainable business. The right plan takes the stress off of your shoulders and puts more money into your bottom line.
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Strategic Planning Within Organizations
Strategic planning within organizations often begins with an assessment of macro issues such as the corporate mission, management of the mix of strategic business units, resource acquisition and assignments, and corporate policy decisions. The next level of planning involves a division or business unit that focuses on their particular products and market. At the micro levels of an organization, strategic planning is much more tactical in nature involving specific game plans for connecting products and markets in ways that satisfy the objectives of both the company and the customer.
What goes into a Marketing Strategy?
Research and Analysis
The development of a sound strategic marketing plan involves the collection and analysis of internal, customer, competitive, and external environmental information. Due to the challenges involved in finding the right information as a result of an overwhelming supply of available information, marketers use a variety of primary and secondary research methods to interpret and analyse the information gathered.
The initial three types of information and analysis conducted includes an internal analysis, competitive analysis, and external environmental analysis.
1. Internal Analysis
Internal analysis involves the objective review of internal organizational information that relates to the firm’s current strategy and performance, as well as the current and future availability of resources.
2. Competitive Analysis
Competitive analysis, also known as competitive intelligence, involves analyzing the capabilities, vulnerabilities, and intentions of competing businesses.
3. External Environmental Analysis
External environmental analysis, sometimes referred to as environmental scanning, involves assessing the economic, political, legal, technological, cultural events and trends that may affect the future of the organization and its marketing efforts.
To be successful, a firm must possess one or more competitive advantages to leverage in the market. A competitive advantage is something that the firm does better than its competitors which gives it an edge in serving customers needs and in maintaining relationships with important stakeholders. The competitive advantage sets the tone for the entire marketing program while providing a compelling reason for customers to buy the firm’s products and services.
At Catch Communications, our competitive advantage lies in our dedication and attention to detail in our client service approach. We highly value our client relationships and have established the processes to listen first and then formulate the most effective strategies to tackle unique client marketing challenges.
Goals and Objectives
Next, we determine the marketing goals and objectives that are consistent with the overall business mission and vision of the firm. Since firms have limited resources, we must focus on what needs to be completed in the upcoming planning cycles.
Goals are the general desired accomplishments, while objectives provide specific, quantitative benchmarks that can be used to measure progress toward the achievement of the marketing goals. We will develop goals that are not only attainable, but also proven and effective. An example of a goal may be to achieve a 15% overall sales growth over a one-year period for a company generating $3M per year in annual revenue.
The objectives will lay out a time frame for achievement as well as the assignment of responsibilities for completion. For example, the objectives may outline that we acquire five additional qualified leads for product x and three additional qualified leads for product y every month in order to achieve our sales growth goals over twelve months.
Understanding your Customer, Segmentation and Target Marketing
Until a firm has chosen and analysed a target market, it cannot make effective decisions about the other elements of the marketing strategy. Understanding the buyer behaviour of consumers is a complex task. A successful strategy depends on a clear understanding of your customers with respect to who they are, what they need, what they prefer, and why they buy. It is vital to understand the variables used to identify and segment your target market. At Catch, we follow industry best practices to help businesses understand their target markets and build the buyer personas necessary for delivering the right offering for your audience.