As a business owner, you may be tempted to succumb to the shiny bright marketing tactic of the week. Let’s face it, you have hundreds of things you have to do in your business, so it’s the easy route to take. However in this blog post I will investigate the importance of planning your marketing strategy before tactics, to help you build a vibrant business.
What is a marketing strategy?
Strategy is not simply a list of objectives. Here is the Duct Tape Marketing explanation of what a marketing strategy is:
“A marketing strategy is a clear explanation of how you are going to get there, not where or what there is. An effective marketing strategy is a concise explanation of your stated plan of execution to reach your objective.” – John Jantsch, Duct Tape Marketing.
Why it’s important to develop your marketing strategy
Your marketing strategy is the most important aspect of your marketing. Without developing your strategy, you will be throwing away money at the latest tactic of the week, and you won’t even know if that tactic is working, without a clear marketing plan.
Your strategy needs to be built on relevant research, and planning, this will be the key to your success. If you get your marketing strategy right, you can surround it with just about any set of marketing tactics, once they are actioned and measured consistently. Marketing strategy and tactics go hand in hand to build momentum in your business, and grow your business.
Two parts to your marketing strategy
There are two key elements to your marketing strategy and these are:
1. Narrowly defining your ideal client
2. What’s your point of difference – What makes your business remarkable and unique?
Many businesses do not take the time to figure out these two pieces for their business, yet they are vital parts in developing your marketing strategy.
Define your ideal client
It’s very tempting to be all things to all people, and take any customer that you can get. However most businesses, are best suited to serve a narrowly defined market segment. There is an ideal set of clients for most businesses, and this can grow and evolve over time. An ideal client may be:
- A customer has a need that you can help with in a unique way
- It would be a subset of people who can afford what you offer
- It could be a customer at a certain life stage
Once you have discovered what your ideal client looks like, then you can build your entire marketing strategy around attracting more of these types of clients.
Differentiate your business
It’s really important to figure out a way to differentiate yourself from other players in your industry. This is a key part of your marketing strategy. You may already think what you do is unique; unfortunately competitors often claim to do the exact same thing.
One of the most important pieces of marketing research you can do, to find your point of difference, is to sit down with a handful of your existing customers, and ask them these questions:
- What made you decide to use our service?
- What’s one thing that we do really well compared to other similar businesses?
- What’s one thing that we could do better?
- Do you refer us and if so what do you say when you refer us?
Now bear in mind that a customer may say you provide great service or fair pricing, but these are market expectations, not a point of difference. So dig a little deeper, ask for specific examples. Once you do this research with a handful of existing customers your point of difference will become evident, as you will see reoccurring themes and words being used to describe you.
Your core marketing message
Once you have narrowly defined your ideal client, and clearly mapped out your point of difference, you then need to build your core marketing message around these and communicate it clearly in all that you do.
Free eBook – 7 Sets to small business marketing success
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Contact Vivacity Marketing if you have any questions, we would love to hear from you to find out how we can help you develop your marketing strategy, to set you up for success. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Author: Vanessa Geraghty McGann, Marketing Consultant. Vivacity Marketing – Helping you build a vibrant business.