What’s the point of strategic marketing? Isn’t all marketing at least a little strategic?
You might ask this question. The thing is, anyone can slap an advertisement on a telephone pole, or throw a website on the internet, and call it marketing. Strategic marketing is marketing with purpose. It’s using tactics to form the absolute best marketing strategy and personalizing it for your business. Insivia explains the difference between your basic, run-of-the-mill marketing and the kind of marketing that strategically gets results: “Strategic marketing is making sure that each one of your marketing efforts (e.g., e-newsletters, advertisement in magazines, websites, direct mailers and so on) aligns with your overall plan for connecting the information you have to provide with the audience that needs to hear it for you to succeed.”
We’re going to break down what strategic marketing is and explain the questions you need to answer to make the best plan possible for marketing your business.
Who Is Your Audience and What Do They Want?
The first thing you need to do is identify your audience or your customer base. Who are you trying to reach? Are you selling maternity clothes to young couples or textbooks to students? You need to work out what your demographic is. Once you’ve figured out who your customers are, think about the best ways to reach them. Consider what kind of events they would be interested in, the best method of communicating with them, and where you can find them (whether online or geographically).
Strategic marketing is only possible if you know as much as possible about who you are selling your goods or services to. The service you are providing to your customers is only useful if you can reach them with the information and deliver the goods. Is your business capable of doing this? If not, don’t despair. Take note of where or how you aren’t successfully reaching your audience, and set some goals on how to get through to them.
Once you nail down exactly who you are selling to, you’ll need to pay some attention to who else is selling to them: in other words, your competitors.
Who Are Your Competitors?
Who else is out there providing services similar to the ones you offer? You will need to consider your competition. Look at what they’re doing and where. It will also help you to analyze where your competitors are succeeding and failing. You might be able to step in on their weaker areas. Or perhaps you want to challenge them in an area you think you can do better. To do that, you’ll need to observe them and their strategies as much as possible.
Your competitors can be helpful learning tools for you, too: You might be inspired to go in a different direction because of something they are doing or not doing. You might tackle a problem that you noticed they are not addressing.
So, now you have all of the players on the board, and you need to figure out what to do with them or how to reach them. That brings us to the next question you should ask yourself:
What Are Your Opportunities?
Regarding your business, look at the different opportunities for expansion, changes, or new growth. For example, maybe you have a website in place, but you only have the most basic information on it. Look into what information or resources you could add to it. Look at your geographic opportunities, your networking opportunities, your resources, and your current business offerings. Should you expand your services? Are there other groups of customers that you could reach? Are there customers that you could serve better or more efficiently?
Your answers to this question tie in closely to the next question; you’ll need to combine your answers to both to be able to form an effective marketing strategy.
What Are You Saying and What Do You Want To Say?
In other words, what is the message you want your business to speak to your target audience? What is your business all about? What is the essential service that you deliver or that you want to provide? This is a tricky question because you need to analyze both what your business is currently saying and what you want your business to say. If these two answers differ, you’ll need to take steps to rectify the two and create the message you desire. An outside opinion might be especially helpful because someone outside of your company circle can give you an unbiased report on what your company says to them. If you don’t have a mission statement formed yet, make sure to write one; it is an excellent way to put your business goals into focus.
Once you’ve determined that your business is saying what you want it to say, you can get down to tactics and plan out how to complete your business goals.
What Is Your Plan?
Without a specific plan in place, you will remain disorganized. You might have lots of goals or insights but no real way to implement them. In developing a strategic marketing plan, you can organize all of your questions and ideas into the most efficient and productive plan possible. And of course, the plan must be personalized for your business. What your business needs isn’t what another business might need. Your company should stand out with a unique mission; your business can provide its customers with a product that no other business can.
Strategic marketing will help your business succeed and grow. You need to connect your audience with your message, using every opportunity at your disposal. We know this can be an overwhelming task, especially if you’re not sure what you’re doing. You know, those thoughts in your head that make you spin. If you need help with any part of this process, Connie Kroskin Consulting is the experienced professional you want. Check out our strategic marketing services, or read our blog for lots of helpful marketing tips. You can even sign up for a complimentary 30-minute strategy session on the website.