Outsource to Us understands that a marketing strategy is a foundation upon which a campaign is built, and without one, business brand development is limited
Many businesses launch marketing campaigns in the hope of engaging with previously untapped pools of potential customers. While a campaign is capable of winning over the hearts of many consumers, embarking upon any marketing campaign without a marketing strategy is like trying to build a house from the roof down. A marketing strategy is the foundation upon which a campaign is built, and without one, business brand development is limited, if present at all.
For a large business, the process of creating a fully realised marketing strategy, along with a tactical implementation calendar, could take, days—perhaps even weeks! At Outsource to Us, we recognise that this is not the case for smaller businesses. Armed with an extensive range of experience and knowledge, we assist our clients in creating and rolling out fully strategised marketing campaigns efficiently, and to great effect.
To best assist our clients, we have devised a basic, yet effective, framework which is tailored to develop a solid marketing strategy within any business.
1. Personal Reflection
Before you launch a marketing campaign, it is essential that you take time to reflect upon yourself and your business. As a small business owner, it can be difficult to allocate time solely for reflection and self-analysis, however, you must understand who you are before you can decide who you want to be, and how you want to be seen.
You must determine:
- Who you are at your core, and what you do.
- Whether your current brand communicates your business’ identity effectively.
- Whether your brand is consistent across all your platforms and collateral, or whether there are inconsistencies and weak-links.
- What your brand’s promise is, and whether you are successfully delivering that promise.
- What your core products and services are, and how you’d like to expand upon them.
Once you have a firm grasp of your identity, you will be able to establish what sets your business apart from the masses. This feature will be your Unique Selling Proposition. In a tumultuous, competitive market, your USP will be a prominent feature within your marketing communications.
2. Objective Identification
Once you know who you are and who you want to be, you can start planning what you want from a marketing campaign. It is essential that you discern your business’ marketing objectives early on, because without drive, any marketing strategy and campaign is doomed to fail. You must ask yourself why you want to market your business. Do you want to earn new customers? Would you like to acknowledge and encourage existing customers? Perhaps you’d like to win the permanent attention and loyalty of ex or one-time customers, or maybe you’d just like to earn a greater level of brand recognition. Each of these objectives requires the incorporation of a very specific marketing approach within the overarching strategy. It is therefore essential that you discern what you want out of a campaign before you launch one.
3. The Stakeout
The next aspect of your business that you will need to consider is your customers—both the current, and the ideal.
The current: Who are your existing customers? Where do they live and work? How old are they? If there is one, what is the dominant gender? Is there anything unique or specialised about your customer-base, or is it a broad, un-honed spectrum?
The ideal: Are they a person, or a business? If you are targeting people, do you desire the attention of male or female customers? What industry or occupation would these ideal customers be in? Do they drive? Do they have hobbies, interests, favourite sports teams?
You must reflectively interrogate your existing and desired customer base before you can tailor a business identity which appeals to both parties. Creating your ideal customer avatar, however, is a project in itself. Despite the intensive consideration required, once your ideal avatar is complete, you may test your campaign with them. Once you have put a finger on exactly who they are, you can confidently ask yourself: Does this campaign speak to them?
You may then adjust your communication approach to best suit your ideal market. For example, if your ideal customer is a business person, and you are trying to attract a CEO or Director figure, you must discern how you can market yourself to them effectively. They are people after all, so you must consider how you can speak to them and engage their attention, specifically.
4. The Investigation
After you have considered the aforementioned things, you may begin undertaking in-depth research.
At Outsource to us, we would complete a Situational Analysis. This is a process of determining who you are, what your surroundings are, and how they are evolving. For example, is there a new business park or residential development in the council plans of your area, which may affect your business and its campaign?
We would then research your competitors. To overcome the opposition, you must know the opposition. By observing their strengths and weaknesses, you may learn from their successes and failures. The next step may be employing a S.W.O.T. analysis. In this assessment, we would consider your Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats.
5. The Approach
Now it’s time to decide your initial Marketing Tactics. Here, you will determine how you are going to reach your target customers effectively. You can now create a calendar of tasks; assign roles and responsibilities; and determine costs, budgets, and deadlines. The Key Marketing Metrics—how you will track and measure success—will then be decided. For more marketing tactic ideas, check out our other blogs about various tried and tested marketing approaches and methods.
6. The Plan
Finally, you must consider your long-term plans. These may include the diversification or expansion of your brand, and how this may affect your current marketing tactics over time. As your company grows and changes, so should your strategy. At Outsource to Us, we assist in the adaption and creation of operative marketing strategies and campaigns.
Your marketing strategy is not set in stone. Your business and its environment will change, and your products and services will develop. This evolution is natural and healthy, due to the fluid state of your business; however, it is essential to revisit your marketing strategy periodically throughout the year to make sure it still rings true to the state and intentions of your company. You must ensure that everything you do only lends value to your business, and to your customers.
For more information on how we can help you create and implement a solid marketing strategy within your small business, read the Strategy Development and Planning page on our website, or call us today!
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Author: Lou Browne
Lou Browne has a long career history in multi-platform marketing B2C and B2B product and brand development having worked in industries as varied as wine and spirits, beauty and scuba diving. As well as a passion for social media, website design, events, marketing planning and strategy, she prides herself on her skills in relationship building.