Proper Planning and Preparation Prevents Poor Performance (Or, Don’t Skip the Marketing Strategy)
While it is tempting to just jump in and begin advertising your company using SEO, paid advertising, or the like, as our title suggests, it’s important to create a marketing strategy that gives consideration to the who, what, and why of your customers and business. What are you selling and how does it help customers? Who are your ideal customers and where can they be found? Building this understanding will give you the how, setting up your campaign for success by answering important questions about your business objectives and establishing the clear goals and relevant tactics for achieving them.
Why It Matters
Without a defined strategy you won't know who your customers are, you won't develop the right products, and you'll waste money promoting them. Thinking through your goals and defining processes forces you to consider the customer journey at every step. You want potential customers to have a seamless interaction with your company from initial contact to purchase. Any possible frustration point needs to be smoothed out to maintain both forward momentum toward and positive feeling about your product or service. Otherwise, you risk prospective buyers moving on to your competitors. This is particularly important in a B2B situation, since the sales cycle is longer and buy-in more difficult to achieve. Creating consumer confidence in your business is vital for maintaining the relationship, no matter the stage. A well-thought-out marketing strategy ties together the entire customer experience, beginning to end, rather than focusing on one disjointed tactic. Ultimately, positive experiences are what convert people to loyal customers.
Consider Your Product or Service
This aspect of your plan is about more than what you are selling, but certainly begins there. Marketing strategies are not one size fits all, so understanding your product and how it benefits, or is used by, your customers and identifying the tone and presentation style your company is comfortable putting forward are some of the considerations here. The four Ps of marketing can guide you by giving you starting questions: Product (What are you selling?), Price (What is the price?), Place (Where will you sell the product?), and Promotion (Where will you be promoting the product?). Develop your marketing objectives to align with the answers to these questions to create the foundation for the rest of your plan.
Additionally, studying your competition, observing how they are approaching their audience, and noting their level of success will help you focus your marketing goals and gain a competitive advantage by identifying opportunities and threats that will allow you to differentiate your business from others.
Knowing your target audience is a huge part of marketing success. Digital marketing is all about bringing your customers to you, so knowing where they are, what they are looking for, and what type of advertising gets their attention is essential to pulling them in to investigate and purchase your product. Information like demographics, psychographics, lifestyle traits, and behavior allow you to focus your strategy on a narrower group of buyers instead of a message that goes out to everyone. This knowledge dictates your multi-channel activity plan and guides whether you use SEO and/or paid advertising and what your content strategy will be. Will you advertise on social media or through newsletters? Will videos catch attention, or are infographics what customers are looking for? You don’t want to be the marketing equivalent of wandering Bass Pro Shops while the people you want to talk to are in Sephora.
What Do You Consider Success?
When driving, knowing your destination helps determine your route and sets expectations for the resources you are about to expend and what your timeline is for achieving your efforts. A marketing strategy works similarly and aligns marketing initiatives so they all work toward the common goals identified in the beginning. With clear goals in mind, you can make informed decisions, prioritize investments effectively, measure the ROI of individual tactics, and adapt accordingly.
In summary, a marketing strategy includes:
- Company vision and objectives
- How do you want to be perceived by your audience?
- What are your end goals?
- How do you define success?
- Target audience and personas
- Who are you advertising to and where can they be found?
- Positioning within the marketplace
- Who are your competitors?
- What are they doing, and how do you stand out?
- Multi-channel activity plan
- Generally, it’s best to approach customers in more than one way. Social media, video, infographics, SEO, PPC, newsletters, and email campaigns are some of the possible options to use.
- Timeline for implementation
- Sometimes it is possible to go viral and see a near-instant response, but inbound campaigns generally take some time.
- Setting an appropriate time frame helps everyone involved know what to expect.
Making choices without knowing why is far more likely to lead to failure. Laying out your marketing strategy from the beginning ensures that your subsequent plans are cohesive, effective, and foster long-term success and growth. WiredViews specializes in B2B marketing strategies and is ready to help your company focus your efforts thoughtfully to increase revenue and customer satisfaction. For seasoned guidance and personal attention, reach out today.