How to create a successful marketing strategy

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With the increasing amount of products and services available to consumers today, one thing hasn’t changed – you need to stand out from the pack in order to survive. The way you market your business, your product and your brand sets you apart – a successful marketing strategy is vital to a successful sales campaign.

Examine your marketplace
As always your campaign should start with hard facts not perception.  In order to sell a successful product you need to know your market inside and out. Entering a market blindly is dangerous. Research your market; find out what people want from your product or service.

Some questions to consider:
1. Who is your audience?
2. What do they like/dislike?
3. Where are the gaps in the market?
4. What can you offer that no one else does?

The next thing you need to get to know is your competition. Why? Because they have made great and bad choices you can learn from. A competitor analysis will provide you with a clear outline of what has and is yet to be achieved including industry benchmarks and which key messages can differentiate you from the rest.

Set goals and put a clear strategy in place

Set clear objectives and SMART goals
I recommend you have both goals and a strategy and I am a keen advocate of SMART goals – goals that are specific, measureable, achievable, relevant, and timely. Set short and long term objectives that can be clearly measured and are consistent with the vision you see for your business. At the end of your campaign you need to be able to clearly see what has been completed and whether you have got where you were heading.

A successful marketing campaign requires a clear marketing plan that should coincide with the goals of the business. Part of the initial planning is creating a budget. Set a specific budget for the campaign to keep unnecessary spending and overspending to a minimum.

Key messages give clarity
Intertwined with your brand and unique selling points, your key messages are the arrows that shoot in front to define your brand and your business. Your key messages shape your collateral and public presence including website, social media, stationery, case studies, office and media releases. Consumers want to know what it is you are selling, what you stand for, what you can do for them and why they should trust you.

One of the downsides to having such a variety of media to deliver your message is that it is easy to become fragmented. So keep your messages simple and straight to the point.

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Take the good feedback with the bad
Lastly, tracking your marketing campaign results helps determine whether you are on the right track and whether your campaign is delivering its intended message to the right audience. These days, social media makes getting honest, open customer feedback more cost effective so invite honest feedback and be prepared to take the good with the bad.

Some organisations shy away from using social media in case it invites negative backlash, but negative comments on social media offer your business a great opportunity to address and respond on the same online platform and resolve issues. This gains you respect from your online audience and your business has the opportunity to benefit from their suggested improvements.

Challenge convention
So be brave, dare to pursue new markets and be prepared to experiment with new ideas, thoughts and technologies. Step outside your comfort zone and into your customers’ shoes. Marketing is not rocket science but it does take discipline, perseverance, careful strategic thought and an eye for detail. It’s all about finding different ways to engage with your stakeholders.

3 more to read from our marketing expert Sharon Williams:
1. How to keep your clients happy
2. How to create a business strategy
3. Why your business needs to be on social media

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Insider tips on small business success from Steve Baxter

 

Sharon Williams
Sharon Williams is the founder CEO of Taurus Marketing, an integrated marketing, PR, social media agency. She is a Fellow of the PRIA, international speaker, personal brand expert, entrepreneur, mentor, marketer, media commentator and frequent mainstream editorial contributor.

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