Understanding Marketing Strategy and Why You Should Have One

Many of you understand the basic concept of marketing. However, to ensure we are all on the same page, here’s a brief refresher.

Definition of marketing: Marketing is the essential process of effective communicating the value of your product and or service to your target customer base.

The goal is to peak their interest enough, allowing them to take action and buy your product or service. You are really doing an amazing job if your customer then refers another customer.

If you are a business and you don’t believe in the process of marketing, I highly recommend you re-think your overall business strategy. You absolutely need marketing to attract a relevant customer base to sell your product or service and have a real chance at making a profit.

Now that you’ve taken a brief refresher as to what is marketing and the importance, the next step is developing a marketing strategy.

What is a marketing strategy?

A marketing strategy will help your organization to develop the most optimal process, focusing your scarce resources on convertible opportunities.

Your goal with a marketing strategy is to increase the total sales your organization achieves within the target customer base and establishing a competitive advantage that’s sustainable.

When you are developing a marketing strategy, you have to consider the comprehensive marketing goals of your organization. This includes long-term and short-term marketing goals.

You may have to take small bites before you are able to swallow the amount of success you are sure to achieve with an effective strategy. This information will allow you to develop a complete marketing plan. You can’t get anywhere without a solid plan.

Communication as part of a marketing strategy

In order to develop an excellent marketing strategy, you must conduct research within the target market to know exactly how your customer prefers communication.

Remember, marketing is effectively communicating the value of your product or service to the customer. If you don’t have a clear understanding as to how to best communicate with your target customer, your marketing strategy will be ineffective.

What does this mean? Conduct research to determine if your customers need a visual aide, auditory aide, and or things they can touch and feel in order to become connected to your product or service.

For example, I’m auditory. It’s helpful for products and services I’m interested in to have a jingle to their slogan to help me remember to purchase their item.

When I’m in the store, if I walk past an item I need and I can see the product and then recall the jingle, I find myself making a purchase more times than not if I need the product or service at the time.

In your strategy, you may have to develop a combination to meet the needs of your target market. Nonetheless, discover the way your customer needs you to communicate value.

Product mix as part of an effective marketing strategy

It’s critical to ensure your strategy has a keen focus on the product mix that will cause your customer to react. What does this mean?

A product mix will take into consideration the various lines of products offered to the target market. Let’s take it a step further to ensure an understanding is achieved. For example, if you operate an athletic shoe store serving the entire family, what type of products must you offer to ensure you have a profitable product mix?

Athletic shoes are a given. Then to compliment the shoes, you will offer shoe strings. Another relevant offering would be socks and shoe cleaner. It’s important to anticipate the needs of the target consumer. Athletic shoes require certain attire. Therefore, it makes perfect sense to add athletic apparel to your product mix.

Also, consider the type of athletics your target customers are interested in. Perhaps your customers are runners, basketball players, baseball players, and or football players. You must have a mix that is relevant to your target market.

Your product mix must be right. This will ensure you realize maximum profits from your target customer. You must be willing to put in the work as this knowledge will not come without conducting extensive research.

Why is a marketing strategy so important and why do you need one?

Regardless of the size of your organization, you need a marketing strategy. The benefits far outweigh the time and financial investments to be made to create the most effective strategy.

Change in the industry and target consumer needs

Aside from meeting the needs of your target customer with an effective marketing strategy, you will also learn your strengths and weaknesses as the market evolves.

The goal is to develop a sustainable competitive advantage, thus you need to know what you are good at. The marketing strategy should help you stay current with the changing trends of the industry and the necessary strategic adjustments to be made in order to remain connected with your customer.

For example, if you are a business and you have not already implemented social media as part of your overall marketing strategy, you are behind. Technology is ruling the world we live in. Your customers are online and in-touch via social media. You must get connected to stay connected.

Digital marketing is hot! Many businesses are taking advantage of the mobile lifestyle of their target consumer. Digital marketing allows for a business to advertise on mobile devices, tablets, smartphones, digital billboards (these are really cool), and other digital friendly devices.

This is a huge part of internet marketing and is only going to get bigger. This is a must have in your marketing strategy.

Email marketing is another strategy that is continuing to grow. This is a great way to stay connected with your customer on a permission basis. What does this mean? The customers you send your message to each month, specifically requested to stay in touch. These are high probability sales transactions!

Organizational growth

Your marketing strategy should also help to identify areas for business expansion. Every business has the dream of growing. It’s typically identified in their vision statement.

Your marketing strategy will then direct you in the right direction to help reach the potential new customers you will reach as a result of growth. Growth is great and sustainable if you are able to scale your business in a timely and relevant fashion.

As stated before, you may have general knowledge as to the idea and importance of marketing.

You may even have a basic understanding of a marketing strategy. Now, you understand why it’s critical to have one and you have been armed with ideas to get you started.

Internet Marketing Strategies – Where Do I Start?

Finding Your Path Through the Internet Marketing Jungle

Trying to decide how to strategically market your product or service (or yourself) on the internet can be overwhelming. There are a myriad of marketing possibilities to choose from, and more great strategies are being offered almost daily. How can an internet marketer decide on the best strategic marketing plan that works for their business?

There seems to be as many answers for which strategies to use in what situation than there are internet marketing strategies themselves! There are definitely too many strategies for any one marketer to utilize them all. If you have a very large team with access to multiple internet marketing specialists, your marketing strategies can incorporate most available methods. However, most of us do not have access to that kind of resource.

How Do You Choose Your Internet Marketing Strategies?

There are too many internet marketing options to discuss them all in a short article, but there are three general principles that can make a huge difference to your marketing efforts. Following these principles will not just improve the success of your current internet marketing plan, but can help you figure out where to start focusing your efforts in the first place.

Three Principles for Making Appropriate Strategic Marketing Choices

1) Be Capable in your Strategic Marketing

Not all marketers are created equal. We all have a variety of strengths and weaknesses. Unfortunately we tend to focus more on how to fix our weaknesses rather than how to harness our strengths. It is true we should all strive to improve ourselves, but sometimes the time and effort placed on learning the internet marketing strategies we are struggling with would be better placed finding and perfecting strategies that we already have an aptitude for.

When a strategy works well for the majority of marketers it does not necessarily mean it will work well for you. If a particular strategy does not come easily to you, it will take more time and will likely not generate the top quality you need to stand out against your competitors. If you are not adept at something, use a different strategy that you can implement effectively with the unique capabilities you do have, or make the investment to outsource if you have the means to do so.

This does not mean we should not learn new strategies! If you are not constantly learning, you will also not succeed. Make sure you are not perpetually spending more time learning something that is difficult for you than you are taking to actually market your product or service. Some great internet marketing strategies are better left for others who have a better aptitude for them. Their expertise will allow them to do it better than you anyway.

2) Care About your Strategic Marketing

Let’s face it; everything we do in marketing is not fun. It is work, and most definitions of work do not include the word ‘fun’. However…take a second and think about sitting in front of your computer to work on your latest marketing project. If you would rather be sitting in the dentist’s chair getting a couple of teeth pulled, you are spending your time with the wrong strategies. Work can actually be enjoyable. At the very least, you should be able to find a few good strategies that beat getting teeth pulled. There are many strategic marketing choices on the internet. Pick the ones you enjoy and care about.

“But my current marketing strategies are supposed to be the best for my product!” “My upline says this strategy has been working for everyone on the team!” If you hate what you are doing, it will show in your work, just as your passion will shine through when you are doing something you love. It will be difficult to put in extra hours when necessary, you will be more apt to give up prematurely, and you will be unable to do exceptional stand-out work if you hate every minute of it.

Start by learning the marketing strategies you are most interested in, see which ones you like, and master those first. Eventually learn them all so you can find which methodologies you most enjoy and are best at. These will be the marketing strategies that perform the best for you and are more sustainable in the long run.

3) Be Consistent with your Strategic Marketing

For many marketers, the strategy seems to be: ‘Chase the latest and greatest marketing options as soon as they appear.’ They work on something, get mediocre results, then three weeks later when a great new idea comes along, abandon their current efforts and ‘try’ something else. This is not a recipe for sustainable success.

Sometimes the latest hot new marketing trend can work wonders and inject a lot of cash into your business. New ideas should be taken advantage of when appropriate. However, if it’s new it is unproven and may fail. Has it been tested in your niche market? Will it still be working a week from now? If you change your marketing plan more often than you change your socks, you will never get really good at anything. You will be spending as much time learning new things as you do actually marketing your product or service.

Consistency is the key. If your strategic marketing plan is based on solid and proven strategies and you do not give up and start something new every couple weeks, you will become an expert in those strategies. They will get easier, less time consuming, and start running like clockwork to bring you a consistent stream of clients. It is easier and less risky to learn and test new methods when you have a proven and profitable system already in place to fall back on.

Points for Choosing the Right Internet Marketing Strategy

– Develop a good strategic base of internet marketing methods that you enjoy and are capable of implementing effectively.

– Be consistent with these marketing strategies so you become an expert and are profiting from them with minimal effort.

– Try almost everything, including the ‘hot’ new methods that look like they have potential, but don’t abandon the tried and true methods that have already been proven to work.

– If you find new marketing methods that you enjoy and can utilize effectively, add them to your long tern internet marketing strategy and use them consistently until you master them.

Follow these steps, be patient and consistent, and you will succeed in finding your own strategic path through the internet marketing jungle. Happy Marketing!

How To Make Your Marketing Strategy Work

1). Make the purpose clear
37Signals has made the art of simple in software, simple in pricing, simple in use, simple in hiring and the clear purpose the business exists. Take this extract from their stated values “Useful is forever – Bells and whistles wear off, but usefulness never does. We build useful software that does just what you need and nothing you don’t.”

2). Define the Marketing strategy, Work with it and don’t just state it
The first step in bringing your strategy to work is to figure out what it really means to you. Many people would look at 37Signals software maker and discover that their marketing strategy is to develop functional software with low cost and deliver in several versions with a 30-day free trial. A quicker check would show their actual marketing strategy is simplicity in everything.

3). Turn it into a mantra question
So, if you’ve developed a marketing strategy and now realize you can bring it to life by way of a defining characteristic, you might be wondering how to drive it deeper into the organization.

The only way for your real business strategy to flourish is to make it an integral aspect of everything you do. The simplest way to do this is to use it as the leading question for every service, product, staff, customer, marketing decision and process. The questions you must ask are: Does this product inspire? Does this decision keep fun alive? Is this process simple? Does this new hire value community? Is this pricing convenient?

4). Produce strategy scorecards
In addition to creating the key word question, teaching how to think with strategy and using strategy filters for decision making, you have to find ways to keep real strategy working in day to day activities of your business.

One of the best ways to do this is to turn strategy thinking into a game. Create scorecards that reward people for thinking, employing and acting with marketing strategy. If, in the case of a company where entertainment and surprise are the major characteristics of market strategy, bonus points could be awarded for taking action that exceeded a customer’s expectations, or for chairing a meeting that was both fun and productive.

5). Build strategy filters
In order for your marketing strategy to reach full potential, it must be the filter your entire staff uses for their work with each other, advisers, suppliers and clients. It is good to build a process that staff members can use when planning a project or even action step. This simple process lets them to view anything they choose in the light of strategy impact and either change course or know for certain that they are taking real strategy action.

Lots of start-up tries to decide the perfect business strategy to use to market only to discover that the market does not require the model they are about to use. Any business plan for that matter, is little more than a guess and I believe that your best chance for getting that guess right is to build your business model.

This assumes the role a fully developed market actually should play in determining the direction of an organization. The fact is, most people, if they consider marketing strategy at all, stop at a core message, identity elements and perhaps a sales proposition and call it a strategy.

A marketing strategy is how you plan to use the resources available to you to build an ongoing case that your business, products and services are the obvious choice for a narrowly defined ideal customer. If you accept this expanded view of marketing strategy, then I would suggest you answer the following questions in an attempt to measure where your strategy stands today, and where it could go if you understood and integrated it fully as your business model.