Stripping away the buzzwords, this guide brings you a clear path to crafting a potent marketing strategy.
Imagine crafting a plan that speaks directly to your audience. Photo courtesy of Adobe Stock.
Many guides on writing a marketing plan are bogged down with flashy terms that might sound smart but are essentially hollow. Here, we lay it out in plain terms for you to grasp and implement.
Why Do You Need a Business Plan?
The crux of a marketing plan? It delineates how a company plans to attract, engage, and keep its target audience over a specific timeframe.
This plan encapsulates knowledge about your audience, the ways you’ll reach out, and the process of conversion. Whether you’re aiming to win over investors with a robust business plan or have a standalone document – your marketing plan is pivotal. Prioritize retaining customers, expanding your reach, and re-engaging those who’ve drifted.
Keep it concise, ensuring everyone on board can grasp it.
Before You Draft Your Marketing Strategy
First, identify your audience. Without proper market research, businesses often stumble. Going solely by the word of those closest to you might not be the best strategy.
Your target market comprises those who see value in what you offer. To sell effectively, know your customers inside out. Selling to everyone is like selling to no one. Tailor your approach.
Engage in Direct Conversations
If possible, undertake fieldwork. Gather firsthand insights on what potential customers think about your offerings and their pricing.
Scope Out the Competition
Study your competitors. Find gaps in their strategies. Is there too much competition, or is there a gap waiting for you to fill? Can you innovate better?
Drafting a Successful Marketing Strategy
At the heart of your strategy lie two key components: your brand proposition and communication plan. Your brand proposition defines your business’s essence, while your communication strategy determines its outreach.
Leverage Your Brand
Building a brand involves defining its raison d’etre. Consider, “Why do we exist?”. If differentiation becomes a challenge, focus on what you’re NOT about. For instance, “We produce cruelty-free, vegan soaps locally, without any animal testing.”
It’s not always about catchy taglines. Reflect on your values in a succinct statement.
As for your target audience, narrow it down. Prioritize if you have multiple groups in mind. Instead of vague categories like “Young moms aged 25-34”, think in terms of values, e.g., “Eco-conscious women who support local businesses.”
To truly understand your audience, sketch out their daily life. Understanding their motivations can guide your communication. What makes your brand special? That’s the essence you need to capture and convey.
The tone is essential. Consistency in your language, mood, and overall message is key. Think of Ben & Jerry’s; despite being owned by a giant like Unilever, they’ve retained their unique, counter-cultural vibe.
A mood board can be a fantastic tool to encapsulate your brand voice and values.
Plan the Communication
The means to broadcast your brand’s proposition comes through your communication strategy. Tailor this based on your audience’s hangouts. Here are some channels to ponder:
- Direct marketing through mailed or hand-delivered promotional materials.
- Online platforms like Instagram or TikTok for younger crowds, and Facebook for an older audience.
- Digital billboards in prime locations, e.g., a two-week campaign in a posh area like Soho might cost around £700.
- B2B entities can benefit from trade exhibitions.
Cost consideration is paramount. Setting a budget cap ensures you don’t overspend. Evaluate the potential ROI for different marketing channels. You can also connect with non-competing businesses in different areas to understand their marketing choices.
Key Takeaways for Your Strategy:
- Highlight your customers’ pain points and your solution’s value.
- Emphasize the immediate need for your solution.
- Convey what differentiates you from the competition.
- Share testimonials or success stories if available.
- Clearly outline costs and payment options.
- Consider early-bird discounts or guarantees to instill confidence.
Setting Goals and Tracking Progress
Clear goals simplify tracking. SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Timely) objectives can be a beacon. Possible metrics could be sales targets, profit milestones, or expected inquiry volumes.
Regularly assess your progress. If you’re falling short, don’t make hasty changes; maybe a small tweak is all you need.
Always revert to your strategy for course correction. Keep your eyes on the prize. This strategy isn’t just a document; it’s a roadmap to your business’s success.
Golden Rules for Drafting a Marketing Strategy:
- Keep it simple and accessible.
- Ground your strategy in real-world research.
- Define your brand and devise a communication plan.
- Budget wisely.
- Set objectives, track, and iterate.