At the time when you are ahead of your entrepreneurial ventures,then there is a plethora of things that you have to pay heed to. Marketing is one of them topping the list. But the biggest challenge is how should you do it? There are so many options for promoting a business, what to choose? And most importantly, how do we implement it correctly? A coherent marketing strategy helps us here.
Simply put, a marketing operations strategy is an action plan that aims to help grow a business. One of the main mistakes we encounter, is to equate strategy with other concepts such as tactics or ideas. A strategy is broader, spans a more extended period, and generally takes place at a higher level than tactics or ideas such as "promoting business on Facebook" or "let's publish more often on the site for SEO.”
Defining a marketing strategy has several benefits
First of all, it helps us to organize our marketing efforts. It gives us an overview, and so we know what and when to prioritize. Then it helps us see what resources we need. Having planning and directions of action from the beginning, we will be able to identify the possible resources and risks. It also helps us align all the people involved in marketing so that each person knows what to do and what to focus on. Well, I'm not insisting. If you are here, it is clear that you have understood the importance and advantages of this approach. But before going into details on how to create a marketing strategy, we would like to establish a few important things.
The marketing strategy follows the business strategy, not the other way around
As we said above, the purpose of a strategy is to help a business grow. To do that, we have to take into account the business objectives and the more general business strategy. To start with marketing, before you know where the business is going, is like putting the cart before the horses. There is every chance that, in the end, we will realize that we have worked in vain.
The strategy must be at a high level, but it must also help us tactically
The purpose of a marketing operations strategy is to give us direction. As we wrote in another article, if we go into too much detail from the beginning, we will end up with a document that is far too cluttered to be also useful. But a well-defined marketing operations strategy will help us make tactical decisions because we will know where we are going, and it will be easy to filter out all the ideas that come to us through a prism: does this help us achieve our primary goal?
Before you develop your marketing plan, you must have very cleared in mind what is the goal you want to achieve. This is your marketing operations strategy and is directly related to your business goals and objectives. Your marketing operations strategy shows you what to do, including details about how you will do it.
A marketing plan is a marketing tool for any business. In short, it is based on the answers to 10 questions
- Marketing operations strategy: How will the marketing plan help you achieve your business goals?
- Purpose and details of the business: What is the goal you want to achieve, and why?
- Target market: Who are your marketing operations aimed at?
- Competition analysis: Who are your competitors, and what is your position compared to their level?
- The unique idea that characterizes your business: What is authentic about your business?
- Pricing strategy: What are your prices, and why did you set them?
- List of operations: What tasks do you have to perform to achieve your marketing objectives?
- Costs: How will you implement them, and where can you improve?
The mission of your business must answer the questions: What are you trying to do? Why are you doing it? In terms of your marketing plan, the mission of your business is the foundation. Although it may not have a direct role in marketing operations, the business mission is based on objectives and facilitates their achievement.
For example, suppose one of the goals is to expand your brick and cement distribution business on a website. Your marketing strategy for this goal could be to introduce your products in a new segment on the national market. In this case, you could divide your plan into short or long-term objectives, during which time you will choose the marketing slogan specific to your business.
The target market represents the specific audience you want to reach in terms of products and services and the people for whom they are intended. The more details you include when answering questions, the more your marketing plan will build its target clientele.
Marketing analysis helps you identify
- What is the target audience?
- Where can you find them?
- How important is it to your business?
- What are the fears of the customer?
- What are the customer needs?
It will definitely help you create a sketch of the people or businesses you consider as the "ideal buyer persona or consumer." It will help you identify their features, but it will help you customize your marketing slogan.
One of the best ways to research your target market and prepare your own marketing activities is to analyze your competition. You should know who sells products similar to what you sell, mainly if they sell to customers who fit your ideal customer profile. Analyze the competition's product and pay attention to what they are doing right or where they are wrong.
Once you know that you have become a segment of the market competition, you need to identify how you will differentiate yourself from other businesses. How do you differentiate your business, products, and services from the market? What is their uniqueness? Why will target customers purchase them? It may seem a little strange, but a well-crafted sentence can make your business attractive to customers. The slogan brings you closer to the customer, allowing him to try your product, opting for you against the competition.
If you have a traditional business plan, then it means that you have spent a lot of time researching the benefits of your products and services. One of the most critical evaluation factors is how you will work on pricing strategies and how you will implement them in your marketing message. In most cases, you will want to give customers a clear idea of your products' value and the benefits they will receive. A strong slogan is extremely valuable for the business; it is the decisive factor that convinces a customer to purchase your products.
The product promotion plan includes all means of communication between you and the customer. This plan should answer critical questions such as: How will you make your products and services known through the slogan? In short, you must be seen and heard. The plan should contain details about the variety of marketing activities, such as:
- Email Marketing
- Paid Advertising
- Social Media Marketing
- Virtual Events - webinar, workshops etc.
If you do not want to invest too much at the beginning of your promotion plan, you should select between 3 and 5 specific activities to help you execute the marketing strategies you have established in the marketing plan.
You will need a budget to realize what kind of activities you allow yourself to carry out. Unfortunately, most new small businesses have limited budgets when it comes to marketing, so creating a promotion plan is vital, whether or not you have the financial resources.
You can have an annual marketing budget, but it will be necessary to divide it in such a way as to allocate money to changes to the promotion plan; there are high chances to cover the investments when your business has a reasonable profit. Clarifying exactly what you need to do and setting the times when you will do it is an essential part of your marketing plan. This will become the to-do list that will guide you through each of your activities. For example, online marketing can be studied using analytical tools or online tools, while offline marketing methods require a traditional in-depth study.
Here are some more suggestions to help you create a marketing plan for your small business
- Use the marketing plan consistently and for marketing activities.
- Avoid thinking of the marketing plan as a concrete document. It needs to be flexible enough to adapt to changes in your business.
- Don't ignore customers. One of the targets of the marketing strategy should be to retain the customers.
- Don't be distracted by the activities, performances, or failures of the competition. What works in the competition does not mean that it will work in your business.
- Avoid adding too many strategies to your promotion plan. The fewer you have, the easier it will be for you to evaluate the results.
- Be patient. You can't find out overnight if an activity or a marketing strategy will be successful.
- You have to learn from every success and every failure use the right marketing plans to progress.
The cumulative impact of all these steps can result in the building up for a successful marketing plan for your business. If you are looking out for a partner who can help you with marketing operations, we are a connect away.