For any startup or fast-growing business that wants to start telling its story, a marketing strategy provides an important roadmap, as well as clear guidelines on what needs to be done.
So, what are the steps that need to be taken to create a marketing strategy?
1. Being clear about your goals and objectives. It means knowing what needs to be achieved, and the benchmarks and metrics to measure progress and success. The goals can range from brand awareness and media coverage to leads and sales.
2. Identify your core customers and target audiences. Who’s going to buy your products? Who are the other people you want to reach such as partners, suppliers, investors, the media or employees?
3. Figure out how your product different or unique. What gives your company and product a competitive edge or a window of opportunity? How to you articulate it?
4. Carry out a competitive analysis. Identify direct competitors; the companies that you’ll battle head-to-head. As important, dig into your indirect competitors – the products people use to solve the problems you’re addressing.
5. Know where your target audiences get information about the kind of products you’re selling. Where do they go to identify, research and learn? How do they behave when they start the sales cycle?
6. Pick the channels where your product story can resonate, and can deliver the most bang for the buck. It could be social media, a blog, white papers or a great Website – whatever the channel, it’s important it deliver value and drive consumers down the sales funnel.
7. Create a tactical implementation plan, including in-depth details about what needs to happen to drive execution.
8. Align your goals and marketing opportunities with your budget and resources. It makes more sense to do a few things well rather than many things in a mediocre way.
9. Create a dashboard to assess how your marketing efforts are performing, and measure on a regular basis to make any adjustments or tactical shifts in direction.
10. Be flexible and agile to account for new opportunities and moves by the competition. It is important to see marketing strategies as being fluid and dynamic as opposed to written in stone.