Whether you’re just starting to develop your business plan or your looking to take your company to the next level, you’ll need a marketing strategy. This article outlines the framework you should use to develop marketing strategies. I’ve also included a marketing strategy template at the end to help you get started.
What is a Marketing Strategy?
First things first. Let’s be clear on what we’re talking about when we say “marketing strategy.” There’s a lot of confusion around strategy vs. tactics and marketing strategies vs. marketing plans.
Strategies vs. Tactics
Your strategy is your overall approach. What’s your reason for being, what are you trying to do and how (big picture) are you trying to do it? How are you going to do it, not what are you going to do. So if you want to be the market leader, your strategy may be to dominate the market with a shock and awe campaign that plasters your branding across the country. If you want to grow from $1 mil to $5 mil ARR, your strategy may be to find new markets.
Then your tactics are the things you’ll do to realize your strategy.
Marketing Strategy vs. Marketing Plan
Again, your strategy is your approach. It’s the how you’re going to do it, and the plan is what you’re going to do. Your marketing plan describes the tactics you’ll use to implement your strategy.
Marketing Strategy Process
There are two major steps in the marketing strategy process. First, you have to research your product and the market, then you use that to determine your marketing mix.
The marketing research process involves understanding:
- your (potential) customers
- your competitors
- your product (or service)
What does your ideal customer look like? Consider things like:
- home ownership
- favorite stores
Most importantly, think about what problems they have that you can solve.
What companies offer a similar product or service? What companies offer a different product or service that solves the same problem?
Product or Service
Why should your potential customers choose you over the competition? What’s your unique selling proposition?
Once you’ve done your research, it’s time to determine your marketing mix with a marketing decision-making framework known as the 4 Ps.
- Product. What is your product or service?
- Price. How much will you charge?
- Place. Where will you sell it?
- Promotion. How will you market it?
Here are some of the questions you’ll need to answer:
- What level of quality will you offer?
- What features will be available?
- What are the benefits of your product and its features?
- How will you brand your product (style, design, packaging, etc.)?
- Will you offer any warranties or guarantees?
- Will you accept returns?
- What is the total cost to the customer (including psychological costs)?
- What will the list price be?
- Will you offer discount pricing?
- Will you have special offers?
- How will you make it convenient for potential customers to make a purchase?
- What channels will you use to distribute your product or service?
- Where will you distribute your product or service geographically?
- How will you handle inventory, logistics, and order fulfillment?
- Will you advertise? Where?
- Will you run a PR campaign?
- Will you sell directly to the consumer?
- Will you have sales promotions?
Marketing Strategy Template
If you need a marketing strategy template, I’ve put a basic document together that provides a framework you can use to develop your marketing strategy. You can find it here: Download Template. It covers everything we talked about with some additional questions to guide you.