12 Steps to Plan Marketing Strategy
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Marketing Strategy: How to Plan Yours in 12 Steps

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Among other things, one necessary ingredient for success in any venture is Strategy. This is because of the important role strategy plays. The question, therefore, is what is Strategy?

According to Wikipedia, a strategy is a general plan to achieve a long-term goal, under conditions of uncertainty.The Oxford dictionary defines Strategy as a plan of action designed to achieve a long-term goal or overall aim.

So from the above, we can conclude that a strategy refers to any plan that is designed to help us reach our desired goal. What does Strategy involve?

When preparing a strategy, we set goals we intend to achieve, we identify actions that can help us arrive at those goals quickly, and then we identify resources that will aid us in achieving our set goals.

What is marketing?

Investopedia defines Marketing as the activities an organization undertakes to promote the buying or selling of theirs product or services. Marketing involves the following activities:

  • Advertising.
  • Selling products.
  • Delivering products to consumers, etc.

For more details on Marketing, visit https://www.investopedia.com/terms/m/marketing.asp.

What is Marketing Strategy?

Managementstudyguide.com defines a marketing strategy as the comprehensive plan formulated by the marketing team of an organization, specifically for achieving their marketing objectives. It provides an outline for achieving marketing objectives and for building a marketing plan. For more details, visithttps://www.managementstudyguide.com/marketing-strategy.htm.

Investopedia describes a marketing strategy as an organization’s overall game plan for reaching prospective customers and turning them into active customers of their products or services. Furthermore, a marketing strategy consists of an organization’s value proposition, key brand messaging, data on target customers, etc. Visit https://www.investopedia.com/terms/m/marketing-strategy.asp, for more details.

Therefore, we can conclude that a marketing strategy is a plan an organization wishes to use in promoting the buying or selling of its products or services.

What is the focus of a marketing strategy?

Regardless of the industry a marketing strategy is made, all marketing strategy tries to answer the following questions:

  • Which persons are our target?

This refers to the persons you are hoping to sell your product or services to. Every marketing strategy has a target population it is directed at convincing to make purchases. This class of persons are regarded as your target population.

  • Where will we reach them?

The focus here is identifying the best place to find your target population. For young people, a great place to find them might be on social media, social gatherings, etc.

  • How can we inspire them to buy from us?

Here, the focus is on how to design your messaging such that your target audience is convinced to purchase your goods or services.

  • How do we measure success?

Finally, after mapping out your target audience, how to reach them, and how to inspire them to patronize your goods or services, you have to identify how to evaluate your strategy.

The importance of having an evaluationmechanism in place cannot be over-emphasized, because it is in the cause of evaluating your strategy that you can measure how successful it has been.

What are the Benefits of a Marketing Strategy?

When you have a well thought out and clearly defined marketing strategy, the following are some of the benefits you will enjoy:

Simplicity: Having a marketing strategy simplifies your marketing process and tasks, as it gives direction to your marketing efforts. Since you and your team understand why each task is to be executed, it makes the whole process simple and more effective.

Focus:Since your team knows exactly what and how to go about their marketing, it helps them stay focused on what counts. It helps you avert the otherwise inevitable distractions that will arise when there is no strategy inplace.

Productive:Have you ever tried to run with a blindfold? Without doubts, you will not be as fast as you could have been, and you may end up hurting yourself.The same is true when you try to run your marketing without a strategy.

Having a marketing strategy helps to keep your marketing efforts productive.

Other benefits of marketing strategy includes the following:

  • Having a well-thought-out marketing strategy helps your organization stand out in the market. It gives your organization an edge over your competition since you will be playing to your strength.
  • It helps to keep every member of the marketing team on the same page, and working towards the same goal. It enhances departmental cooperation.

Having discussed the benefits of a marketing strategy, let us now discuss how to go about building a marketing strategy that rocks.

How to Plan Your Marketing Strategy

To come up with a marketing strategy that wins, follow these steps:

Research (1)

For a strategy to be effective, it has to be based on research data. The same is true for any Marketing Strategy, it has to be based on data to be effective. What is the focus of this research?

Do some research on your customers, know more about them, their spending habits, age distribution, etc. The data gotten from this research will go a long way in helping you design a strategy that wins in the marketplace.

In addition, research your competition, and what they are doing. Truth is, your competitions are constantly making moves to dominate your industry. The least you can do is to know what these moves are and how to use them in your favor. Researching to know as much as you can about your competition providesyou with the data you need todesign a Marketing Strategy that is effective.

Finally, research the present trends in the industry where you operate. Know what the trend is all about, and how it can affect the way your business operates.

The data gotten from this research will put you in pole position to design a Marketing Strategy that works.

Define your Goal

Every Marketing Strategy needs a goal or something it is directed at achieving. As you set to write your marketing strategy, quickly outline the goals you intend to achieve with this marketing strategy.

In addition, as you write your goals, be very specific. For instance, specify the customer retention rates, number of new customers, etc. that you wish to record over that period.

Conduct A SWOT Analysis

SWOT is an acronym that represents Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats. As you plan your Marketing Strategy, it is necessary that you conduct a SWOT analysis, to help you decipher your strength, weaknesses, opportunity, and threat. That will help you know where you need to give more attention to, in order to stay relevant in your industry.

12 Steps to Plan Marketing Strategy

Develop a Competitive Position

A competitive position can be described as thevalue offered by a brand, product, or service that is different from other offerings available in the market. A competitive position defines your niche and gives you aunique position in the market.

As you write out your marketing strategy, ensure to develop a competitive position, as it helps make your marketing efforts more rewarding.

Objectives

Another step to take as you design your marketing strategy is to identify your objectives. Objectives in a marketing strategy identify challenges that your marketing strategy is targeted at resolving. It could be getting more market recognition, increasing market share, etc.

Identify your Target Market

Your target refers to the set of persons in the market that are most likely to patronize your brand. For instance, the target market for an Ice cream company will be young people. This is because they are the set of persons who are most likely to consume it frequently.

As you design your marketing strategy, ensure to identify your target market, as it will go a long way in determining the plan on how to reach them.

Plan your Strategies

Next, clearly define how you intend to establish your competitive position in your industry. It is advised that you are as practical as possible here, to ensure that you come with strategies that work in the real world.

Define Your Tactics

Tactics here refers to a detailed plan on how you are going to achieve the marketing goals you have already set. You can only start designing your tactics after you have done the other points listed above, as they provide a good basis to make a proper plan or tactics.

Set Timelines

For a marketing strategy to be complete, it needs timelines added to the various goals listed. Assign timelines to every goal, and objective outlined in your marketing strategy. You may arrange your timelines in monthly, and quarterlyorder. Adding timelines to your strategyhelps, youknow how well or poorly you are doing.

Get a Budget

 A marketing strategy always depends on a budget to succeed. Here, the focus is to develop a budget that can sustain the marketing strategy, and ensure that it succeeds. As you design a budget for your marketing strategy, ensure to reserve enough resources to fund the programs your marketing strategy details.

Implement Tracking Mechanisms

This simply means to put in place structures that will help youmeasure the activities of your entire marketing process and how successful they have been.It is great to have a beautiful marketing strategy with so many wonderful ideas, but your marketing strategy remains incomplete without a mechanism for tracking performance. Why is this so necessary?

This will help you identify what works and what does not work in your market strategy. With this knowledge, you can go ahead to change things that do not work and improve on those that work.

Set Performance Milestones

Finally, set some performance milestones. What are Performance Milestones?

Performance milestones refer to objectives that the marketing team has agreed must be achieved at a specified time, before the end of the marketing calendar. For instance, a performance milestone may be increasing sales by 20% by the end of the first quarter.

Setting Performance Milestones makes it easier to measure how successful your marketing strategy has been.

Conclusion

The importance of having a Marketing Strategy can never be overemphasized.Having one increases the chances for success in your marketing. That is why you should invest the time and resources it takes to get one.This article will guide me on how to design a marketing strategy that wins in the market.

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