What every successful marketing strategy needs

Marketing is about increasing your share of the market in a way that makes sense for your customers and your business. Whether that is launching a new product, generating new leads, opening into a new market or creating new opportunities with your current customers. It won’t just happen on its own, there needs to be a strategy. And to give that strategy every chance of success, you need to have a strong framework – which boils down to 8 very simple questions.

Firstly, 4 internal questions:

1. What are we good at? If you own a dental practice, then you might think that what you are good at is dental work. But for a customer, what you are good at is helping them have a beautiful smile, or keeping their teeth and gums healthy, or being gentle and reassuring during appointments. Pinpoint what your company does well, from company and customer perspectives.

2. Can we do this? So if it is a new product, new leads, new market or new opportunities that you are after – will you have the capacity to deliver? Figuring out the logistics is essential before launching into anything!

3. Where do we want to go? Big picture time! What are your aspirations for the business in the long run? You may have already gone into this in your original business plan, but revisiting this point regularly is really helpful for staying on track in your business overall (and for planning marketing strategies!).

4. Will this get us there? Looking at the previous three questions, determine whether this new activity will assist you in where you want to go. It might be a great idea, but if it doesn’t contribute to your company’s overall aims – would your time and money be better spent working on ideas that will assist your current business?

Then 4 external questions:

5. What do customers want? You might be really keen to launch into a new market or a new product, but will your customers want it? This question looks at their needs and wants. If you are a door company, then you might think a scented doormat is a great new product – no one else is doing it, but that could be because no one actually wants it.

6. Will customers value it? Put yourself in your customer’s shoes, this is about what they think and feel. If you’re looking at generating new leads, then you might offer 10% off to new customers – will that be enough to get a new customer in the door? Will it have an impact on current customers? Will it cheapen your brand, or would your customers think you are being flexible to their needs?

7. What is the market like? What’s happening in the external marketplace? If you were bringing out a new flavour of softdrink, you’d want to know how many people drink softdrink, what other drinks are available, what other softdrink flavours are there, is buying softdrink on an incline or decline, why do people enjoy softdrink, why do people buy or not buy softdrink?

8. Will the market support this? If there isn’t a demand for what you want to do, will you be able to create one? As a mechanic, you may start stocking tyres as well – great way to add a new revenue stream. But if there is a tyre place next door, will there really be any business for you to gain from this new initiative?

Planning may not be everyone’s strong point, but the least you can do is for your business is to ask yourself these 8 questions and create a marketing strategy that is going to get you ahead and on the road to where to want to be!

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