10 Components of a Profitable Marketing Strategy
What’s a marketing strategy
A marketing strategy is your overall long-term plan that helps you sustain a competitive advantage by understanding the needs and wants of your customers. It’s your why, your purpose for the future. And it is in alignment with your business strategy.
The marketing strategy is then implemented through a tactics-based marketing plan. The plan includes the actions you will execute to achieve your marketing goals. (Developing a marketing plan will be covered in my next post.)
This may be the most challenging part of building a marketing strategy. You might be wondering, where do I begin? What should be included? Who needs to participate? Is this a waste of time?
Are you thinking, I’ll build the marketing plan and skip strategy? Stop. Strategy is the only way to drive a results-oriented plan. To help you get started, copy and paste the 10 components below and start writing.
Let the Strategy building begin
Company XXX (fill in the blank) 2020 Marketing Strategy
- Executive Summary
The executive summary defines the high-level purpose of your strategy and provides an easy-to-review outline. (Hint: write this last after you have completed the nine other sections.)
The background provides an overview of your business goals, marketing goals and challenges. This sets the stage for the purpose of the marketing strategy.
- Define your target customer
Include all of your market segments. List the specific vertical markets you plan to target (K-12, HigherEd, in-plant, financial services, health care, etc.) as well as the horizontal or functional areas you serve. Start with the titles of people you plan to target (Customer Care, Marketing Manager, CIO, Chief Vision Officer). Build personas that include what the ideal prospect looks like, how do they act, what do they read, and what are their key pain points that you can resolve.
- Conduct a Situational Analysis
This is a key component to the overall strategy since you are evaluating your company’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (SWOT analysis). Spend time on this part of the strategy, be honest with your evaluation and talk to customers, prospects and to your internal staff. Look at what your competitors are providing. What is their strength vs. your strength? This will help you determine the best approach for your marketing plan.
- Write SMART Goals (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, time-bound)
Determine your marketing goals, again they should align with your business goals. At this time, you may be working through the end of the year planning. Of course, this year is very different than last year. Based on revisiting the changes in business you have made since March, what have you learned that will help you plan for the second half of 2020 and start to think about 2021? Is your business focused on the quarter, is your business cyclical? Some of you should consider how you will get the most out of back to school, or should we say back to remote learning? What does the winter season look like? Will people snowshoe and cross country ski more and snowboard and downhill ski less? What are the opportunities for new verticals, as well as your current verticals and the offerings you provide?
What is the service or deliverable you are offering to each of your segments? What need does it satisfy for your target customer? In what ways is it different from the competition? Is there a defined timeline that you will be the only company offering this service? (Note – the word product was not included in this description.) You are providing a result that your customer needs and that customer can only get this result from you. Include in the section how you intend to deliver on that offering.
- Determine your channels
Most print service providers are selling through your direct sales team and inbound team. Your customer service representatives have a wealth of knowledge and understanding of your customers. Make sure to include this group in the channel section of your strategy. Are you partnering with other PSPs or direct mail organizations? Include all possible channels and strategic partners in the section.
- Determine your resources and set your budget
The best developed strategy will fall short before it begins if you don’t have the people (internal or outsourced) or budget to begin the process of defining the marketing plan. Be realistic.
- What aren’t you going to do?
Including this section in your planning will help you and the company stay focused. Throughout the timeframe of the strategy people will suggest new directions. Avoid wasting time on previous considerations by capturing the reasoning behind why you did not choose a particular direction or offering.
- Communicate the strategy
It’s important that your team of highly skilled employees at all levels are aware of the strategy. Communicate marketing goals and the strategies to achieve the goals to your team. Make sure all departments are on-board (understand their role in supporting the strategy). Better yet, don’t develop the strategy in a bubble. Engage people throughout the process, ask for feedback and ideas to support the marketing strategy and marketing plan. Everyone has a role to contribute.
Good luck and enjoy your newly found focus.
Not sure how to begin your marketing strategy? Is now the time?
Visit my website, KimberlyMeyers.com or call me direct 646.320.8854 for more information. Let’s connect.
Kimberly Meyers is the principal at Kimberly Meyers & Associates, a marketing consulting firm. Kimberly is a Marketing VP for hire. She develops marketing solutions based on strategic assessment of her client’s business, sales and marketing requirements. She lives by the philosophy of ensuring the appropriate message and content is delivered to the target audience – always, focusing on customer needs and satisfaction. Kimberly welcomes your connection at firstname.lastname@example.org.