When you’re in the early stages of building up your business, marketing can seem like a low priority. There’s a tendency to focus all your funding and attention on establishing your premises and equipment, finding suppliers and distributors, and developing your product or service. It’s all too easy to find yourself in a position where you’re ready to sell but there’s nobody there to buy, because nobody knows about you. So what can you do about this?
What is a marketing strategy?
Promoting your company won’t usually get you very far if no one knows what it does. Unless you have a brilliant idea or are lucky enough to catch the Zeitgeist, promoting individual products won’t help much because people won’t understand where they can buy them. Your marketing strategy is about joining the dots; linking each new product to your brand and communicating the essential information that lets customers know how to connect with you. It’s also about developing a brand personality that lets customers know who you are and what you stand for.
Do you really need a marketing strategy?
Piecemeal marketing is a good way to spend a lot of money for little gain. A properly developed marketing strategy will not only be more efficient overall, it will help you to identify which approaches are most successful with your core market, what your customers want you to be, and which of your products they’re most passionate about. A marketing strategy is an evolving thing and you should tinker with it constantly in response to feedback. It will change and grow as you do, and as you get more established you will have the option of adjusting it to reach out to new customer groups.
One company which has been very successful in implementing its marketing strategy is As seen on TV. By providing a simple link between television and the Internet it has established itself as an easy place to purchase highly visibly products instantly, without the tedious process of searching. Connecting with advertisers enables it to boost sales while promoting it as an outlet, and a highly visible online presence, focused around an energetic, consumer-friendly brand, ensures that new customers can find it without difficulty.
Key factors in a successful marketing strategy
If you’re developing a marketing strategy for the first time, it helps to think about it as a series of interconnected factors, though you will need them all to be present in order to be successful. If your strategy hasn’t been working, it may be because one of these key factors is missing.
- Research. You can’t sell anything unless you understand your customers. Who are they? Where do they live? What age groups do they belong to? What hobbies do they have? Information like this will help you to place adverts effectively and communicate with them in a way they find appealing. You may find that you need to tailor your campaign to suit more than one distinct customer group.
- USP. What is your unique selling point? What makes it worth buying from you instead of from your competitors? What’s so amazing about your products or services? You may need to test different approaches to find out what works best. It won’t help you simply to be a better choice – you’ll have to find an effective way of helping people to see that you’re a better choice.
- Understand the competition. It’s vital to be able to anticipate your rivals’ tactics, in order to make sure your brand remains distinctive. Don’t just copy their strategies but try to undercut them with more distinctive, innovative ideas. Time your product launches to avoid clashes and get in first where you can.
- Understand your own brand. To connect with customers you will need a distinctive voice. Today’s customers are not just interested in value for money – they’re in the market for ideas. Everything from the colors in your logo to the language you use sends out a message about whether or not you’re their kind of person. They also care about your ethical values and the way you respond to their queries.
- Choose your tools. Should you use television adverts, billboards, online marketing or something else? If you use social media, which platforms are best? The answers to these questions will depend on your target market and the brand image you want to promote. Don’t spread yourself too thinly – it’s more effective to do a few things well than to struggle to keep up with a lot of things.
Whatever your approach, successful marketing requires patience, dedication and hard work, but a well designed strategy will see your business grow, with each new promotional move building on those that have gone before – paving the way to success.