In my last post, we looked at some big picture goals that provide us with a sense of where we want to be in 5 – 10 years and where our priorities should lie. This formed our Company Vision Timeline, a document that should serve to inspire and motivate as we develop and execute our marketing strategy.
Although this represents a worthwhile start, longer term goals are nothing more than dreams without a strategic marketing blueprint that outlines, at a high level, how these goals are to be achieved. Like a pilot’s flight plan, a marketing strategy highlights the key decisions to be made at the beginning of a journey in order to arrive at your chosen destination.
A pilot uses information such as weather forecasts to make decisions such as the optimal flight paths and altitudes required to reach the desired location safely and on time. A business owner takes research information to make the strategic decisions required to achieve sales and profitability targets. Of course in reality, rarely do things go smoothly or exactly according to plan. External conditions can often blow you off course requiring adjustments to your original plan.
However, without a well-conceived flight plan and tracking measurement system in place, there is no way of knowing whether or not you are on track to achieve your desired destination. At Baker Marketing, we help clients prepare their strategic marketing plans so they can apply a disciplined, focused approach to their marketing, giving them the best possible chance of turning their visionary goals into reality.
In this post I will outline the key elements of a professionally prepared marketing strategy.
- Competitor & Market Review
No strategic marketing plan can commence without some background market information. The purpose of a Competitor and Market Review is to provide important information such as the quality and quantity of competition, market profile data at both trade and consumer level, as well as identifying any gaps or opportunities.
- Segmentation Analysis
Markets can be segmented into groups with unique and shared characteristics. The main purpose of segmenting a market is to start providing a focus for marketing activity. Limited marketing resources should be focussed on the most attractive market segment or segments in order to achieve the best return on investment.
- Target Market Identification
Selecting and defining your primary and secondary target customer groups is the most important strategic marketing decision that you make.
Once the most attractive market segments have been identified it’s time to get the magnifying glass out and really determine which group of consumers or clients represents the primary point of focus. Primary target markets are usually described in demographic and socio economic terms but even greater value can be gained by profiling target markets to include lifestyle characteristics or preferences.
- Needs Analysis
Effective marketing strategy is based on the needs of the primary target market. Understanding those needs, be they practical or emotional in nature, is critical when it comes to making informed marketing decisions.
- Brand Positioning
All the work undertaken to this point leads us to the second most important core element of any strategic marketing plan, our brand positioning definition. In a nutshell, brand positioning involves how we wish to be perceived by our target market, in relation to our competition. Our definition of how we wish our brand to be positioned in the market becomes the driving force behind every marketing decision we are faced with, including product development, pricing, distribution and message creation.
- Market Channel Selection
Market channel selection involves deciding how best to make our brand available to our target market. It can be quite simple in the case of local marketing or quite complex when it comes to export. Brand positioning is a key consideration when determining the best channel selection.
- Sales Partners
Deciding with whom to partner in the selling process is a critical strategic decision and should be based on clearly defined criteria. Getting this decision wrong can cause significant and costly delays in achieving your long term goals.
- Marketing Activities
A calendar of action points covering all of the tactical activities required to effect the strategic plan is where the rubber hits the road, ensuring that the strategic marketing plan is a practical and actionable working document that never gathers dust.
If you would like to talk to us about your strategic marketing plan needs, please contact Baker Marketing on 8352 3091.