This may come as a shock to many business owners, but developing marketing strategy is not rocket science. Far from it. In fact, creating a marketing strategy for your business is as simple as planning a kid’s party. The thought process is the same even if the key players and environments are completely different.
It’s all a matter of asking the right questions in the right order.
1. Who are we going to invite to the party? – Our target audience
2. What is it going to take to create an offer so irresistible that no one on our target list could possibly refuse to attend? – Our Offer
3. How are we going to make our target audience aware of our unique offer and how to access it? – Our channels
In a nutshell, these are the three critical steps in developing your marketing strategy with all three steps being interrelated and the previous step driving the next.
Each strategic step requires a series of questions to be asked in order to hone a viable and effective marketing strategy.
Strategy Step 1: Who Are We Going To Invite To The Party?
In most cases, we are dealing with limited resources so we are going to have to restrict the number of kids attending our child’s party. We limit the list by inviting only the closest friends and relatives.
In business, we narrow the list by including only the most likely people to be attracted to the kind of offer we have in mind. They are attracted because they have the desire and the means to take up the offer.
This is quite often the most difficult element of marketing strategy because our natural tendency will be to include everyone and leave no one off the list.
However, choose we must, and our final choice becomes our ideal audience, representing our best potential return on investment. Getting your target market correct is the most important step in marketing strategy.
Strategy Step 2: How Do We Create Our Irresistible Offer?
In order to create an offer too good to refuse on behalf of our ideal audience, we need to get inside their heads. In the case of our kid’s party, our desire may be to create a party that all attending, including other parents, will be talking about for months after the event.
To do that, we first need to understand what it is they are currently being offered at other parties, and then up the ante by building on any perceived positives and reducing any negatives. This may include outperforming in areas such as entertainment as well as food and beverages.
In business, the process is similar where we need to understand the needs of our target market, how well they are currently being served and then attempt to fill any gaps or opportunities identified.
The goal is to build a positive point of difference based on the needs of our ideal customer.
In creating the final offer that includes all the features and benefits of our product, including price, it is usually helpful to create a customer persona, a fictitious profile of your ideal customer.
Using a kid’s party scenario, our ideal attendee may be Alana, aged five who has just started school with your daughter, is impeccably well behaved, very popular, eats anything and loves clowns and jumping castles. Her mother is also very well connected on the school committee. Will Alana (and her mother – your secondary target market) love your party?
Strategy Step 3: What Marketing Channels Should We Choose?
When talking about marketing channels, we are usually talking about communication channels and distribution channels.
With communication channels, what media does our ideal customer use when researching or reviewing products like ours? Is it Facebook? YouTube? Instagram? Magazines?
Reaching the right person with the right message using the right medium at the right time is key to successful communication strategy. It will also need follow up messages in order to achieve the desired action.
For example, your hand-written birthday invitation card may fall out of a school backpack, so email messages and even Facebook messages may be required before you receive acceptance. Reach and repetition work hand in hand when communicating to your target audience.
Distribution channel selection is key to getting your product in front of your target audience’s preferred point of purchase. It may be an online medium or a certain type of brick and mortar outlet. The decision is arrived at by understanding the behaviour of your ideal customer.
These are the three simple steps in creating a marketing strategy. The most crucial step involves target market selection. Get that wrong, and the rest won’t matter, because it’s the needs, attitudes and behaviour of your ideal audience that drives all key marketing decisions. And it’s the marketers who are best able to place themselves in the shoes of their ideal customer when creating marketing strategy, that develop the most effective marketing strategies.
If you are ready to get strategic about your marketing plans give Baker Marketing a call on (08) 8352 3091 and speak to someone from our senior strategic marketing team. Or use the button below and complete the form to request a free strategic marketing consultation at Baker Marketing in Adelaide.
Feature image ‘Happy 1st birthday to me’ by Benson Kua via Flickr
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