There is no one universal definition of what a ‘marketing strategy’ is, but if you were to boil it down, you could say that it is a plan of action designed to promote and sell a product or service.
As a marketer, it is imperative that you have defined your marketing strategy before you go on to select your executional tactics, as it is a combination of both of these elements that will enable you to achieve your business goals.
To help crystallise your strategy, there are essentially three fundamental questions that need to be answered:
- Who is the target customer?
- What are we trying to achieve in respect to the target customer(s)?
- How are we going to get the target customer(s) to do what we want them to do?
The answer to the first of these questions – i.e. the target segment(s) that you are going after - should have been established through in-depth market research and subsequent segmentation of the market.
The answer to the third question will have been or will need to be articulated through the “positioning” of the product or service, i.e. the mental position of the product or service in the mind of the target customer(s). Put another way, what thought would you like the target customer to have that would encourage them to buy your product or service?
So that just leaves the second question and the answer to this is whatever you define as your objective(s) for the target segment(s) or customer(s).
To help get to the answer for the “What?” question, and therefore define the objectives, it is important to understand the “purchase funnel” (whatever it looks like for your business) and where the biggest conversions challenges are from one stage to the next:
Once you have identified what the key issues to be addressed are and where you need to focus your efforts and your (limited) resources to illicit the biggest impact, you can then define your marketing objectives, ideally using the SMART framework:
So, as an example, you may decide that your primary objective is to:
- Increase spontaneous awareness in the “convenience driven consumer” segment from 34% to 60% by September 2020
This objective is SMART as it ticks off all the elements:
- Specific - in terms of what the goal is (spontaneous awareness) and who this is relevant for (the named segment)
- Measurable – as it states the initial benchmark and the stated goal, both using the same metric
- Ambitious - with regards to the challenging and audacious nature of the goal
- Realistic – whilst the goal is audacious, it is also realistic and achievable
- Time-bound – there is a clear time frame defining when the goal needs to be met by
Having defined the marketing objective, it is now time to start thinking about the tactics that could be used to achieve the objectives and who is best placed to help you make the right choices. If advertising, including advertising on TV, is one of the potential solutions, then you need to speak to an agency partner or a media owner / broadcaster…