Planning Your Marketing Strategy
In this lesson, you’re expected to:
– discover the importance of strategy in your marketing plan
– learn about the key elements of a successful marketing strategy
– understand the consumer decision-making process
Developing a marketing strategy is vital for any business. Without one, your efforts to attract customers are likely to be haphazard and inefficient.
The focus of your strategy should be making sure that your products and services meet customer needs and developing long-term and profitable relationships with those customers.
To achieve this, you will need to create a flexible strategy that can respond to changes in customer perceptions and demand. It may also help you identify new markets that you can successfully target.
Purpose of your Marketing Strategy
When developing your marketing strategy, keep in mind that you should be able to identify and communicate the benefits of your business offering to your target market.
Once you have created and implemented your strategy, monitor its effectiveness and make any adjustments required to maintain its success.
Hierarchical levels of strategy
Strategy Formulation typically operates at three levels in an organization:
1) Corporate Level
2) Business Unit Level
3) Functional or Operational Level
Though strategy may be about competing and surviving as a firm, one can argue that products, not corporations, compete – which are developed by business units.
While a corporation must manage its portfolio of businesses to grow and survive, the success of a diversified firm depends upon its ability to manage each of its product lines.
1) Corporate Strategy
This strategy involves:
• the selection of businesses in which the company should compete.
• the development and coordination of that portfolio of businesses.
2) Business Unit Strategy
A strategic business unit may be a division or product line that can be planned independently from the other business units of the firm.
At the business unit level, the strategic issues are less about the coordination of operating units and more about developing and sustaining a competitive advantage for the goods and services that are produced.
3) Operational Strategy
This is the level of the operating divisions and departments. The strategic issues at the functional level are related to business processes and the Value Chain.
Functional units of an organization are involved in higher level strategies by providing input into the business unit level and corporate level strategy.
• Identifying these groups and their needs through market research, and then addressing them more successfully than your competitors, should be the focus of your strategy. You can then create a marketing strategy that makes the most of your strengths and matches them to the needs of the customers you want to target.
• This can be achieved through various forms of advertising, public relations initiatives and other marketing activities by creating an effective “point of sale” strategy if you rely on others to actually sell your products.
When companies base their strategy on differentiation rather than cost, marketing has a huge role.
Example: Procter & Gamble has many brands (Pampers, Ariel, Pantene, Fairy, Pringles, Oral-B, Duracell, Head & Shoulders, Gillette, Febreze etc.)
All P&G brands have tangible (product quality) and intangible(brand value) advantages. Consumers pay more for a higher perceived value.
In simple terms, a value proposition is a statement of how your product or service will benefit your customer. It clearly defines what you will do for your ideal customer and why you’re better than your competitors.
Having a good value proposition is essential to your marketing strategy – it’s the core of your competitive advantage. Your value proposition can convince customers that you’re a better option than competitors but you need to make them understand it.
1) Identify customer benefits
2) Link benefits to value offering
3) Differentiate and position yourself
Enlarged version: http://bit.ly/2mXR3rb
Stage 1: Recognition of Problem or Need
This process starts with the recognition of a particular problem or need that the buyer has that needs to be solved.
Stage 2: Search for Information
This is where buyers begin to search for information about the product or service.
Stage 3: Evaluation of Available Alternatives
The third stage involves the evaluation of the available alternatives whereby the buyer decides upon a set of criteria by which to assess each alternative.
Stage 4: Make Your Choice
The consumer buys or selects a product/service at this stage. Individuals or groups of buyers make the final choice of what to buy and from whom to buy it.
Stage 5: Post-Purchase Evaluation
The process continues even when the product or service is being consumed by the individual or business. So if it doesn’t meet your needs or solve your problem, you can take action to improve the product or service. Your actions at this point might inform other potential buyers who would be keen to hear about your experiences – good or bad.
A successful marketing strategy depends on understanding your customers, what they need and how you can persuade them to buy from you.
There’s no substitute for knowledge. Experience and regular two-way communication will tell you a lot about your customers. But targeted market research will build a more detailed picture of customer segments with similar needs. It will help you understand how to target these people so you’re not wasting time on people who aren’t interested in your offer.
But you’ll also need to understand how your market works – where do your customers find out about your offer, for example? Your strategy should even tell you how you measure up against the competition and what new trends to expect in your market.
A marketing strategy will help you tailor your messages and put the right mix of marketing approaches in place so that you bring your sales and marketing activities together effectively in an effective marketing plan.