For decades companies have been creating a marketing strategy plan that seeks competitive advantages from “downstream” activities in manufacturing new products, building product propositions, finding potential markets, improving efficiencies, effective GTM strategy, etc.
These easy-to-copy sources of advantage have been irreparably eroded as the advantage is increasingly found downstream – in the markets.
Why should businesses do more than simply do what they do?
Marketing is an evergreen topic that is constantly changing and a marketer or a business owner needs to adopt it as per market demand. Over the time period marketing platforms have changed drastically and without a strong digital presence, goals can not be achieved.
Many strategies failed due to a lack of vision, roadmap and set a much higher milestone. The marketing approach should start after basic parameters are in place.
As a business owner first you need to plan what your business should be, what is the deficiency in the market that your business will resolve in the long run and how you will scale your business in the long run.
In this phase, you need to focus on the business strategy components rather than thinking of marketing strategy. Then put in marketing effort and define a marketing strategy to launch and establish your company.
Any marketing strategy of a company involves a lot of budgets, before you start doing many things, invest in planning and keeping watch on your competitors. This is the basic part of every marketer who is a part of any company or startup.
In this article, we will cover as much as points that will help you to understand how you can plan your best marketing strategies.
The below infographic shows all steps that need to consider during creating a marketing strategy.
What is a marketing strategy?
Marketing strategy is a set of processes and a long-term sustainability approach for every business. A marketing strategy comprises many broad points that help a business to position its products or services into the market, competitors analysis, brand strategy, promotional strategy, strategic partnership, channels, and approach or tactics.
All of these are supported by the marketing mix, which we called the 4Ps of marketing.
The marketing strategy helps an organization to grow its long-term path. It will help a marketer to create a brand awareness that we call TOMA (top-of-the-mind awareness).
In the present market demand, a strong digital presence can help to stand out the brand within the fiercely competitive market.
A good marketer or a business owner is always looking for a strong digital strategy where constant brand hammering can be planned in comparison with the traditional medium.
After some point of time when you find that brand has created enough buzz on the customer’s mind and the company is getting a fair return out of it and looking for more expansion then plan the traditional medium.
Now at this point, you have the capability to spend more marketing budget than the previous month/year.
In a broad manner, a marketing strategy is a long-term and path-breaking process that helps an organization to achieve its goal in the long run.
What is the difference between a marketing strategy and an approach?
Let’s think hypothetically that you have defined a marketing strategy for the company and now what will be the approach!
Assuming that you have created your business website, social pages, and any digital channels, you need to set separate approaches for every channel that includes separate strategies or tactics to get the best out of it.
The above visual explains how the digital channels are working closely. For example, a Youtube short or Instagram reels can attract your customers where they can find all your USPs (unique selling proposition) in less than a minute.
But, this does not come under your marketing strategy it is the approach or rather tactics that you are using to attract your potential buyers towards your brand. It is a part or component of your overall marketing strategy.
Why is it so important to implement a marketing strategy?
Marketers need to monitor constantly on the marketing checklist which is an integral part of any marketing strategy. A constant approach towards your strategy and best practices can help an organization sustain itself for a longer period of time.
Regular brand marketing strategy and strong competition analysis help a marketer to deliver appropriate products and services to its customer.
Track and analyze customer movement on your platform, that might be your mobile application, website or landing page, social domains, etc.
This will help a marketer to have a constant mechanism to upgrade or provide the best services to its customer. Many times it leads to word-of-mouth publicity about the organization and its products.
Refer to the below infographic where this journey is explained in a graphical manner. Don’t worry, I will explain every topic that gives a clear-cut idea about the importance of a perfect marketing strategy.
Explain your brand value and market offerings
A good brand strategy is the core of your business. Strong brand value building is a task for any marketer. It is the brain of your marketing strategy. Without brand building exercise your other task in the hierarchy will not work properly.
Follow the industry trends and your competitor’s behavior regularly and make your brand stand out in the marketplace. It has to be the data-driven mechanism that will help you to make the best marketing strategies for your brand.
Here is the most iconic brand strategy example of a most trusted brand in India. Pidilite Industry, mother brand – Fevicol.
Pidilite entered the adhesive market which was an existing market at that time and all adhesive brands are manufacturing their product by using animal fat glue. It takes a lot of time and cost to produce adhesive.
The owner observed and identified the problem and addressed those areas where minimizing cost and catering the actual buyers at a minimum cost with a quality product.
For more than 6 decades Pidilite created a profitable brand and positioned its product in the Indian and overseas markets with a 70% market share in this domain, almost a monopoly.
When they position their product with the question you are thinking, they use Ansoff’s Matrix theory and crack this market.
They approached and touched down with the carpenters directly and educated them about Fevicol. They just bypassed the middleman concept where the competition is still working on that module.
They minimized the cost and focused more on the brand-building strategy. They have entered the existing market, researched well and positioned their product, and later do the brand-building exercise by doing several amazing TV commercials that create history.
They have organized a champion’s club concept where every carpenter from several parts of India comes and has quality training by the company trainer with some additional top-ups like Kite festivals and pilgrimages and get the quality interaction with the front liners.
There they found some upgrades that would require them to sustain in the market for a longer period and later they pay more focus on research and development where they introduced three variants later which dominated the adhesive market.
Pidilite is one of those industries that doesn’t offer a credit facility nor any middleman where distribution cost is on the much lower side. Their price point was a bit on the lower side but gradually they have increased product price and this GTM strategy makes them control the price point.
This approach gives investors great confidence and shareholders are making a profit out of it.
Fevicol’s iconic marketing campaigns came in and needless to say, their commercials were the funniest and the most remarkable campaigns of all. I can recollect 10-year-old commercials of Fevicol merely by wearable descriptions and I am sure that even you remember them.
The beauty of these commercials was that they could appeal to every person in India regardless of what their background was and at the same time, they communicated the message of their products.
This is the reason why the brand awareness and the utility value of Fevicol products began spreading through the lens and breadth of the country as a result Fevicol became a recognizable name in tier 2 3 4 cities of India.
Eventually became a market leader and the fact is that the Fevicol brand was so respected that the plywood stores of tier 2 tier 3 cities started keeping Fevicol right at the beginning of the store to attract more buyers.
In the later stage, they diversified many products (M-Seal, Dr. Fixit, etc.), and all created history.
Finding market needs and problems and addressing it
Before going to spend over marketing strategy, find the actual problem and how you can solve those problems by offering your products and services.
Also need to understand the entire buyer’s approach and meet that with a long-term solution. That is one of the main key focus areas of any marketer.
A classic example is during the November 2018 demonetization phase in India. The banking system doesn’t allow us to withdraw more than 2,000/- and that amount is insufficient for anyone.
The Paytm revolution took place and helped millions of Indians to do cashless transactions in every retail outlet. They have heavily invested in Marchants QR mapping to each and every corner of the marketplace and successfully created the cashless payment method.
Before demonetization Paytm added 180 million merchants and after demonetization, the figure jumped to 280 million. 56% growth was observed in the month of November 2018. Alibaba-Softbank invested in Paytm and a 200% increase in download and 10 fold increment in the money was added to the wallet.
They started heavy campaigns all over to support this humongous growth that cashless transactions have seen. After that UPI was introduced and it made life easier for cashless transactions.
To see the big opportunity many other players like PhonePe, BharatPe, etc. introduced later and they have started penetrating into this market.
Here we can observe that Paytm identified this problem and created a huge opportunity and was supported by a strong promotional strategy.
What is all the customer’s pain that you need to figure out?
Any marketing strategy is based on how a marketer highlights its products and services to the end-users.
Not only the highlighting factor but it also communicates how their products or services can ease a customer’s pain. Every customer’s showing interest in any product depends on how it will help in terms of financial, how convenient and after-sales service or post-sales effort that a company will make.
- The financial factor is one of the key factors for every customer. Every customer is looking for a better product at a good price. How much is the price offered by the competitor brand in the market? If your price is cheaper than your competitors then the quality factor will come into the customer’s mind.
The financial factor is one of the sensible factors to serve your customer better. But parallelly it should not be a bad product or fewer features due to low price points, if that happens then automatically you are downgrading your products from your competitors.
- Convenience is another important factor for any customer. Think of Bigbasket (now Blinkit). They have changed the daily commodity market by delivering within 90 mins after an order is placed.
This home delivery of groceries made life much easier for millions of people. Just make the order on the APP and make the payment (from APP or COD) and your requirement will be delivered to your doorstep.
Many players are now into this market and they are all doing successful business with attractive branding and campaigns along with frequent offers.
- Providing a great service whether it is on your web platform or customer experience after buying your product or service enables more traction into the marketplace.
If customers are satisfied with your services then it will help you to grow more in the future as everyone is looking for better service in terms of warranty, maintenance, customer care or helpline support, etc.
For example, the banking system nowadays, any transaction made or if you ever visit or call your banking service provider after your work is done then frequently one SMS or E-mail landed to you asking about how you experienced their services. That way an organization can easily create a good service platform for its customers.
6 ways to address customer’s requirements
We have discussed 3 areas where customers are really concerned. Now to address those 3 critical points I have 6 points to counter these pain points of any customer.
- Think from a customer point of view or I would rather say it is the customer journey path. It gives you a clear-cut idea of where, how the customers came from and what all things that a customer is looking for, what communication a customer recalls during his/her visit on the physical or online store. These all come under your marketing mix checklist and lead to success in your overall marketing strategy.
- Set a proper survey system for your physical or online store. Capture all possible data points for R&D (Research and Development) of your product or services. This can also help your brand marketing strategy more accurately in the future.
- Create a review section just like an e-commerce portal. This is an excellent enabler for any customers who can see your product or services reviews from many existing and happy clients. This is one of your promotional strategies which leads to more businesses for you.
- Always ask your team about your product and services. This will be a great idea to have many ideas within the team. The sales team is your front liner and are direct interactions with the end-users, they are the primary information center for you.
Try to understand the customer’s issue and how you can improve yourself so that you can beat the competition in the market. These are the best feedbacks that help the marketing strategy team to work on that and give results.
- Competition study that you as a marketer can’t stop. A regular market study is one of the key areas for creating your best market strategies. Understand their techniques, marketing mix, and where your competitor lags. You need to focus on the lagging areas and start defining your marketing strategy.
- Start using STP techniques (Segmentation, Targeting, and Positioning) and make your marketing strategy for the company. Divide the marketplace in a distinctive manner and start focusing where you need to focus to attract or generate more revenues for your company.
Understand the market trends and act accordingly
Here your customer cycle path can help you understand the trend and it also helps you analyze your competitors in a far better manner. Use SWOT analysis and start working on your strength, weakness, opportunities, and also understand the threat perception for your business.
This will help you in a longer period and your overall control of your competitors help you to understand the best practices of your competitors. In this way, you can position your product and services in a better way to the consumers. Create categorization of your competition, Identify how they are working on social media and their branding marketing strategy. Finding this information will be very much handy for your day-to-day plan and operation.
Another way of looking at your competition and trend is by focusing on their website. How they are driving traffic to the landing or product page and what funnel they are working to acquire more customers. Target those sources, do proper keyword research as per your niche, and create a full-scale customer experience when they are using your platform.
What you are offering – Value proposition
Getting all steps correctly now is time for offering your value proposition. Identify the TG (Target Group) and start promoting your brand and tell your story and what is that thing that customers will have for your brand.
This can be a word-of-mouth promotion and can be a big discussion inside the customer and competition community.
What we have seen during Reliance Jio was trying to penetrate the internet market and made a hygge storm in the history of the telecommunication business. Many companies suffered losses and many of them were gone forever.
What was Reliance Jio focused on?
That nailed the market with free one-year access for millions of people in India and in between creating an exceptional network to support its 4G technology. Parallelly they launched 4G mobile phones and now they have created an overall ecosystem for any household or a company with their high-speed broadband, TV, Landline, mobile connectivity, and many more.
This way they gained the number one spot in the market in a quick time. Later, Airtel made their product positioning in such a way to give a strong challenge to Jio.
What is a Target Group and how to find the right TG?
In your value proposition section we have talked about the TG, So what is TG, and how it is an important factor for any brand or business?
At this stage, you have to identify your product or service positioning. What tier of your segment you are targeting, what is the emotional connection with the customer, what excellent benefits or services that you are offering, can that be good enough to counter your competition?
These are the questions that you need to understand and plugin. If tier 1 which is the initial tier for your business gives you that confidence and success then gradually work on tier 2 & tier 3 market to gain more share.
Here you will have an understanding of the customer’s mind and that’s the best way to select different marketing channels or promotional tools to get the best out of it.
The below chart shows the customer buying cycle that helps you to create your brand strategy effectively.
Setting the business partners and making the collaboration strategy
In a typical product marketing scenario where a middle man like wholesalers, distributors, retailers are involved then your partners’ selection has to be target-oriented, geographically measured, and based on a healthy ROI structure. A perfect distribution strategy makes this journey possible.
Apart from distribution strategy, reaching out to the customer is the major aspect of any business. So proper collaboration with all the stakeholders in the marketing mix checklist is necessary.
In the modern world customers are majorly from online communities, so targeting these sections need the best online marketing strategy.
Setting up your 3 layers of marketing strategy. Starting with your creative & content, select your best marketing channels and the 3rd one is how much budget allocation is needed to run your marketing channels.
Creative & Content designing –
This is where you need to create a story for your brand. Hire digital marketing experts or do it with freelancers, who can understand your brand and brief. They can now be creating the storytelling for your brand.
Hiring such professionals for your company is sometimes a very cost-effective thing so hire a freelancer consultant who can help you to build your brand in sync with your story.
If you see the campaigns of Fevicol where you can see the best storytelling example that received huge applaud from every industry, they plan their creative and content that sent a perfect message to the carpenter’s mind as well as end-users mind and makes them such a big and monopoly brand in the adhesive industry.
Click on the link to see the Fevicol advertisement where they have perfectly sent the message of how they are the number one brand in this segment.
Selecting the marketing channels –
Selecting the best marketing channels leads to the success of your marketing campaign. Creative and content created, now it is time to showcase to the world. Your marketing mix is influenced by your marketing channel selection.
Think about what channel should be ideal for your brand and which will be the best platform to achieve your desired goal! That you as a marketer need to think upon.
Let’s discuss some digital marketing channels where you can go according to your brand’s needs.
Social Media –
The most powerful tool or marketing channel for every business. Many platforms are available under social media. This is the most vital part of any digital marketing strategy.
Strategically planned social media content can drive heavy organic traffic to your platform and that leads to conversion. Hashtag generation, short videos, catchy content, high eyeball attractable creativity help you to reach your goal.
You can plan lead generation on a social platform and also run a paid advertisement for conversion purposes.
These social platforms can be broken down according to your requirements.
a. Instagram, Facebook, Youtube, Pinterest are mainly used for e-commerce businesses where the conversion ratio is much higher than other platforms.
b. LinkedIn is mainly targeting the business-to-business (B2B) segment Larger content module Quora is one of the best Q&A platforms to drive business.
c. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Youtube can be used for business to consumer (B2C/D2C) and these are all can go with almost every type of business.
Many brands have grown by using social media platforms extensively and strategically. Companies like, TATA 1mg, CRED, BoAt, and many more.
Running Facebook, Instagram, etc. advertisements are very much easy and according to marketing strategy, it can accompany your marketing mix. Targeting (geo, age, gender), Low-cost involvement (compared to traditional medium) makes social media advertising more lucrative for any marketer and it can give you huge satisfactory results.
a. Create powerful content supported with excellent creativity and message.
b. Manage your marketing mix under the funnel.
c. Select the target group as per your product.
d. Link from the website to your social pages.
PPC campaign (Pay-Per-Click) –
This is purely paid advertising where clicks are a matter for conversion. This type of paid campaign can run from Google ads, Banner ads, Big ads, etc. It is a purely paid-per-click concept. Clicks will redirect to your website and from the funnel, your conversion starts happening.
Search your target keywords and start creating your ads. Perfect keywords ensure the maximum number of clicks and that will help you to do more conversion.
As a marketer, your strategy is to look after how you can drive this and monitor it on a daily basis. This is one of the main factors for your marketing mix checklist.
Influencer Marketing –
This is one of the most lucrative channels under your marketing mix strategy. A modern way of reaching your audience is by spending a very lesser amount compared to ROI (Return on Investment).
Data shows that almost 50% of buyers are influenced by some of the influencers and that is an excellent percentage to extract business out of it.
Influencer market projecting $16.42 billion markets in recent year. But selecting your influencer is the most crucial factor for your promotional strategy.
How to choose an Influencer?
a. Need to choose as per your niche.
b. Make short videos and stories for social platforms.
c. A giveaway is a nice option.
d. Competitors analysis.
e. Track real-time data and monitor how things are going.
Email Marketing –
It is another way to attract customers and bring them into your funnel. Though 23% open rate compared to other mediums, this channel helps you to communicate your offer, new launches, customized packages, etc.
How to do Email Marketing?
a. Rich content ensures better CTR (Click Through Rate).
b. Setup campaign funnel.
c. Educate your customers about your products and services.
On numerous occasions, marketers have found this a great tool that can also collaborate with some other channels. This can actually help you to attract customers in many ways.
Push Messaging and Notification –
Push notification is the aftereffect of your EMail marketing campaign. It works on both mobile and desktop platforms. After EMail, a follow-up through push notification can help a buyer to remember your products, services, and offerings. almost 30% CTR definitely helps you to gain a better conversion ratio.
Bulk SMS push –
Lots of companies are working on this channel and it is one of the lowest costs a marketer can have within his/her marketing strategy.
Less than Rs.7K you can send 1 Lakh SMS to promote your services or products. Isn’t it the cheapest option for you?
Automated Messaging –
Automated messaging can help you gain more traction among your potential customers. It is easy to set up and help your EMail marketing push. Almost 90% open rate and more than 50% CTR is a definite choice for any marketer.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Content Marketing –
SEO is much different from other channels under the marketing channel mix. It takes a lot of effort and a time-bound process but later the result will come out in an excellent manner.
Higher SEO manager to do the SEOs for your content. Drive more traffic to your website that helps your conversion.
By doing this method you will grow organically and quality traffic will come and visit your pages.
Best Practices and Tips for SEO and Content Marketing –
a. Search your niche-related keywords. These keywords will help your content to drive huge traffic to your blogs, product pages.
b. Use Google platforms like Google Search Console to get your high traffic-driven keywords.
c. Setup your Google Analytics account to track your website performance. That will give you everything that you want to know.
d. Use a long content method for your blogs and product pages that will maximize your traffic.
e. Prepare structured content for your blogs and cover all topics which customers are looking at on the web. This will help your conversion.
f. Create high-quality backlinks to boost your SEO effort.
g. Top-notch on-page SEO will help your content fast indexing and generate traffic.
The media coverage we call it PR (Public Relation) –
Most powerful and effective medium in your brand marketing strategy. Regular media interactions and small media write-ups will boost your marketing strategy mix. It is considered as a main marketing mix checklist and without this effort, a branding marketing strategy will be incomplete.
You can do it through online reach out or can be done offline also, but it needs your attention to establish your brand.
We have covered almost every marketing channel that comes under the overall marketing strategy for any business.
Now, what will be the marketing budget strategy, and what will be the channel-wise allocation strategy?
It has to be in a much smarter way. You as a marketer choose this and create a budget head very smartly.
a. Your thought process is absolutely spot on.
b. Need to consider the measurable factors
c. Time is another part that influences your budget.
d. Your strategy should be goal-oriented.
e. How many targets that you will take. 100% achievement is what every marketer needs to focus on.
During the budgetary phase, these questions need to be addressed and calculated measures to help you to succeed in your bigger goal.
Outcome and future planning –
This will be the final point for this topic and the most important part in my point of view. You have spent a lot of money and used many channels to achieve your objectives but all these efforts need to be analyzed and find the loopholes (if any).
Before doing this you have done everything and now the time is to understand and need some tweak.
Key points that will be discussed during the performance analysis –
a. Do extensive market research. Higher up an agency and give a solid brief and what you are looking for out of this research that you need to explain to the research team.
b. Do the SWOT Analysis.
c. Understand the customer journey so far.
d. Setup the next level of tactics.
e. Loopholes plugging strategy. There must be certain areas where you lagged and those areas need to be addressed in a faster manner.
Frequently Asked Questions –
Why is marketing strategy important?
It is the backbone of every successful product or service. Marketing strategy is a collective strategy path that creates a brand by utilizing all possible resources that are available inside and outside of the organization. A good and strategically placed marketing strategy helps an organization to achieve its goal.
Which marketing strategy is best?
Identify market opportunities and create your strategy around that market. There is no set of mechanisms that A is the best marketing strategy or B is the best marketing strategy. It is you as a marketer who understand the customer pain point around that you need to create the best possible marketing strategy to achieve the ultimate goal.
How does marketing strategy help in business?
It helps you to grow in your business. A perfect market-oriented marketing strategy makes the marketing channels more effective and this effectiveness can help to achieve the set target of that organization. Without a marketing strategy, no business can survive or rather can’t operate in any market.
Is marketing strategy the same as marketing mix?
Marketing strategy is the overall strategy and marketing mix is mainly about the marketing channels utilization strategy. Basically, how you will finalize the different marketing channels according to your needs, budgeting, and creating many other necessary items like Content creation, Social post, digital ads, PR, etc. all comes under the marketing mix.
Can a webinar be a marketing strategy?
Nowadays this is a major tool to attract potential buyers attraction techniques towards your brand. It is more effective for a startup to showcase your product and services which can resolve customer pain points that are still not addressed by any other brands. This can be a low-cost promotion channel for your brand. So, webinars are a good way to reach out to your customers.
After my long and thorough explanation makes your doubts are clear on how the marketing strategy is so important for any company and within that how many other points are interrelated for defining the marketing strategy. It clarifies each and every point and suggested tips help you as a marketer to understand all areas you need to focus and address. Based on these points you can create your own marketing strategy for your niche.
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