08 Jan Why you need a marketing strategy
Here is a question.
What is Marketing?
Here are a few typical responses.
“Marketing is that quirky department, the cutters and pasters, the creatives. The ones with colour textas in their drawers and figurines on their desks. The ‘interesting eye-wear’ people who make ads and run sales promos. Sure, I’d love to do that, it’d be a picnic, but I work for a living.”
“It’s nice to have marketing but we don’t really need it. Our service is the best. Well it’s certainly very good. And that’s what it boils down to. The most successful business will be the one with the best products or it’ll be the cheapest. Right? Marketing is an act of corporate philanthropy to itself. Uh-huh?”
We beg to differ.
Marketing is Everything.
Marketing is the synthesis of the whole organisation’s strategies and processes. Marketing is the entirety of the push to satisfy needs profitably. It’s the discovery, the creation, the distribution and the communication. It’s the place of significance and uncontested territory in the mind of the consumer. It is what makes a bar of soap a statement of animal liberation (the Body Shop) or an expression of luxury and esteem (Imperial Leather).
History is littered with examples of the best products that didn’t win. VHS vs Beta. Macintosh vs IBM. That’s because marketing is a war conducted in the mind of the consumer. It is great to have the best product or service around. But without segmenting, targeting and positioning – at the right price point – a good strategy, consistent communication, it doesn’t matter what you have.
Marketing is the Product, the Price, the Placement (Distribution Channels), the Psychological and emotional bond with the customers. And, of course, the Promotion.
For Services businesses, there are seven Ps. We add People, Processes and Physical Evidence (signs of the quality of the service or evidence of the value exchange).
If we haven’t already made this abundantly clear: Marketing is Everything.
Here are some of the basic elements of a Marketing Strategy
The Basic Elements of a Marketing Strategy
1. Vision and Values
Like all strategic thinkers, we start with the end in mind. This is not a fanciful waste of time. It’s fundamental. It’s very hard to get somewhere if you don’t know where you’re going. That is where the inspiration lies. That’s the engine room for the work ahead. Inspiration drives motivation, commitment, and passion for excellence. What are you good at? What does success look like? Let’s create a vision and put down some numbers. It’s not all about money, so we might take a Balanced Score Card approach.
2. The Situation Analysis
How many players are there in our industry? What are the barriers to entry? What are the political and legislative, economic, environmental, socio-cultural and technological factors at play?
3. The Battlefield
With all of our competitors, where do we sit? Where could we sit? Where is there some unoccupied territory? The battlefield tool allows us to split our customers into specific groups who would benefit from our service or product. Is there a niche we can service? It needs to be large enough to be profitable and small enough to defend. A series of niches?
4. Your Brand Strategy
Your mission in life is to discover your unique strengths and values. Heard that before? Your mission in business should be the same.
While we feel safety in numbers and, as human beings, will even betray the evidence of our senses to go with the majority, our power does not lie in our similarities with others. It lies in what makes us different.
We know that everyone has a set of core strengths combined with personality attributes and values that even six billion other identical twins siblings could never replicate. You truly are one of a kind.
Same goes for your brand. As a small business owner, your brand’s core strength lies is in differentiation. The strength of a strategy lies in all the interlocking activity sets that support this difference.
MVMM uses what we believe is a unique method of consultative brand development. We use new strategic brand management and mix it with Applied Psychology to create a recipe that is very effective.
Our objective is to work with business owners to create their brands as a direct reflection of their core strengths and values. The result of this clarity is authentic work. The rewards are enormous personal satisfaction and competitive advantage. It can be a life changer for some clients and a game changer for their businesses.
5. The Integrated Marketing Campaign (IMC)
This is where all guns are pulled out to project a consistent, compelling message. An IMC has six indistinct areas:
Website, Advertising, Direct Response, Sales Promotion or Personal Selling, Public Relations, Publicity. Social media slots somewhere in there. I slot Influencer marketing as personal selling, social media as public relations, social ads and SEM as advertising.
The core creative idea should span across each of the elements. It also needs to be measurable and provide a good return on investment.
After running, you can test, modify and go again.
As you can see, strategic marketing encompasses more than just promotion, but the entire business. For a small business, the marketing strategy and the company strategy might be the same document.
That, my friend, is why I think you need a marketing strategy. It covers who, what, where, why, for whom, against whom, for how much, how does it feel and how does it sound?
Image by Ed 259 on Unsplash