Marketing is a vital part of your business, whether you’re a multinational corporation like Disney or just starting out from your home office, marketing will drive your growth and maintain your revenues. You’ve probably already had some experience in marketing if you ever ran a lemonade stand as a kid!
In this post, we’ll provide a “starter-kit” for your marketing strategy, including an explanation of what marketing really means as well as some different approaches you can try. We’ll also offer you some marketing frameworks such as the 3 C’s, the S.T.P model and how it fits into the 4 Ps model, and finally a quick look into running a SWOT analysis to find potential strategy ideas.
What is Marketing (and Why Does it Matter)?
So, what exactly is marketing? Marketing is the practice of creating, communicating, and delivering offerings that have value in the eyes of customers, clients, or society as a whole. This just means that marketing's goal is to create something that people want in the form of content, or show people why your product or service offering can make their life better.
Simple enough, so why does marketing matter to your business? Marketing offers several benefits to both existing and potential customers and of course, your business. Here are our top five reasons why marketing should matter to you:
First, strategic marketing helps provide education and information to potential customers and clients. Of course you know what your business does, but do your customers? Marketing is one of the most effective ways to communicate your value proposition to potential clients and customers.
Second, marketing has become very inexpensive thanks to email, social media, and pay-per-click advertising. For your growing business, this means that marketing can help level the playing field in terms of competing with bigger players in your industry, and may even give you the advantage of that “small business charm”.
Third, an excellent marketing strategy creates and sustains relationships between your customers and business. The creation and maintenance of long-lasting, ever-present relationships provides massive value to the longevity and growth of your business. By ensuring that your marketing efforts are engaging and consistent, your customers will become brand ambassadors for your business!
Fourth, and perhaps most obvious, marketing sells! At the end of the day, you probably want to make money through your business, and marketing is essential to ensure that that's possible. You might even have the best product in your industry, but if nobody knows about it, how will you generate sales? The answer is marketing! A good marketing strategy will bring customers to your brand and lead them along their journey to making a purchase.
Finally, marketing is a very important part of the growth strategy of your business. While you may love your current customer base, a well-planned marketing strategy will help to grow this base. Even small efforts like emails and social media posts can add up to bring existing customers back into engagement, and spread your brand to potential customers.
Today, there are a multitude of types of marketing, including the "old-school" physical marketing that influences the target customer with advertisements, billboards, or coupons, to the "new-age" social media marketing, search engine optimization, content marketing, and plain online advertising. Choosing a digital marketing strategy, you can vastly reduce your costs compared to physical marketing.
Since there are so many types of marketing activities, it may be worthwhile to set up a marketing team to come up with a game plan. A good team along with a thoughtful competitive analysis will provide optimized returns from your target customer, chosen marketing channels, and marketing campaigns in general.
Overall, successful marketing strategies are valuable to any business, as they will help educate, engage, and expand your customer base while driving sales and becoming increasingly inexpensive thanks to technology.
Now, we'll look at some of the key frameworks that will provide a great foundation in reaching your business goals through marketing.
Frameworks for Your Marketing Strategy
Also known as the Strategic Triangle, the 3 Cs is a high-level strategic framework that analyzes the Company, the Customers, and the Competitors to obtain and sustain a competitive advantage. The analysis in this model can be performed in any order, but we recommend that you analyze the customers first, then the competitors, and end with your company. This is because you can apply the customers' viewpoint to your value proposition and compare that against the value proposition that your competitors can offer. By performing this analysis, you'll gain a clearer picture of the competitive environment and your position within it. Another great benefit of this framework is that it can reveal just how much influence or strategic power customers have on you and your competitors.
The STP framework is the prelude to the most known marketing framework, and a great basis for starting your market segmentation. To use this framework, you will first break down a potential market into Segments. These Segments are based on shared traits and other commonalities. Next, you take information about these market Segments to determine different methods to reach or Target them. After finding Targeting information, you can move on to Positioning your brand to drive sales. The Positioning step leads directly into our next framework, which will flesh out your marketing strategy.
Probably the best-known marketing framework, the 4 Ps (or Marketing Mix) takes the Positioning step from your S. T. P. framework and expands it into 4 dimensions. The 4 Ps are Price (what the customer pays), Product (or Service offered to the customer), Promotion (the advertising and special offers), and Place (where the offering is marketed). When you consider all four of these factors, your marketing will likely be vastly more successful, and you may be able to position yourself as the leader for your target market. You'll also want to consider your competition as you implement this framework, as they will likely try to counter your efforts with their own.
You've probably heard of or used a SWOT Analysis at some point. You can use this framework to perform a competitive analysis before making a strategic decision. SWOT stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats, and assesses these 4 elements of your company by laying them out over four quadrants. Strengths are internal resources that you can benefit from, Weaknesses are internal areas that you may be lacking in, Opportunities are external circumstances that you can benefit from, and Threats are external, well, threats to your business. To effectively use a SWOT framework, we suggest that you gather a team from a variety of departments in your company and start brainstorming ideas for each quadrant before formulating strategic decisions.
Marketing is an extremely impactful element of your business that is definitely worth investing in and learning about. It'll help you build and maintain relationships with your customers, grow your customer base, and educate potential customers and clients about the benefits of what your business offers.
By putting the four frameworks together, you can start building a comprehensive marketing plan that will help propel your business to the next level, cement it in place as a market leader, or even get the push needed to start seeing real growth!
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Be sure to check out our Business Strategy Frameworks guide!
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