The average marketing strategy is messy. It resembles a strand of spaghetti in a bowl of pasta; you can see where it starts, but soon after, it disappears into a tangled pile.
Your marketing strategy should be al dente - that doesn’t mean your marketing should be stodgy! There is a lot to be said for a little planned spontaneity to put your marketing in place, strand by strand.
Strand One: Know yourself
If you know the strengths and weaknesses of your organisation, you can make them your competitive advantage. For example, your organisation might be in an out of the way location. You can make up for this by offering online courses or online products. You’ll become known as the flexible organisation rather than the hard to get to place. Get analysing! List your strengths and your weaknesses and profit from both.
Strand Two: Know your competition
Ask people who have dealt with your competitors their opinions on what they did well, and not so well. How can you improve on this? Check their advertising. What are they saying? What are they promising? Often, it’s the things they don’t say or don’t promise that leave a gap in the market for you to fill.
Strand Three: Know your audience
Get to know your audience, so you can tailor your product range or service to suit. To acquire this information, ask existing clients to fill out a questionnaire, or pick up nuggets of information during an informal chat. Alternatively, it may be a wise investment to employ a market research company. Once you know your market, you’ll also know how to reach them. For example, if your target demographic is in the younger bracket, you may find you reach more people by employing social media such as Facebook or Twitter.
Strand Four: Make a great offer
A great offer is a huge cog in the marketing wheel. You can do all the market research in the world, but without a top offer you don’t give potential customers a reason to contact you. Your offer should be irresistible. Try it out on family and friends. If they shrug their shoulders, it’s back to the drawing board. Some people think an offer has nothing to do with marketing. It couldn’t be further from the truth.
Take every opportunity to promote yourself. Don’t wait for customers to come to you. You should always be advertising in some way, shape or form. TV, radio, website, promotional products or the newspaper. You must always have a presence. People will forget you the second you stop promoting yourself.
Strand Five: Promote yourself...always
Strand Six: Be consistent
Consistency should apply to everything you do. Consistently good products and service will set the standard that fosters return business. If you have a positioning statement, stick with it. The more often people read that statement, the more likely they are to remember it. Logos and branding will make an impression through repetition. Don’t chop and change. Nike know this – the famous Swoosh has been around since 1971!
Strand Seven: Close the dealYour marketing is only as good as your products or service. For all you’ve done in the previous steps, they mean nothing if you don’t come up with the goods. Marketing is not just about getting people through the door. It’s about meeting expectations. It’s about creating return business and positive word of mouth.
Kenneth Branagh would never play Hamlet without reading the script first. Making it up as you go is not a good idea. It’s like that with marketing. You need to do it strand by strand, all in the same direction and all towards a successful end goal.