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Almost every business conducts some kind of marketing activities (and if not, it definitely should). However, the most important thing is steering in the right direction. Otherwise, you will not meet the target. Moreover, it will be much more difficult to find out where the mistake was made. Therefore, marketing activities should begin with defining the goals and strategies. What is this? How to do it? Read on!
What is a Marketing Strategy?
Every brand, regardless of its size, should have a marketing strategy. It is a document analyzing the business’s current situation, as well as defining the goals of marketing activities and methods to achieve them. It should be quite extensive and indicate the direction of marketing activities. It will serve as a guide for the team coordinating all activities related to marketing.
More specifically, the marketing strategy should include:
- strengths and weaknesses of the business,
- goals the business wants to achieve,
- way of achieving them,
- description of the target group,
- description of the competition, as well as the advantage the business has over the competition,
- costs of marketing activities.
What’s important, a good marketing strategy should not only be applied on an ongoing basis, but also verified and updated in accordance with the latest market realities, technological development, trends, etc. Thanks to this, it can support the business at every stage of its development. It is worth making an effort and creating this document, because its professionalism and comprehensiveness will facilitate the management of the business activities.
Why is a Marketing Strategy Created?
As already mentioned, the strategy sets the direction of the marketing activities. Its main goal should be to define how to conduct communication so that it is:
- better than competitors’ communication,
- tailored to the needs, expectations and characteristics of the target group.
In addition, it is important to define the target itself (it will help to specify the activities).
The marketing strategy is created to avoid acting blindly and incurring unnecessary costs on ads that are unsuccessful and do not bring the expected results.
The marketing strategy brings many benefits, primarily:
- allows you to focus on the possibilities and avoid risk,
- enables the identification of tools that will prove useful in beating the competition,
- allows you to recognize the competitive advantage of your product over other similar products,
- helps to save time and money, setting the direction for creating effective campaigns,
- supports effective communication of the business with customers and partners,
- helps to increase sales and maximize profits.
A well-structured document and its enforcement should directly contribute to increasing sales, acquiring new contacts, gaining new customers and retaining those who have already used the business’s services.
How to Create a Good Marketing Strategy?
Creating a good and complete marketing strategy is certainly not easy. It requires a lot of analysis and reflection, as well as consultations with specialists. The key is to understand your product (what you sell) and the target group (the people who may be interested in your offer). You should look at the business activities objectively, putting yourself in the position of a potential customer, which is not always easy. It is necessary to emphasize what makes your offer unique and better than the offer of the competition.
You need to consider these things:
- what is the purpose of the product or service (e.g. meets specific needs, solves problems, provides unique experiences, etc.),
- how and to what extent the product is better than the competitors’ proposal,
- how it can be useful for a potential client.
It’s also important to define exactly who this potential customer is. If you sell children’s goods, your target will be young parents, if you produce shovels and rakes, you will target garden enthusiasts or perhaps professional gardeners or farmers, if you offer cosmetic treatments, you will be mainly interested in women of a certain age. You always need to know who to target in marketing communication and adjust the form, content and message to the requirements and needs of a given target group.
When it comes to the analysis of the target group, it should be as extensive as possible. It is not enough to generally define who is the potential customer of the business. You should also look at the interests, habits, needs or lifestyle of the target people, as well as the way they communicate. The target group can also be divided into segments based on various criteria (you can choose the one that appears to be the most profitable).
What Is a Marketing Goal?
Once you have done analyzing your offer and the target group, it’s time to define your business marketing goals – namely, what you want to achieve through your marketing activities. You might think that there is nothing easier – probably every business owner wants to achieve the highest possible profit. However, for marketing purposes, it is about specifics. They can be related to different criteria. It is important, however, that they are specified in a precise way so that it is possible to determine whether they have been achieved or not. Marketing goals may refer to:
- increasing sales,
- increasing awareness,
- acquiring a partner or sponsor,
- the number of visits to the website,
- increasing the brand’s reputation (e.g. being perceived as an expert in a given field).
It is also very important to determine the scale of the expected effect and the deadline for achieving it. Marketing goals are not wishes. They must be real, achievable and measurable!
How to Define Marketing Goals?
Still not sure how to define marketing goals for your business? SMART criteria may come in handy. The SMART model is an acronym that has been widely used to set goals. How can it be helpful when it comes to setting marketing goals?
S (Specific) – The point is that the goal should be specific so that real threats or opportunities could be defined. An example would be “getting 1000 new customers” (instead of getting more customers).
M (Measurable) – The target must have an attribute that allows it to be measured or counted and then checked whether the target has been achieved within the required scope. Therefore, most often goals contain numerical data (as in the example above) or percentages.
A (Attainable) – Only work towards goals that are challenging but achievable. “Taking over the world” is not a real goal, but being number 1 in the industry in terms of sales is.
R (Relevant) – Important for a given business and related to the overall operation strategy. The goal should be consistent with the entire marketing strategy, the realities of the industry, the needs of the target group, etc.
T (Time-bound) Time frame should be set for achieving the goals. Only this way will you check whether you have succeeded. By setting a time frame, you will also be more motivated. Otherwise, you will put things off.
In general, marketing goals can be divided into several groups. It is worth setting at least a few tasks from each group. We distinguish mainly:
- strategic goals – aimed at increasing sales, revenues or market share, as well as creating and implementing an action plan for the years to come;
- tactical goals – used individually for each product according to the market situation, e.g. increasing brand awareness, acquiring sales leads, improving customer service quality, increasing the number of returning customers, etc.;
- operational goals – related to the development of a marketing program, these goals are the most specific, for example, to acquire a certain number of customers or sell a specific number of products.
In addition, a division into qualitative and quantitative goals as well as short-term and long-term goals can be distinguished.
Examples of Marketing Goals
In line with the above principles, here are examples of well-defined goals:
- achieving a specific turnover in a specific tax year (or an increase in relation to the previous year expressed as a percentage),
- launching a new product on the market (specifying the deadline),
- acquiring a specific number of new customers,
- acquiring a specific number of returning customers,
- increasing the number of points of sale by a certain number,
- increasing the number of inquiries by a certain value,
- increasing the inflow of foreign orders by a certain value,
- increase in market share by a certain value,
- achieving a specific sales volume,
- improving the quality of customer service by a specific indicator,
- reducing the indicator of abandoned carts in the online store by a certain value,
- increasing the Open Rate of newsletters by a certain number.
Various tools help to measure marketing goals. It is also worth using the Key Performance Indicators (KPI) that allow you to measure the progress of given processes.
What Are Marketing Indicators and Why Should You Measure Them?
KPIs are measures that allow you to evaluate the activities carried out by a given business. Thanks to them, it is possible to check whether the solutions implemented so far bring results. Thus, you can locate and solve problems and modify certain aspects of the strategy to increase its effectiveness. Currently, entrepreneurs have access to many methods of measuring their effectiveness in the field of marketing, which turns out to be extremely helpful. However, you should remember that usually it is not worth monitoring the status of all indicators, because there are simply too many of them and they can cause information chaos. So what should you pay attention to?
- Traffic on the website – more visits, more potential customers. You can also check who the visitors are and where they come from, and thus better adjust the website’s structure and content to their needs.
- Conversion rate – if more traffic does not translate into more orders or inquiries, something is wrong. Perhaps potential customers are not finding what they are looking for or are facing technical problems.
- Proportion of sales leads to customers – if not many of the sales leads become customers, probably there is a problem, e.g. in the area of customer service.
- Cost of acquiring a lead – it is also worth checking how much time and money should be spent on getting a single lead. This may indicate insufficient effectiveness of the activities carried out.
- Revenue from a lead in relation to the source – it is also good to know what revenue each lead brings and be able to compare it with the costs. This indicator will also help you determine which lead source is the most profitable.
- Social media reach and user engagement – this is a good method of checking your brand’s position and influence.
These are just a few examples of important data that allow you to check how the implemented solutions in the field of marketing work and to what extent the goals included in the marketing strategy are being achieved. The premise is simple – set goals and start achieving them by monitoring the progress on an ongoing basis. In practice, however, it is not easy. That is why there are not many really good marketing specialists!