Before you go to market with a product or service, you need to understand how you fit into the market and then create a strategy and marketing plan that provides long-term planning and the best opportunity for success. There are many aspects and facets of a full marketing plan including marketing philosophy, content strategy, and digital marketing strategy to achieve effective marketing.
Marketing Strategy Philosophy
Your marketing philosophy truly puts the customer first by analyzing the market to understand how your product and company fit into the market. To generate your marketing philosophy, analyze your product concept, production concept, marketing concept, selling concept, and societal marketing concept.
Your product concept should focus on quality and answer a gap in the market or a need from consumers. The product concept encompasses packaging and distribution. Remember that your product has to stand out on the shelves among your competitors so choose packaging that draws attention, but also highlights the key items that make your product unique from the competition. Who and where you distribute your product also has bearing on its success. Snowshoes won’t sell in Florida and beach goods will have limited interest in Missouri. These are obvious distribution factors that would limit where and who you sell through, but your company should analyze all factors including where your customers like to shop and what areas of town are trending for that type of shopping.
The production concept states that sales increase when production increases. To lower the per unit cost of your product, produce more. Because of economies of scale, your per unit cost will be lower. Be sure the distribution is in place before increasing production, however, as having product laying around isn’t beneficial to cost savings. Remember that effective marketing must have a strategy for distribution. So don’t just start offering your product at any and all stores that will accept it.
Now that you have a product and production concept for your company, you can look at the marketing concept. You must choose a demographic to target. You should know who your customers are based on age, geography, needs, family, and more. The more you know, the easier it will be to market your product to that group. You can create an entire persona of who your customer is as far as how they use your product, why they use your product, and what new ways you could help them use your product.
Next, you must analyze your sales concept. Where and how you sell your product will affect your company’s success. Making partnerships with local markets in a strategic footprint can ensure that your sales concept leads to success. Put yourself in the customer’s shoes and think through the purchasing process. Is it easy? Would you enjoy the process? Does the process match your target demographic for the product? Are you reaching your customers in unique ways across multiple platforms?
Finally, you need to understand your product’s role in society by analyzing your societal marketing concept. Your product or service should improve the well-being of your customers and society. This goes hand-in-hand with corporate social responsibility and sustainability. Be sure that you are considering these items as you define your overall marketing philosophy. Partnering with causes your audience cares about could help you sell more product. TOMS shoes is an example of this. TOMS provides shoes for underprivileged individuals when you make a purchase, making the consumer feel better about the price they are paying for the return on the community that they receive. The impact matches their business.
Creating a solid, well-thought-out plan for your marketing will ensure consistent messaging and a great experience for your customers. Your marketing plan should include five key areas to ensure effective marketing.
1. Situational Analysis
The situational analysis goes in-depth to understand internal and external elements that have an impact on your organization. You should look at your internal strengths and weaknesses including your culture, staff, image, and brand awareness. Externally, you must understand your threats as well as your opportunities. Threats can come from changes in the marketplace or technology advances. Understanding and staying ahead of these changes can turn these into opportunities.
To succeed in marketing, you must know who your audience is. If you’re already established, you can look at your current audience to analyze who your product is already resonating with. If you’re not established, you can analyze your competitor’s audience to understand who might like or benefit from your products. Once you know who they are, understand the psychographics and demographics that motivate your audience.
Now you must choose how you’ll measure the success of the marketing plan. Your goals will dictate how you execute your plan and define what you want to get out of the effort. By setting clear goals, you can evaluate the marketing plan long term and make adjustments as needed to achieve these goals.
4. Marketing Strategies and Tactics
The next step is to develop how to achieve the goals you set forth. These strategies could include your content and digital strategies, which will be discussed below. This could also include television, radio, and print advertising.
Your budget should include the obvious aspects of ad spend, campaign development, social media management, design services, content, and oversight. These factors could be in the form of salaries for staff or freelancers to create the creative collateral for the campaigns set forth in your plan.
Your content strategy should provide useful content for your customers. Content strategy differs from marketing strategy as it focuses more on information your customers need than to solely close sales like marketing does.
Your content strategy provides your roadmap for how and why you will manage and create content. A full content strategy looks at all content your customers encounter from your social media (which is ever-changing) to your website (which is more static).
To start, you must answer the question of why you’re doing this and what need or purpose does it serve your audience. Analyze who you want your company to be in a couple years and use your content strategy to enforce those goals.
Just as you did in your marketing plan, you’ll now define your audience. This definition may go deeper than your marketing plan. Understanding what forms of content your audience is already viewing can help dictate your content strategy. This may mean looking at your website analytics to see how you’re appearing in search engine results and what keywords are driving the most traffic to your website.
If there are other key sites that your audience visits, take a look at the content those sites offer to understand what value your audience is taking from these sites. Listen to your audience. They’re telling you the types of content that resonates with them, you just have to listen. Your social media can be a great place to test different types of content. Test more visuals, bullet points, pictures, and all different types of content and watch how many clicks and interactions you get from these sorts of posts. Analyze the topic, length, tone, and relevance of the content to better understand what’s working.
Digital marketing has empowered many organizations to reach their customers in new and innovative ways with smaller budgets than televisions and traditional marketing. However, digital marketing still needs to be strategic marketing to be effective because, while less expensive in investment at times, it can be more time intensive.
Like any type of marketing, digital marketing must have a goal. Let’s use Facebook for example. It may sound counterintuitive but your goal for effective marketing on Facebook may have nothing to do with selling your product. Facebook provides an opportunity for two-way interaction so your goal could be to reach 4 percent engagement on your posts to showcase that your customers are actually connecting with your brand.
If you’re a heavy B2B company though, your LinkedIn strategy might include more of a sales funnel. Move your customers through from awareness to interest to desire and then action by varying your content types.
Digital marketing strategy is much more than social media though. For e-commerce companies, effective marketing might come in the form of a mobile phone app, a program for Alexa, or employing the internet of things with products that reorder themselves when running low. All facets of digital marketing should be looked at as a whole integrated plan that builds a relationship between you and your customers and ultimately drives sales.
Search engine optimization and keyword research should also be a part of your digital marketing strategy. New customers can stumble upon your product or service when searching for answers to their problems. You must first know what need your product fulfills to start weaving these keywords throughout your digital marketing strategy to begin owning a part of the internet market share for those words. There are many tools that can assist you in understanding your keywords and helping you research new keywords that are not yet being targeted heavily in your industry. Google Search Console is a free tool that can help you formulate your search engine optimization and keyword strategy.
Now that you understand the many components of effective marketing, you can evaluate what your best marketing strategies are. Some marketing campaigns fall flat, while others go viral. The difference in results is whether or not you’re connecting with your audience.
April the giraffe’s Facebook Live campaign was simple. It took tools already available to Animal Adventure Park and used them to capture a worldwide audience. The characteristics that made the strategy a great marketing strategy can be employed no matter the industry or platform you’re using to engage your followers.
It was real. Watching April captivated the world because it was so authentic and showcased real life. Users could see at any time of day what the animal was up to.
It was interactive. Users could comment on the Facebook and tag their friends to share the information to a broader audience. It started conversations for Animal Adventure Park before it even opened its doors.
It capitalized on fear of missing out. Users checked in regularly to the feed because they didn’t want to miss out on seeing the baby giraffe born right when it happened. The larger the audience grew, the more people were worried they might not able to say they were watching when the baby was born. April the giraffe became a household name that became the subject of dinner parties and water cooler conversations that drove viewership.
It was worth sharing. In the era of fake news and tragedy, Animal Adventure Park provided happy news that was worth sharing. That’s what made Animal Adventure Park’s live Facebook feed effective marketing. People enjoy sharing good news and unique news, and April the giraffe’s campaign capitalized on both of those.
Strategic marketing is a crucial factor in a company’s success. You could end up spending tons of money on marketing campaigns and see no results if you lack strategy. That’s why the many plans and strategies explained throughout this blog are so important to think about. Strategic marketing is crucial for the following reasons:
1. It proves there is a market for your product or service.
Taking the time to plan and evaluate how you fit into the marketplace provides you with the crucial knowledge that there actually is an audience and a need for your product or service.
2. It helps create stronger pricing strategies.
If you know your competitors and how you fit into the market with your consumers, your pricing strategies are more based off fact than guesses. Creating a marketing plan forces you to really analyze all outside factors that could affect the success of your business so that you can take your product to market with the best chance of success.
3. Consistent messaging
By creating a content strategy, you guarantee consistent messaging. From product packaging to social media interaction, your audience is receiving consistent messaging that truly tells the story of your company well and provides comfort that your brand promise will remain the same over time as customers look to return again and again.
4. Targeted results
By setting forth a plan, you now have items to focus on and results to achieve. This means you aren’t choosing ad campaigns or digital partnerships on the fly and stay honed into programs and campaigns that deliver results for your company. You know where and how to spend your marketing dollars and have set goals for what you expect to achieve with those dollars.