Strategy is a word that is bandied about a lot, especially by marketing consultants like me. I don’t like to use a lot of lingo, but it’s hard to get away from this word. Marketing strategy is at the core of any good business and it is what will determine its success or failure.

According to my beat up old Oxford Dictionary, the definition for strategy is :

  1. The art of war
  2. A plan of action or policy in business or politics

A marketing strategy is the big picture plan that informs the tactics that are going to be used to achieve it.

Marketing Strategy is broken into three parts:

  1. Market Research
  2. Positioning and Targeting
  3. Objectives and Tactics

Step One in Marketing Strategy development: Market Research

Finding out how the land lays. What are the market segments for our product or service? How much is each worth? Who is serving each of the market segments and how?

Use a research agency, get information from a government or industry body, do online searches or just talk to as many people as you can – however you can do it, find out all you can about your marketplace.

Step Two in Marketing Strategy development: Brand Positioning and Targeting Your Audience

Make a decision on which market segment you are going to go for. Even though you may feel that “anyone” can be your customer, you need to choose one type of customer to focus on. Targeting anyone and everyone results in bland marketing that does not cut through.

Decide what your brand is going to stand for in the marketplace, versus your competition. This needs to be stuck to throughout all of your marketing. For example, if it’s quality, then you better deliver quality – quality design in your ads, quality in your packaging, on your website – at every touchpoint.

Step Three in Marketing Strategy development: Setting Objectives and Choosing Tactics

Use a marketing funnel to decide where your resources should be focused. Make objectives SMART – specific, measured, achievable, realistic, time-bound.

Tactics need to be considered from the point of view of achieving the objectives and in relation to the target audience. Think about where your customer is, what they read, listen to, engage in. Integrated marketing can be many times more impactful than single-channel campaigns. Your tactics should address both long (brand building) and short (sales stimulation) objectives.

Set your marketing budget

Develop the habit of creating a budget – based on what your objectives are and what it will take to reach them (zero based budgeting) – and updating it throughout the year.

If you’d like some help in developing your marketing strategy, email me – I’d be happy to guide you.

Paula Ronan Marketing Consultant Wexford Ireland
Paula Ronan, marketing consultant, based in Wexford and serving people across Ireland and the UK