You cannot achieve success without a clear strategy. Marketing is not a standalone activity, distinguished from all other aspects of the business. Rather, marketing is a joint effort that involves collaboration across a business, including financial, sales, and technical departments. And without a sound marketing strategy and plan in place, a business risks not reaching its full potential through uncoordinated and disjointed activities.
In basic terms, a marketing strategy analyses all aspects of your business development activity and combines it in a way so that all departments know what is going on. Hence, a marketing strategy is the process that allows the business to focus on available resources and utilise them in the best possible manner to boost sales and gain leverage over competitors.
A marketing strategy helps to create harmony within the organisation by working together to achieve the business objectives. Organisational efficiency improves as everyone is on the same page. The relationship between sales and marketing is critical to the success of the marketing strategy.
No marketing strategy can begin without first determining the business goals. These are the long-term objectives of the organisation, i.e. where it wants to see itself in, let’s say, the next five years.
After putting all of this information together, you should be able to create your marketing plan, laying out specifically how to achieve the short to medium term marketing goals (boosting sales, reaching out to existing customers etc.) and long-term business objectives (ousting competitors, expansion etc.).
Here are three additional benefits of developing a marketing strategy:
- Selling becomes more efficient: Once your marketing strategy is in place, you will know all the necessary details of how best to bring your products/services to your markets.
- Establishes/Enhances brand identity (and personality): No business can survive in the long-term without a solid and competitive brand identity.
- Creating products/services that sell: Marketing is not only about promoting your existing products/services but it is also about developing your future ones too. Marketing is getting to the heart of your clients and understanding their needs. Only then can you demonstrate competitive advantage whereby your products/services are individually designed for each of your clients. This will help solidify your status and position in the market. And with the pace of technology and a changing economy, you will have to reinvent yourself to stay relevant, and this is where marketing strategies play a major role.
The bottom line is that a marketing strategy is necessary if you are to sell the right products/services at the right price to the right people with the right promotion and distribution methods. This also includes market research and analysis of data using tools like PEST (Political, Economic, Social and Technological analysis) and SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats) analysis.
To begin with, you need to be crystal clear on your business objectives, and these should be communicated to all relevant departments. A good marketing strategy is not one where you invest heavily in technology and multimedia (though these are essential components of marketing). Rather, marketing is all about reaching goals.