It’s surprising how many time businesses in 2016 fail to bring together the correct components to build a comprehensive marketing strategy. The world today is still full of companies that build and fall in love with magical technologies without giving enough thought to how they will bring those technologies to customers. Similarly, there are still too many companies out there that see marketing as a potentially dispensable part of their business strategy to be added on only after the rest is done and dusted. So, what can you do to build the kind of marketing strategy needed to get your business to the top?
Bottom up research
The bottom line is, to be successful you cannot use the old philosophy, “if you build it they will come”, and in fact, marketing always needs to come first and foremost. The best businesses begin with bottom-up research (Professor Danny Warshay of Brown & Yale has a whole bunch of amazing talks on this). This means starting with your customers and really working to listen and understand their needs. This research is the number 1 step of any good marketers toolkit because you cannot proceed further without a base of knowledge and understanding. As well researching and speaking to your potential customers and understanding their behaviors, it is important to get a clear understanding of the industry you are entering, the current solutions and your competition.
Set reasonable goals
Are you psyched up after doing some wonderful research, have you built an in-depth understanding of your user base? Are you ready to charge into some marketing? Hold on just a second; it is time to step back and set some realistic goals. What are you actually aiming towards? What is a conservative estimate? What’s an optimistic estimate? It’s ok if you don’t meet each of your goals word for word in exactly the timeline you’ve set out, but it is important to have something to reach towards.
Find the right marketing mix
Once you have your research and goals in place, it is important to find the right marketing mix for your business. Sadly there are no simple answers here, so it is really a question of finding the tailor-made solution that works best for you. It might be that content campaigns are your best friend, or perhaps advertising banners on specific websites are the only real way to engage your target audience. Then again, maybe a few key strategic partners can get you more bang for your buck. There is probably no single channel that will meet all your goals, so the real question here is how to strike the right balance. Part of this will come through intuition and logic, but part will likely have some element of a trial and error.
Your customers and your industry will change over time. New competitors will enter the market and old ones will pivot or disappear. There are no static processes. You will need to keep your eye on the constant state of flux and quite possibly redo parts of your research or change your overall goals. At a certain point, you tried and tested marketing mix may no longer work as new technologies and ideas hit the market. In order to stay on top of things, you will need to stay agile and keep a close eye on industry changes. And don’t be afraid to try new tools and new technologies.
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