How To Plan a Marketing Strategy

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated September 20, 2022 | Published February 22, 2021

Updated September 20, 2022

Published February 22, 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Marketing strategies affect the overall performance of your business because they are fundamental to attracting new clients. Planning effective marketing strategies that promote your goals can help you understand where your business is doing well and where it can improve. It takes a series of essential steps to develop a marketing strategy that works and fits your business's needs. In this article, we will discuss the critical steps required for launching a successful marketing strategy.

Related: How To Write a Marketing Plan (With Examples)

How to create a successful marketing strategy

A strong marketing strategy is a set of steps taken by an organization to capture public attention to increase sales or brand awareness. The following is a step-by-step guide to creating a successful marketing strategy:

1. Determine business goals

The first step to a sound marketing strategy is to identify your business goals—in doing so, you can develop the marketing strategies needed to reach these goals. Targets vary from one business to another, but examples of business goals can include:

  • Improving community outreach

  • Reducing energy for operation

  • Increasing product awareness

  • Improving shareholder value

  • Increasing in profit

  • Increasing sales percentage

  • Decreasing debt

  • Creating the best value of product for cost

An excellent way of setting goals is by using the SMART method, a well-known acronym in project management:

  • Specific: Be specific in what you want to achieve, such as setting the goal of increasing community outreach.

  • Measurable: Establish tangible measures like more website clicks or social media followers.

  • Achievable: Set objectives that reflect the project's budget and the capabilities of the team.

  • Relevant: Identify targets based on data or other research to help the business reach its goal.

  • Time-bound: Set deadlines for measured goals, such as a six-month period to see a significant increase in website visits.

Related: What Are Business Goals? Definition, How To Set Business Goals and Examples

2. Conduct market research

The goal of market research is to understand why people will buy your product or service. The data you gather can answer questions relating to personal, cultural and societal influences. There are two types of market research:

  • Primary market research: This involves the study of your current customers, such as a post-purchase survey for online shoppers.

  • Secondary market research: This is information that others have gathered about your potential customers, like regional market data from an official business organization.

Market research varies from one business to another, but common areas of research include social media trends, demographics or a particular region or country, market size and potential growth. This type of research can help you create an effective marketing strategy by addressing four pivotal questions:

  • Who are my customers?

  • What are they currently purchasing?

  • Why do they shop for similar products to mine?

  • What will convince them to buy my products?

Related: How To Conduct Market Research

3. Identify your buyer persona

With the help of market research and by answering the former four questions, you can create a buyer persona to help identify your target audience's needs. A buyer persona is a descriptive, fictional figure who represents your target audience. For example, the buyer persona for an affordable make-up brand may be a young woman of moderate income.

When you know the details of your buyer persona, you can identify when, where and how your target audience is buying products. You can also use language and images that appeal to the demographics that your buyer persona represents when creating tailored marketing for this group.

Related: 4 Steps To Build Your Buyer Persona

4. Learn who your competitors are

Knowing your competition is as important as knowing your customers. This is because your competition can teach you how to improve your strategies and what to avoid. When you identify your competition, you can closely examine their products, marketing strategies, prices and supply chains and compare them to your own. This is an excellent way of understanding advantages and areas of improvement for your business.

5. Use the 7 Ps of marketing

The 7 Ps of marketing is a popular theory businesses use to develop competitive marketing strategies. With this model, you can establish marketing goals. The title of this model refers to seven keywords that begin with the letter "P" and help you address the following business areas:

  • Product/service: The first point of this theory addresses the ways you can improve what you're selling by implementing change in branding or quality. This ensures you're delivering the most quality product possible.

  • Place: "Place" addresses anywhere the product appears physically, such as in production or stores, or as an image, such as on a website or in a magazine. Considering place allows you to ensure customers see your product where they're most likely to purchase it or have a positive impression of it.

  • Price: A thorough consideration of price, as well as any attached fees or discounts, allows you to holistically appreciate the item's value from a customer perspective.

  • Promotion: This point reminds you whether you can improve on your selling strategies, including PR and direct marketing.

  • Physical evidence: The fifth point is about providing some tangible proof of purchase, even if it's something as simple as a receipt. This positively reinforces the idea that the customer has made a valuable transaction.

  • People: Here is where you address issues such as company culture and the skills of your employees. They are part of the sales and marketing process, so making sure they are confident and equipped to do their jobs is key.

  • Processes: The last point addresses the ways you deliver the product to your customers and whether your company requires more research and development.

6. Test marketing strategy

Testing your marketing strategies on a small scale before fully launching a new product, service or campaign is an excellent way of getting an idea of how people react to the launch. This way, you can gain valuable data on marketing channels and tweak your marketing ideas before engaging with a wider audience.

If the test results in poor performance, it does not mean that you must give up on your marketing strategy. You can adjust by changing advertising plans or distribution channels.

There are several ways to perform test marketing effectively. You can:

  • Work with a group of customers and ask for direct feedback on your service or product.

  • Perform an internet test, such as publishing ads in just one region of the country.

  • Opt for a regional product release before going for a full release.

  • Conduct a targeted direct marketing program to determine the best advertising strategies.

7. Implement marketing strategy

Once you have gathered enough data and understanding, you can implement your marketing strategy and begin to track its performance. There are occasions where you may need to alter your marketing strategy. For example, you may have to recall a product or counteract the strategy of a new competitor. In these instances, it's good to revisit your initial strategy and consider conducting more research if it will help you adapt to changing market conditions.

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