How to Create a Marketing Strategy: 9 Steps to Success

Strategy Business Marketing Insights
Creating a marketing strategy is crucial for any business aiming to achieve its goals and thrive in a competitive market. A well-crafted strategy helps align your marketing efforts with your business objectives, ensuring that your resources are effectively utilised to reach your target audience. In this guide, we'll walk you through the core principles for developing a marketing strategy. Whether you're a seasoned marketing consultant or a business owner looking to develop your own marketing strategy template, this guide will provide valuable insights.

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Creating a marketing strategy is crucial for any business aiming to achieve its goals and thrive in a competitive market. A well-crafted strategy helps align your marketing efforts with your business objectives, ensuring that your resources are effectively utilised to reach your target audience. In this guide, we’ll walk you through the core principles for developing a marketing strategy. Whether you’re a seasoned marketing consultant or a business owner looking to develop your own marketing strategy template, this guide will provide valuable insights.

Identify the Objective or Aspiration

Defining Clear Goals

The first step in creating a marketing strategy is to identify your objectives or aspirations. These goals should be specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART). Clear objectives provide direction and a benchmark for measuring success. For example, your goal might be to increase brand awareness by 20% within the next year or to generate 50% more leads in the next quarter.

Understanding, and knowing how to create, SMART goals is critical to strategic thinking. To learn more about designing SMART goals, check out this video by the Khan Academy: How to write a SMART goal.

Aligning Objectives with Business Vision

It’s essential to ensure that your marketing objectives align with your overall business vision. This alignment helps maintain consistency across all business activities and reinforces your brand’s identity. When your marketing goals are in sync with your business vision, every marketing effort contributes to the larger picture of business success.

An example of incongruent business and marketing objectives is below:

Business Objective: Stabilise revenue through improved operational efficiency.

Marketing Objective: Increase leads month-on-month by 25% for 6 months.

Why are these objectives incongruent? A significant increase in leads over a 6 month period is going to require additional sales resources, and increase pressure on product or service delivery. While these objectives could be achieved simultaneously, the marketing objective is not going to assist the business objective of stabilising revenue through improved operational efficiency.

By strategically mapping, a marketing strategy would recommend a new marketing objective of “enhance client satisfaction by 15%, and decrease churn by 10%”. This doesn’t mean that a marketing strategy does not aim to deliver leads, rather, the priority of the strategy is a focus on keeping clients, increasing average transaction value (ATV), and growing lifetime total value (LTV).

Assess Capabilities

Evaluating Internal Resources

Before diving into strategy development, assess your current capabilities. This includes evaluating your team’s skills, your technological infrastructure, and your budget. Understanding your resources helps you plan realistically and leverage your strengths effectively. Conducting a SWOT analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) can be particularly useful here.

Understanding Strengths and Weaknesses

Identifying your strengths and weaknesses allows you to focus on areas where you can excel and address any gaps that might hinder your progress. For instance, if your team excels in content creation but lacks expertise in SEO, you might consider hiring a marketing consultant to bolster this area.

If you’re struggling to assess capabilities, ask the question, “what does it look like if we achieve our objective?”. Reverse engineering your objective is an effective way of identifying gaps in capabilities.

Build Your Segments

Market Segmentation Basics

Market segmentation involves dividing your broader market into smaller, more manageable segments based on shared characteristics. This process helps you tailor your marketing efforts to meet the specific needs and preferences of different customer groups. Common segmentation criteria include demographics, psychographics, geographic location, and behavior.

Market Segmentation

Identifying Key Customer Segments

Once you’ve segmented your market, identify the key segments that align with your business objectives. Focus on segments that offer the most potential for growth and profitability. Understanding these segments deeply will enable you to create targeted and effective marketing campaigns.

Research and Create Persona

Importance of Customer Personas

Customer personas are detailed profiles that represent your ideal customers. They help you understand your audience on a deeper level, guiding your marketing efforts to address their specific needs, behaviors, and preferences. Effective personas are based on thorough research and real data.

A customer persona example

Steps to Develop Detailed Personas

  1. Conduct Research: Gather data through surveys, interviews, and market research.
  2. Identify Common Traits: Look for patterns and common characteristics among your customers.
  3. Create Detailed Profiles: Develop personas that include demographic information, goals, challenges, and buying behaviors.
  4. Use Real Quotes: Incorporate actual quotes from customers to add authenticity.

For more details on creating personas, read our article ‘How to Create an Accurate Customer Persona‘.

Analyse the Market

Market Research

Conducting Market Research

Market research is essential to understand the environment in which your business operates. This research includes analyzing market trends, customer preferences, and industry dynamics. Tools such as surveys, focus groups, and online analytics can provide valuable insights.

Competitor Analysis Techniques

Analyzing your competitors helps you identify their strengths and weaknesses, uncover market gaps, and benchmark your performance. Use tools like SWOT analysis, competitor matrix, and market share analysis to gain a comprehensive understanding of your competitive landscape.

Competitor Matrix

Systemise the Customer Journey

Mapping Out Customer Touchpoints

Mapping out the customer journey involves identifying all the touchpoints where customers interact with your brand. This could include online channels, physical stores, customer service, and post-purchase support. Understanding these touchpoints helps you create a seamless and positive customer experience.

Understanding the Customer Experience

Delve into the emotions and experiences customers have at each touchpoint. This understanding allows you to enhance their journey, ensuring satisfaction and loyalty. Tools like customer journey mapping and experience mapping can be incredibly helpful in visualizing and improving the customer experience.

Decide on Communication Channels, Messaging, and Process

Selecting the Right Channels

Choosing the right communication channels is vital for reaching your target audience effectively. Consider where your audience spends their time and tailor your strategy accordingly. Common channels include social media, email marketing, content marketing, and paid advertising.

Crafting Effective Messaging

Your messaging should resonate with your audience and convey your brand’s value proposition clearly. Use language and visuals that appeal to your target segments and address their needs and pain points. Consistency in messaging across all channels is crucial for building brand recognition.

Establishing a Communication Process

Develop a structured process for how and when you communicate with your audience. This includes creating a content calendar, scheduling posts, and setting up automated email campaigns. A well-organized process ensures timely and relevant communication, enhancing engagement and conversions.

Create a Plan to Implement

Developing a Marketing Plan

Your marketing plan should outline the strategies and tactics you’ll use to achieve your objectives. Include detailed action steps, assign responsibilities, and allocate resources. A comprehensive plan serves as a roadmap, guiding your team through the implementation process.

Setting Timelines and Milestones

Establish clear timelines and milestones to track progress and keep your team accountable. Break down larger goals into smaller, manageable tasks, and set deadlines for each. Regularly review these milestones to ensure you’re on track and adjust as necessary.

Assessment and Iteration of Marketing Activity

Measuring Success and Performance

Regularly assess the performance of your marketing activities to understand what’s working and what isn’t. Use key performance indicators (KPIs) such as conversion rates, website traffic, and social media engagement to measure success. Tools like Google Analytics and social media analytics platforms can provide detailed insights.

KPIs are important

Iterating and Optimizing the Strategy

Marketing is an ongoing process that requires continuous improvement. Use the insights gained from your assessments to iterate and optimize your strategy. This could involve tweaking your messaging, exploring new channels, or reallocating your budget to more effective tactics. Regular iteration ensures your marketing strategy remains relevant and effective in a dynamic market.

Iteration Process

Creating a marketing strategy involves a series of well-defined steps that guide your efforts from goal setting to execution and assessment. By following these core principles—identifying objectives, assessing capabilities, segmenting the market, creating personas, analyzing the market, systemizing the customer journey, deciding on communication channels and messaging, planning implementation, and iterating your activities—you can develop a comprehensive and effective marketing strategy.

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How to Create a Marketing Strategy: 9 Steps to Success

Creating a marketing strategy is crucial for any business aiming to achieve its goals and thrive in a competitive market. A well-crafted strategy helps align your marketing efforts with your business objectives, ensuring that your resources are effectively utilised to reach your target audience. In this guide, we’ll walk you through the core principles for developing a marketing strategy. Whether you’re a seasoned marketing consultant or a business owner looking to develop your own marketing strategy template, this guide will provide valuable insights.