Strategy Copyright @Beithoven.com | Last update: 10 Jan 2022
“Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat.” ~ Sun Tzu, author of ‘The Art of War’
So said Sun Tzu, a Chinese military strategist and philosopher, and writer of the immensely successfully ‘The Art of War’, an influential work of military strategy that has affected both the Western and East Asian philosophy and military thinking and also other industries such as business, marketing, law and government.
This quote cannot be further from the truth because if you do not have a concrete plan before you head into the complicated world of marketing, you are very likely going to waste your time, efforts and marketing dollars in activities that may not work for your business.
What Is a Marketing Strategy?
To prevent that from happening, you need to map out a marketing strategy before any execution. A marketing strategy is defined as the overall game plan of a business, a roadmap for your business to reach prospects and turn them into customers of your products and/or services. In brief, it should include an achievable and specific marketing-related goal or goals, your company’s value proposition, target audience, financial objectives and budget, as well as extensive research and conclusions on elements such as your brand, business and industry, competitors, and more.
Why Does Your Company Need a Marketing Strategy?
“Marketing takes a day to learn. Unfortunately it takes a lifetime to master.” ~ Philip Kotler, American marketing author and the ‘Father of Modern Marketing’, best known for popularizing the definition of marketing mix.
- Help You Create a Guide for Your Business to Achieve Its Goals
Whether you are a startup or an established business, creating a marketing strategy or marketing plan is critical because it will help you develop a roadmap or a guide for your business to achieve its goals.
According to Philip Kotler in his book ‘Marketing Management‘, a marketing strategy is “the basic approach that the business unit will use to attain its goals and which comprises of elaborate decisions (strategies) on largest markets, market positioning and mix and marketing expenditure allocation.” Other marketing authors such as David Aaker and Michael Mills, and Michael Porter, refer to a marketing strategy as an ‘over-riding directional concept’ that guides us in the ‘planned path’, a formula for how your business is going to compete and achieve its goals.
- Reduce Time and Effort
Besides preventing you from wasting your time, efforts and marketing dollars, a suitable marketing strategy can also lessen the time and effort it takes for your business to achieve its desired objectives. This is because employees in your team will already have been informed and updated by your marketing strategy, with everyone knowing what to expect, and what they need to do. Most importantly, it will reduce the possibility of duplicated efforts as each team member will know exactly their own responsibilities.
- Help You Identify Your Audience and Attract Prospects
A marketing strategy can help you identify and segment your audience, and define how you can attract and reach prospective leads and turn them into loyal customers of your products or services. It should also encourage your existing customers to maintain their purchase relationship with your company and not product- or service-hop.
- Force Your Business to Focus Its Resources on Effective Platforms
Such a marketing roadmap will also force a business to focus its limited resources on the best opportunities and channels to increase sales and its competitive advantage, and achieve a sustainable return on investment.
- Enable You to Create a Repeatable System to Grow Profits
Without a strategy in place, a business will not have a repeatable system that can predictably generate profit and grow. Such a system will enable you to scale your business, or just hand it over to another team or employee to implement it. A well-planned marketing strategy will also keep every employee in the company on the same page, and enhance brand awareness.
When Is a Marketing Strategy Developed?
A marketing strategy should rightfully be developed and planned before you even start your business, although according to a 2019 survey, of 350 small and medium-sized businesses, half of them are operating without a marketing strategy. It is definitely not effective for you to operate a business without knowing what your direction is, or where you are going – you must know your vision, objectives, target audience, or understand the market and competitors before starting a business.
Differences Between a Marketing Strategy and a Marketing Plan, a Marketing Tactic and a Marketing Campaign
What Is the Difference Between a Marketing Strategy and a Marketing Plan?
Often, the terms ‘marketing strategy’ and ‘marketing plan’ are used interchangeably because sometimes, the strategy and the plan may be placed into the same document. This is true particularly for small and medium-sized companies who may not have big budgets for multiple marketing campaigns throughout the year.
For bigger companies, ‘marketing strategy’ and ‘marketing plan’ can be different. The information you received from the marketing strategy, which outlines the overall value proposition, is then used to create your marketing plan, which outlines marketing activities on a monthly basis (well, mostly, though some are drafted on a quarterly basis).
What Is the Difference Between a Marketing Strategy and a Marketing Tactic?
A marketing strategy is considered a destination – your overall, focused plan to achieve your end marketing goal, while a marketing tactic refers to a specific action that you can choose to take throughout your strategy to help you promote your products and/or services and achieve your goals. Such marketing tactics are definable steps within your strategy, and they include social media, content marketing, SEO, advertising, PR, events, radio, TV ads, print ads, and so on.
What Is the Difference Between a Marketing Strategy and a Marketing Campaign?
Your marketing strategy for the year should encompass a few marketing campaigns, defined as short-term activities executed to achieve specific goals of a company, spread out across different months.
What Do You Need to Include In Your Strategy?
Once you have understood the basics, your next task is to develop the actual strategy. Below is a very comprehensive framework that you can follow to develop a roadmap that can supercharge your business. It must be noted that once a marketing strategy has been created, even a small amendment to any controllable or uncontrollable elements such as product, place, price or promotion will disrupt your current strategy and call for the re-evaluation of the entire marketing strategy.
Part A: Research and Analysis
“The aim of marketing is to know and understand the customer so well the product or service fits him and sells itself.” ~ Peter F. Drucker, Austrian-American management consultant, educator and author.
A1: Target Audience and Buyer Persona
Deciding on a target audience for your business is critical, as who your potential customers are will affect many important decisions that you need to make, such as the type of messaging, marketing platforms for promotion, and pricing strategy.
At this stage, you need to create a buyer persona, which is a fictional representation of your ideal client or target audience. It will be easier for you to create an effective strategy if you have a clear picture of who you are marketing to. You should create at least one buyer persona, or if you work with clients in different industries, you should create one buyer persona for each industry you serve.
To create a buyer persona, take a look at who you are already working with, read your customer reviews, talk to customer-facing employees, clients or check out your competitors – are they seeing success in certain market segments?
Some questions you need to ask yourself when creating the buyer persona includes:
- How old is your buyer?
- Are they mainly male or female?
- What jobs are they holding?
- Where do they live?
- What are their hobbies/interests?
- How do they spend their time outside of work?
- What are their online behaviours, especially purchasing behaviours?
- What are some of their challenges and pain points?
- What are their motivations and desires?
After that, you can write a paragraph about your buyer persona using the answers to the questions above, making it into a story. Your business may have an additional market segmentation, or different marketing segmentations, and in this case, you will need to create different buyer personas that fit the individual market segments.
- Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs
“Self-actualized people…live more in the real world of nature than in the man-made mass of concepts, abstractions, expectations, beliefs and stereotypes that most people confuse with the world.” ~ Abraham Maslow, American psychologist best known for creating Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs: A Theory of Human Motivation.
You can also use Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs model to expand on your target audience’s persona or profile. Proposed by American psychology Abraham Maslow in 1943, Maslow’s model is a motivational theory of psychological health that bases human decision-making on five hierarchical-level of human needs within a pyramid, with basic needs at the bottom and the more intangible needs at the top. We can move to address the higher-level needs when our basic needs are fulfilled. However, Maslow clarified that when a deficit need has been ‘more or less’ satisfied, it will be ‘removed’ in our minds, and our activities will be directed towards the next set of needs that we have yet to satisfy.
Maslow describes the lower four levels on his hierarchy as ‘deficiency needs’, and you will experience unpleasant results if you fail to meet these needs. These include the following:
1. Psychological Needs
‘Psychological Needs’ is the first of the lower levels of needs, which refers to the most basic human survival needs such as food and water, sufficient rest and sleep, clothing and shelter, health and reproduction. These needs must be fulfilled before someone can move on to the next set of needs.
2. Safety Needs
Next on the set of needs is ‘Safety Needs’, which include job security, protection from theft, robbery and violence, your health needs, emotional stability and well-being and financial safety and security.
3. Belonging and Love Needs
The third level on Maslow’s model is ‘Belonging and Love Needs’, which refers to human interaction, made up of friendships and family bonds. Belonging to social groups such as a club, a union or a hobby group are also important for meeting these needs.
4. Esteem Needs
The highest level of the ‘Deficiency Needs’ is ‘Esteem Needs’, which refer to self-respect and self-esteem, which can be broken into esteem which is based on respect and acknowledgement from others, and esteem which is based on your own self-assessment. Self-confidence and independence are derived from self-esteem of your own self-assessment.
The key difference between deficiency needs and growth needs is the change in motivation as needs are met. As deficiency needs are met, motivation falls, and as growth needs are met, motivation rises. Maslow’s ‘growth needs’ refers to human beings striving for personal growth, knowledge, understanding and beauty.
1. Cognitive Needs
Cognitive needs refer to people’s inclination to learn, explore, predict, discover and create in order to understand the world around them. People who are curious and inquisitive, and who prefer activities that need deliberation and brainstorming tend to have a greater need for cognition and emotional connection, while those who are unmotivated to participate in any activity has a low inclination for such cognitive activities.
2. Aesthetic Needs
Based on Maslow’s theory, humans need beautiful imagery or aesthetically new and pleasing experiences to level-up towards self-actualization. They need to immerse themselves in the beauty of nature, observing their environment so as to appreciate the beauty, balance and form of the world.
Self-actualization refers to the fulfillment of your full potential as a human being. At this level, we strive to become the best that we can possibly be. This could include education, skills development in the areas of sports, music, design, culinary, art or pursuing life dreams such as learning a new language, achieving a new certification, or even travelling to a new country or becoming happier. Self-actualization needs can make you happier, but you are not harmed in any way when these needs are not fulfilled. It is only a priority when the basic needs are met.
4. Transcendence (Spiritual Needs)
Maslow included a top level known as transcendence, or spiritual needs. He theorises that one finds the fullest realisation in giving oneself to something beyond oneself, such as altruism or spirituality. I do not want to complicate things here, but from my own understanding, this could moving to beyond our ego, to beyond space and time and helping others from the heart. For example, it could mean the ability to move beyond things that once seems important to us or helping other people in the community whenever possible.
After you have mapped out your target audience using Maslow’s theory, you can combine it with what you have previously already created on your buyer persona, to form a bigger picture of your target audience.
- Clayton Alderfer’s Existence-Relatedness-Growth (ERG) Theory
Clayton Alderfer’s ERG Theory builds on Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs and states that there are three groups of core needs for humans:
- Existence (E) Needs: refers to basic material needs for living like physiological and safety needs (food and water, sleep, clothing, shelter, health, job security, protection from theft and violence, etc.)
- Relatedness (R) Needs: refers to the needs for maintaining interpersonal relationships, such as friendships and family bonds.
- Growth (G) Needs: refers to the needs for personal development such as self-respect and self-esteem, and other self-actualization needs from Maslow’s theory.
According to Alderfer, these needs may vary over time, and different individuals would prioritize the needs in different orders based on their life views. For example, an entertainer could be struggling to fund his expenses, such that his existence needs are suffering, but he soldiers on because he is motivated by growth through his career. This also means that individuals do not need to have satisfied their existence needs before being motivated by their relatedness or growth needs.
- McClelland’s Human Motivation Theory
David Clarence McClelland, an American psychologist, proposed the Human Motivation Theory in the 1970s. Also known as Three Needs Theory, Acquired Needs Theory, Achievement Motivation Theory, Learned Needs Theory or simply Needs Theory, it states that every individual has one of three main driving motivators: the needs for achievement, affiliation or power. All these needs are developed through his culture and life experiences, and affect his actions from a managerial context. This theory gives you a basis for understanding what motivates each individual, and how you can optimise your products and/or services to target him or her.
A2: Business Research and Analysis
“I believe in evidence. I believe in observation, measurement, and reasoning, confirmed by independent observers. I’ll believe anything, no matter how wild and ridiculous, if there is an evidence for it. The wilder and more ridiculous something is, however, the firmer and more solid the evidence will have to be.” ~ Isaac Asimov, American writer and professor of biochemistry at Boston University.
At this initial stage, having a complete overview and understanding of your business makes it easier to develop a marketing strategy to accomplish your desired business goals. You need to look at a few elements, such as:
- Brand Analysis
“A brand is the set of expectations, memories, stories and relationships that, taken together, account for a consumer’s decision to choose one product or service over another.” ~ Seth Godin, best-selling marketing author, entrepreneur, blogger and speaker.
Also known as a brand audit, it identifies how your brand will support or is supporting your marketing and sales efforts and how it is meeting or not meeting your customers’ needs. Ideally, you need to analyse whether there is a brand gap between your company’s brand strategy and reality, and identify areas of improvements.
Components you need to look at include your company’s brand mission, values, positioning and purpose, brand awareness and effectiveness on your scope of operations, products and/or services, target audience, distribution channels, partnerships, marketing channels, social media platforms, pricing, and more. You can also obtain feedback from your customers. Evaluating these components will provide you with a comprehensive analysis of your brand, and let you understand its strengths and weaknesses, and whether it is serving its purpose.
After the brand analysis, you should have a list of your unique selling points (USPs), and also a list of actionable and measurable targets designed to help you close the brand gaps that you have identified above.
- SWOT Analysis
SWOT stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats, and so a SWOT analysis is a technique that you can use to assess these four aspects, so that you can determine the positioning of your business, and examine if it is aligned with your vision and goals. You can use the SWOT analysis on different cases, such as a new product launch, a sales campaign, or a marketing project.
In general, your strengths and weaknesses are the internal aspects of your business, and which you can control, including your staff, patents and intellectual property. Opportunities and threats are external, which you cannot control, and some examples are consumer purchase trends, competitors and the prices of raw materials.
A SWOT analysis will help you organise your top strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats into a list, forming part of your marketing planning process so that you can prioritise the tasks that you need to execute to expand your business, check if you can leverage on untapped opportunities or prepare for threats that exist in your market.
As situations change rapidly, you are strongly advised to relook at your SWOT analysis every 6 – 12 months.
- PEST Analysis or PESTLE Analysis
‘PEST’ stands for Political, Economic, Social, and Technological, and PEST analysis is a management method that a company uses to assess major external factors that influence its operations, and find out how these factors can create opportunities or threats to your business. Here are the elements that you need to look at under each factor.
- Political Factors: Political factors include employment and labour laws, property protection, security control, tariffs and trade restrictions, taxation policies, consumer protection laws, advertising laws and regulations, copyrights, freedom of press, bureaucracy, corruption, and political regime and stability.
- Economic Factors: Economic factors include inflation/deflation rates, stock market, wages structure, gross domestic product (GDP), supply and demand, economic growth indicators, exchange rates, fiscal policies, interest rates and unemployment trends.
- Social Factors: Social factors include age and gender distribution, income and poverty, household composition, income inequality, education, social mobility, population growth, country cultures, social classes, job and career attitudes.
- Technological Factors: Technological factors include technological changes and incentives, production techniques, information and communication resources, logistics, internet connectivity and wireless charging capabilities, marketing and e-commerce technologies, mobile technologies, 3D technologies, spending on R&D, artificial intelligence (AI) and automation implementation rate and basic infrastructure levels.
Sometimes, what we termed ‘PESTLE analysis’ can be used for a more extensive research, with two added components – Legal and Environmental, where you need to explore the legal and environmental landscapes by looking at the following elements that might impact your business.
- Environmental Factors: Environmental factors include climate and temperature changes, natural disasters, health care accessibility, water quality, food and waste disposal, pollution, sound and light, parasites, carbon footprint and CSR (Corporate Sustainability Responsibility).
- Legal Factors: Legal factors include employment legislation, health and safety, zoning laws, health and safety laws, civil rights/discrimination laws, intellectual property laws, trade regulations and restrictions, advertising standards, consumer rights, product labelling and safety.
The difference between PEST analysis and SWOT analysis is that the former focuses on external environmental factors that affect the business, whereas the latter focuses on both internal and external factors.
- McKinsey 7S Model
The McKinsey 7S model, developed in the late 1970s by Tom Peters and Robert Waterman, former consultants at McKinsey & Company, is a useful framework for assessing an organisation’s well-being and future success, allowing you to look at its marketing capabilities from different points of view.
Besides using it as a tool of analysis for better understanding your business before mapping a marketing strategy, you can also use it in situations when you need to look at how the various elements of your organisation work together, or in change projects, such as re-organisations and mergers and acquisitions.
The McKinsey 7S framework uses 7 internal elements to determine whether a company has the structural support it needs in order for it to achieve its goals.
Hard elements are easy to identify and management can influence them directly:
- Strategy: your company’s plan for creating and maintaining a competitive advantage over its competitors.
- Structure: your company’s organisation in terms of how departments and teams are structured and reporting lines.
- Systems: your company’s daily activities, processes and IT systems that your employees use to do their jobs.
Soft elements, however, are less tangible and are influenced more by your company culture.
- Shared Values: your company’s core values and its general work ethics.
- Style: the leadership style of the executives and managers in your company.
- Staff: your employees and their general capabilities.
- Skills: your employees actual skills and competencies.
The figure below shows how the elements depend on each other, and how a change in one affects all the others. Shared values is centralised because it is critical to the development of all the other factors. For a business to excel, all the elements need to reinforce one another and be balanced. You can use this model to identify which elements of the McKinsey 7S model you need to realign with the other elements in order to increase or improve performance.
- Competitive Analysis and Research
A competitive analysis and research allows you to determine any current or future threats posed by competitors, and also gives you an idea of relevant market trends in your industry. This is a compulsory step before the strategic planning of your marketing roadmap because it ensures that you know what your competitors are doing, and help you gain a better understanding of your competitive edge in order to make better business decisions. It also ensures that the strategy you use later is powerful enough to surpass your competitors.
Consider the following factors when conducting competitive analysis:
- What are their business models?
- What products and/or services are they offering?
- Who are their target audience, customer base or customer segments?
- What are their target markets or market segments?
- What are their product and pricing strategies?
- What are their sales and marketing strategies?
You can look for your competitors by doing an online search for your products and/or services and geographic locations, checking the local telephone directory, consulting the local Chamber of Commerce and trade organisations, or look out for any flyers or brochures from businesses in the same or similar industries. Include both direct and indirect competitors to better understand who you are up against, and compile them into a list. Once you have detailed information about your competitors, and the tactics and practices they use to attract new prospects, you can map your own strategy.
Besides the SWOT analysis, there are a few competitive analysis frameworks that you can use to conduct an in-depth analysis of your competitors.
- Porter’s Five Forces
Porter’s Five Forces examines the competitive market forces in an industry or segment according to five elements: new entrants, buyers, suppliers, substitutes and competitive rivalry, all of which are the key forces that directly affect how much competition your business faces in an industry. This model is useful if your business is considering whether you should open up a new segment by expanding your products and/or services.
- Strategic Group Analysis
The Strategic Group Analysis framework let you analyse organisations in clusters based on the similarity of strategy. When you identified the cluster that your business falls into, you can check out who are your close competitors, and also get to understand the impact of different strategic approaches. For instance, you can understand which of your competitors fall into the same cluster as your business when it comes to a particular strategy, such as a pricing or a digital marketing strategy. By exploring different dimensions, you can evaluate your position as compared to other organisations and identify key factors for success.
- Growth Share Matrix
The Growth Share Matrix, developed by the founder of the Boston Consulting Group in 1970, is a competitive analysis framework that classifies the products and/or services of your company against the competitive landscape of your industry. It helps you decide which products and/or services to invest in based on competitiveness and the attractiveness of each market.
According to this model, products and/or services fall into one of four quadrants in the matrix, each with a different strategy:
- Question Mark – High Growth, Low Share: Most new products and/or services with high potential and should be invested in or discarded, depending on how likely they will become stars.
- Star – High Growth, High Share: products and/or services with high future potential for growth, and should be heavily invested in.
- Cash Cow – Low Growth, High Share: products and/or services that bring in cash and can fund investment in your stars.
- Pet – Low Share, Low Growth: products and/or services that are considered failures. You should liquidate, divest or reposition them.
This model can also be applied to analysis of other strategies, such as digital marketing strategies. For instance, by plotting the growth of digital marketing platforms against the ROI of the platforms and evaluating it in the same way like how you would evaluate products, you can see which platforms or channels to invest in or terminate.
- Perceptual Mapping
Perceptual mapping, or positioning mapping, is a visual representation of perceptions of your products and/or services relative to competing brands, products or services. You first decide two attributes you will use as the basis for comparison, and then plot where your products and/or services and those of your competitors should fall on the spectrum of these two attributes. This model is useful for understanding how your customers perceive your products and/or services as compared to your competitors’, in turn helping you to understand whether you need to tweak your existing positioning strategy in the minds of your target customers.
Part B: Defining the Marketing Strategy
B1: What Is the Value Proposition of Your Business?
“The first step in exceeding your customer’s expectations is to know those expectations.” ~ Roy H. Williams, best-selling author and marketing consultant best known for his ‘Wizard of Ads’ trilogy.
Why is your product or service better than your competitors? What are your key differentiators? Why should your prospective consumers buy from you? A company’s value proposition forms the core of your competitive advantage, and let the customer understands why he should purchase a product and/or service from you instead of your competitors. Your value proposition should be communicated to customers directly across all your advertising and marketing materials.
- Porter’s Value Chain Analysis
You can use Porter’s Value Chain analysis, a business management tool that was developed by Michael Porter, an American academic known for his theories on economics and business strategy, to uncover your business’ value proposition. Porter’s model makes customers the central principle, and not departments and accounting expense categories, integrating systems and activities to each other and tracking the effect of this on costs and profit. It tracks how inputs are changed into the outputs purchased by customers. He listed down some activities that characterise all businesses:
Primary Activities refer to everything from the creation to the support of your products and/or services.
- Inbound Logistics: includes the receiving, warehousing and inventory control of your company’s raw materials. Your relationships with your suppliers are critical here.
- Operations: includes processes for turning raw materials into a finished product and/or service for customers. The strength of your operational systems is your value. e.g. labelling, branding or packaging products in a bundle to value-add.
- Outbound Logistics: includes activities to distribute a final product to a customer, including delivery of the product and collection, storage and distribution systems and may be internal or external to your organisation. e.g. storing products for shipping and shipping of the products.
- Marketing and Sales: refers to strategies to enhance visibility of your brand and persuade your potential customers to purchase from you instead of your competitors. The benefits you offer, and how well you communicate them to your prospects is your value. e.g. your company may choose to run ads on Facebook or Google.
- Service: includes activities to maintain product and/or service value and enhance consumer experience to your customers after purchase. e.g. customer service, maintenance, repairs or replacements, warranty, refund and exchange.
Support Activities refer to secondary activities that can further improve the primary activities of the value chain.
- Procurement (Purchasing): refers to the acquisition of resources for your company, including sourcing for raw materials and negotiating for best prices with suppliers and vendors. This supports the primary activity of inbound logistics, where a company would source for materials or goods for resale.
- Human Resource Management: refers to the hiring and retaining of employees who are of value to the company because of their ability to help create, market and sell your products and/or services. Being good at managing your employees or having good HR practices is useful for all primary activities such as marketing, logistics and operations.
- Technological Development: refers to activities that manage and process information, and protect your company’s knowledge base. You can create value by reducing information technology costs, improving your technical capability and staying updated with technological advances.
- Infrastructure: refers to your company’s support systems and the functions that allow it to maintain its daily operations, such as accounting, administrative, legal, and general management.
Find the connections between all of the above activities – for example, improving your sales team will increase sales volumes, and most probably your profits. You can also think about how to change, enhance or maximise the value you offer to your customers, so as to improve the competitive advantages that you have uncovered from Porter’s Value Chain framework.
- The Golden Circle
You can also use the Golden Circle theory developed by Simon Sinek to differentiate the value proposition of your business, and explain why people and businesses are able to inspire others to act. It also explains how we respond best when messages communicate with these parts of our brain that control emotions, behaviours and decision-making. There are three parts to the Golden Circle:
- What: What do you sell or do? For personal branding, it will be the designation of your job or title.
- How: How do you differentiate your products and/or services from your competitors and deliver your offering to the most suitable customers?
- Why: Why does your business exist? Why do you do what you do?
From these three questions, you would be able to create your value proposition, and then move on to develop your brand and marketing messaging.
- The Hedgehog Concept
“All good-to-great leaders, it turns out, are hedgehogs. They know how to simplify a complex world into a single, organizing idea—the kind of basic principle that unifies, organizes, and guides all decisions.” ~ Jim Collins, American business researcher and consultant.
Isaiah Berlin, a Latvian-born British philosopher, in his 1953 essay “The Hedgehog and the Fox”, divided the world into hedgehogs and foxes, based on the ancient Greek parable that states, “The fox knows many things, but the hedgehog knows one big thing.” According to Berlin, foxes pursue many goals and interests concurrently, and because of this, their thoughts are mostly diffused and not focused and hence their achievements are not impressive. On the other hand, hedgehogs just focus on one single objective, which is to defend itself, and it does so admirably with its spikes.
Jim Collins, an American business consultant, subsequently developed the idea in his 2001 book, “Good to Great.” , with a strategy that consists of three overlapping circles:
The Hedgehog Concept is made up of:
- What are you deeply passionate about?
- What can you be the best in the world at?
- What drives your economic engine?
Collins believes that a successful strategy is created from overlapping these three circles. He argued that companies will succeed if they can find that one thing that they do best to focus on, that is, their “Hedgehog Concept.” After identifying their niche, the management of a business should devote all their energy and resources to pursuing this one concept, and the business will thrive.
B2: What Are Your Business and Marketing Goals?
“You are never too old to set a new goal or to dream a new dream.” ~ C.S. Lewis, British writer best known for his works of fiction such as The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe and The Chronicles of Narnia.
After you have defined the value proposition of your business, it is time to define your business and marketing goals because it is critical to have a system in place that will let you track and measure your results.
- SMART Goals
SMART, or Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timely goals is a set of goals used to help guide the goal-setting objective of your business. A clear definition of these parameters helps you ensure that your objectives are attainable within a certain timeframe, making it easier to track progress and identify any milestones or actions that you might have missed.
- Specific: Your goals should be well defined and include details of what you want to accomplish, who are responsible for your goals and how you are going to achieve them.
- Measurable: You should incorporate measurable, trackable benchmarks so that you can measure your progress and accurately determine whether you have achieved your goals.
- Achievable: Your goals must be something that is possible for your team to accomplish within your stated time and resources.
- Realistic: Your goals must be within reach and relevant given the time and resources.
- Timely: You must state a clear, defined timeline within which you should achieve your goals to create urgency, including a start date and a target end date.
Here is an example of a SMART goal for a mobile app company:
e.g. To increase the number of users of our mobile app to 2,500 by December 2022, by optimising our app store listing and running targeted social media campaigns on Facebook, Instagram and Linkedin. Key players include team A, B and D. Achieving this goal will result in an increase in sales and profit for our company.
Other examples of business and marketing goals could include increasing market share, generating a high volume of qualified leads, establishing thought leadership, and building and increasing brand awareness and engagement.
B3: Developing Your Branding Strategy
“People do not buy goods and services. They buy relations, stories and magic.” ~ Seth Godin, American entrepreneur, speaker and best-selling author of a range of marketing literature.
A branding strategy is a critical subset of your overall strategy because besides dictating your marketing strategy, it essentially sums up why your business exists at all, apart from making money. It is also the element that sets your business apart from the competition.
To develop a branding strategy, there are three key areas that we need to explore.
- Brand Heart
This defines the core of your brand, and it is where you map your brand purpose, vision, mission and values. Your brand purpose is the ultimate reason that your brand exists, and why you are in the business that you are in. You can make use of leadership expert Simon Sinek’s ‘Golden Circle‘ framework to identify your brand purpose. Your brand vision refers to what you want to achieve because of your brand purpose while your brand mission describes how you are going to get the work done.
Your brand values are a set of guiding principles that shape every aspect of your business, and are there to dictate your brand identity and personality. It is how you want your brand to be perceived in the market, and how you want to shape the experiences your brand has with your current customers, suppliers and the public.
- Brand Positioning
Next, you need to determine your brand’s positioning within your market. Here is where you need to map a few sentences to capture the essence of your brand positioning. How is your brand different from the other competitors, and why should prospective customers choose to buy your products and/or services? Besides the obvious functional benefits of your brand, consider too the emotional benefits that it will bring to your customers and prospects.
Your next step is to craft a brand messaging strategy that translates your brand positioning into messages for the different audience, such as your prospective customers, current customers, your employees, and vendors and suppliers.
- Brand Personality
Imagine your brand as a person – what kind of person would it be? Would it be a young, rebellious teenager, a wise, experienced financial professional or a sophisticated, middle-aged career woman? Deciding on a brand personality, which is a set of human characteristics that you can attribute to your brand, would help dictate how you communicate with your customers, what content you should share and the tone of voice you should use to reach out to your audience.
As a guide, you can use Carl Jung’s 12 brand archetypes to develop a brand personality to connect with your audience on a deeper level. You can also choose to develop a brand tagline, a brand mascot or character as a vehicle to express your brand personality and facilitate your brand storytelling process.
As part of developing your brand personality, you should also design your brand identity, which consist of your brand’s logo, typography, brand colours, illustration, imagery or any photography concepts. All these elements should be reinforcing together, creating a singular, unified brand experience for every audience.
Part C: The Marketing Mix
C1: The 4Ps of Marketing
Neil Borden, a professor at the Harvard Business School of America, introduced the term ‘marketing mix‘, which refers to a set of marketing tools or actions that a business uses to pursue its marketing objectives in its target market. Later on, E. Jerome McCarthy, a marketing professor at Michigan State University, refined Borden’s concept and created the ‘4Ps’ – a mixture of four elements that make up the basis of a company’s marketing system:
- Product (Goods or Services)
Product, which refers to the goods and/or services of the company made for its customers, can be tangible, such as an alcoholic drink, a badminton racket, or a software or intangible, such as a service like consulting, a therapy session or a design solution.
There should ideally be an existing demand for your products and/or services. If not, your product should then be so attractive that your prospects believe they need to have it, creating a brand new demand for it.
Marketers must understand the life cycle of their product, what their product stands for, and what differentiate them from the competition before they can be marketed successfully. Here is a checklist of questions you need to ask and answer:
- Why does your loyal customers buy your products and/or services? To what extent does it fulfil their needs?
- What features of your products and/or services meet your customers’ needs? Are there any features that will make your products and/or services better?
- How does your customers use your products and/or services?
- What are their feedback on your products and/or services?
- Where in the product life cycle are your products and/or services now? Is there hence a need to relook at your product strategy?
- Price (What the Customers Pay)
Price refers to the cost that your customers pay for your products and/or services, and also the time or effort your customers are willing to pay to acquire it. Your pricing strategy involves extensive market research and delicate calculations of your costs and profits, and determining a price is critical because it will affect your profit, and also how much you should spend on your raw materials and/or advertising and promotions.
Here is a checklist of what you need to know in order to price your product correctly:
- What is your product’s real and perceived value to your potential consumers?
- What is your supply or material costs?
- How much is the price for similar competitors’ products?
- Is there a need to offer a discount at any point in time, such as seasonal discounts?
- Is your product an exclusive one that warrants a higher price?
- Place (Location where your Products and/or Services Is Marketed)
Place refers to where your business should sell your products and/or services, or how you should deliver them to your target audience. Your objective is to position your products and/or services among prospects that are most likely to purchase them.
- Where are your prospective audience browsing or shopping?
- Where will you place your products and/or services in a particular store, television show, movie or website for best effects?
- Digitally, what are your audience’s shopping habits? e.g. types of devices they use, what time are they online more frequently, what sort of products are they looking at?
- Which social media platform(s) is best for your products and/or services?
- Promotion (Marketing and Advertising Methods)
Promotion refers to any marketing and advertising tactics that your business uses to reach out to your prospective audience, such as digital advertising, direct marketing, public relations (PR), content marketing, creation of a marketing funnel and/or email marketing, Search Engine Optimization (SEO), brochures, events, video marketing, sales promotions, direct mail, etc. The 4Ps, which interact intimately with one another, can be leveraged to help create and test your current marketing strategy.
Some questions you need to ask yourself:
- What is the marketing message that you will send to your ideal customers?
- Where are your competitors promoting or advertising a similar product?
- When are the best times to promote or advertise your product?
- Which marketing channels or platforms will help you maximise your ROI?
Within this 4th P, there are various strategies that you may want to consider developing for your business. Again, every business is different, so you need to tailor them according to your business needs and objectives.
1. Digital Marketing Strategy
Creating a strategic planning roadmap to reach out to your prospective customers also includes the planning of a digital marketing strategy, probably the most critical part of your strategy today. An omnichannel digital marketing strategy will integrate technology and media across all possible platforms and channels. In a nutshell, your digital marketing strategy could include the following elements:
- Social Media Marketing Strategy
A social media marketing strategy involves analysing social trends and social media channels of your competitors, and then mapping a strategy that involves social media channels that are relevant to your business, such as Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, WeChat, Weibo, Little Red Book (RED), or others.
- Influencers Marketing
Influencers marketing, or influence marketing, involves getting endorsements and product placements from influencers, people or businesses that have a dedicated social following and are viewed as experts in their fields. Recommendations from influencers work well because potential customers tend to trust them. Setting up an influencers marketing campaign requires research, setting of a budget, determining your objectives, liasing with your influencers on content and publicity and finally, review and analysis.
- Search Engines
Search engines refer to two digital search techniques, namely search engine optimisation (SEO) and search engine marketing (SEM) or search ads. SEO is the process of optimising a piece of content on your website to make search engines like Google show it on the 1st or 2nd page when a user puts in a search query, while SEM, or paid search ads or pay per click (PPC) refers to ads that you purchase for them to be visible on the top of the search engines. Both strategies involve using marketing techniques or ads to push the visibility of your business to the top of the search engines, hence driving traffic to your website or specific landing page.
- Email Marketing
Email marketing, or the use of emails to send to your database of customers or prospective audience, is often used as a strategy to promote your company’s products and/or services. It is one of the best marketing channels for you to create and build an authentic connection with your audience. You need to create useful, valuable and targeted content to help you boost conversions and revenues, and hence help you achieve your objectives.
- Content Strategy/Content Marketing Strategy
A content marketing strategy, an effective inbound marketing strategy, is a content framework for creating content that drives your key business objectives, a strategic planning approach that dictates how you will create content, why you will create content, for whom you will create content, how you will promote your content and so on. Usually, relevant content of a business could include viral content that could potentially be shared aggressively, promotions and contests, thought leadership content, products and/or services content, and user-generated content such as educational content.
- Digital Advertising/Online Advertising Strategy
Mainly, there are four types of digital advertising, including:
- Paid Search Ads: as per what we have discussed above under ‘Search Engines’.
- Social Media Ads: refer to ads on Facebook, Instagram or other social channels.
- Native Advertising: a type of advertisement that is designed specially to blend in with the look, feel and content of the media format in which they appear, often in your social media feed or recommended content, images or videos on a website.
- Display Advertising: refers to banner ads on relevant websites, and each one usually includes text, images or rich media (gifs, animations, videos) and a URL that links to your website or landing page for the customer to learn more about the product and/or service.
You need to plan the usage of one or more of these ad channels to help you publicise your business, hence converting prospects into actual customers.
- Mobile Marketing
Mobile marketing has revolutionised the business world in the last two decades, and in the last few years, the mobile phone and tablet has been increasingly used as a key communication tool for most customers worldwide. Some of the most critical mobile marketing strategies include SMS marketing, WhatsApp marketing, QR code marketing, push notifications through apps, proximity marketing, in-app marketing, in-game marketing, location-based marketing, display ads on mobile-responsive websites, social media marketing and more.
- Metaverse Marketing
With the advancement of virtual technologies and the recent rebrand of Facebook’s company name to ‘Meta’, metaverses will be the way to connect with consumers in time to come.
Brands are rushing into the metaverse, defined as an interconnected set of experiences in a collective virtual shared space for users to interact, created by a combination of augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), social media, online gaming and some elements of cryptocurrencies. According to E-Marketer, 58.9 million and 93.3 million people in the US will use VR and AR respectively at least once a month in 2021, making up 17.7% and 28.1% of the total population in the US. This is a significant increase from the 52.1 million and 82.1 million in 2020.
With such rapid increase in the use of such technologies, how can business owners or marketers integrate the metaverse into their marketing strategy as the technology expands?
For now, you need to know that the target market for metaverse marketing is mostly the Gen Zs and millennials (although I believe a decade later, the metaverse will become a norm to everyone), many of whom uses some forms of metaverses such as online games like Fortnite, Animal Crossing or Roblox, or VR and AR in their daily lives. If these people are your target audience, metaverse marketing is for you. You will need to understand these prospects and customers properly, and transition your marketing strategy from digital advertising and such to co-existing with your customers and prospects in a shared, virtual economy in the next decade.
We will cover more of metaverse marketing and how you can execute this form of marketing in a separate article, but the metaverse is the future for how customers will interact, and brands that are adequately prepared to understand consumer insights will succeed in this new era of marketing.
2. Traditional Marketing/Conventional Marketing
Traditional marketing, or conventional marketing, refers to conventional media that usually reach out to your audience offline. This includes broadcasting in the forms of television (TV) and radio (this has even been extended to digital radio nowadays), print advertising such as newspapers and magazines, outdoor advertising such as billboards, bus and taxi wraps and posters, direct mail, telemarketing and/or events.
Traditional marketing still works today because it is effective and scalable, though some elements may need a slightly higher investment than digital channels. However, it usually builds trust and help you build relationships with your customers, as such tactics provide them with a sense of familiarity and credibility. When combined with digital outreach, it will supercharge your marketing campaign to reach a wider and more effective audience. Just imagine the impact you will get if your audience sees a giant billboard at one of the crossroads when he is driving, and then saw it again on his mobile phone while he is browsing on social media later.
3. Public Relations (PR) Marketing
Public relations (PR) refers to how your company communicates with your audience, be it your customers, partners, the media, and the general public. This is an important aspect of marketing, because it is also one of the best channels to build trust and establish a relationship with your customers. PR also refers to how your company manages your brand and communications, and this is especially important during a crisis.
PR marketing is the practice of using relevant media channels to publicise your business and nurture a positive public perception and top-of-mind awareness among your audience. Your PR strategy should include a mix of three main PR elements:
- Owned Media: refers to your own content such as social media posts, blog posts, email newsletters and website content.
- Paid Media: refers to social media ads, content pushed out by influencers, search ads.
- Earned Media: refers to organic and positive mentions of your company, products and/or services in industry news, reviews, customers testimonials, etc.
While each of these elements works towards building a positive brand reputation and experience, earned media is arguably the best PR media to get, and also one of the most effective marketing tactics.
C2: The 7Ps of Marketing (Service Marketing Mix)
Bernard H. Booms & Mary J. Bitner, both professors and marketing researchers, added 3 more Ps to the model in the late 1970s, calling it the Service Marketing Mix, and this can also be applied in service companies and knowledge intensive environments.
This additional P, ‘people’ refers to the human resource of your company, including your CEO, managing directors, sales managers, customer service officers, warehouse packages and delivery drivers. It is important that you recruit the right people for your brand as they are as much a part of your business offering as the products and/or services you are offering, and it is also critical that you care for your employees as they will become the spokespersons of your company and brand.
Processes refer to the steps needed to deliver your products and/or services to your prospects or customers. You need to consider what are required logistically to make sure that your employees can complete these processes to the standards that you have established, such as investments in technologies such as software, payment systems, CRMs or additional staff.
- Physical Evidence
Physical evidence refers to any elements that proves that your business is real, trustworthy and operating legally, such as order confirmations, invoices, receipts from suppliers, an official website and social media presence. In addition, customer testimonials are critical to your business in any industry, so ensure that you display positive reviews on your website or social media, and reply to negative feedback professionally and timely.
- The 8th P – Productivity and Quality
From the old service marketing mix comes an additional 8th P – productivity and quality. One important question you should ask is how you should manage your productivity and quality so that you can provide the best value to your customers.
C3: The 4Cs of Marketing
The 4Cs of marketing was proposed by Robert Lauterborn, a professor at the University of North Carolina, whose objective was to develop a new model that was more relevant in our modern business environment which will place a focus on unique target audience, unlike the 4Ps and 7Ps models which emphasized mass marketing.
It is important to understand the needs of your prospective audience, or what needs or wants that they are not getting, and find a way to fulfil them. This ‘C’, customer, theorises that creating a product or service to cater to the needs of existing customers is better than just creating a product or service and then identifying or developing a demand for it. Use market research or data to discover if your existing or prospective customers have any wants or needs, and then plan, produce and promote the solution.
This refers to the total cost of the product to the customer, not only its retail price, but also the time and effort needed to get and use it, such as setup time, cost of any accessories, subscriptions, etc. Sometimes, the true cost of making a purchase is actually more than the price of the product itself, and this cost is what your customers will consider before a purchase.
Your customers might also consider the intangible factors, such as not buying products made by certain brands due to the fact that their workers are housed in poor working conditions, for instance, or they are guilty when they consume meat. As a business owner, these are some of the factors that you need to consider so that you do not have to just compete on price, but you can also consider other elements too.
Convenience refers to making sure that your product is available as conveniently as possible to your target customers. Be empathetic when creating your products and/or services, and imagine the customer’s journey from his perspective – understand how he shops, and as much as possible, place your products on all the platforms that are convenient to all your target customers. Make it easy for them to select the most popular products, and think of how to communicate clearly and accessible.
How your product or brand communicate with your prospects or customers is critical to your business. Consider what attracts customers to your business initially, and what will keep them engaged consistently on touchpoints such as in-store, social media, customer service, brochures, website and others. Every interaction between your brand and the customer can affect customer satisfaction, his reviews, future sales and the likelihood of customer referrals. You also need to consider how your customers interact with you, why they care and how you can use their information creatively.
The marketing mix, including the 4Ps and 7Ps of marketing, and the 4Cs of marketing provide possible frameworks that you can use to create or review your marketing strategy. Each element is equally important and needs an in-depth research to ensure that every one of them is developed effectively.
C4: Marketing Technologies (MarTech)
Planning a marketing strategy also needs the incorporation of marketing technologies, or martech, a range of software and tools, to help you optimise your marketing efforts across any marketing channels to achieve your marketing goals. Which technology will work best for your business depends mostly on who you are marketing to, such as, whether your company is a B2B or a B2C organisation.
Some martech stack that you can consider for your business include software for marketing CRM, marketing attribution, marketing automation, email marketing, content writing and SEO, advertising management, social media management, customer experience, and video creation and hosting.
Selecting, implementing, maintaining and optimising your company’s martech stack is not easy. You also need to ensure that you choose the right software vendors and data scientists, understand your company’s culture, and adopt an agile methodology in terms of project management. As martech continues to evolves overtime, you also need to take note of the trends in an everchanging marketing environment.
C5: Setting a Marketing Budget
No business can realistically survive in the long term without a marketing budget, so together with the planning of your marketing mix, you should also decide and allocate your marketing budget. Creating a marketing budget is one of the more important aspects of a marketing strategy that you should focus on, as it provides a financial roadmap that helps in your business’ decision-making process and allows you to more accurately determine your ROI for different segments of your marketing strategy.
A marketing budget should include all the expenses that you intend to spend on marketing-related activities over a specific timeframe, such as half a year, or a year. It can include expenses such as website creation, traditional advertising, digital advertising, content creation, public relations (PR), new marketing employees, hiring influencers, and buying new marketing software.
How much should your marketing budget be? According to a CMO survey, on average, chief marketing officers spend between 9.4% and 12.1% of their total company budget on marketing. As a guide, your marketing budget should be a percentage of your revenue, and from my experience, this percentage is often higher for B2C than B2B companies. The former can spend between 7% – 15%, while the latter can spend between 3% – 5%.
Another method of deciding on your marketing budget is to first look at your average cost per lead (CPL), which is how much you intend to spend or are currently spending to acquire a new customer. If you decide that your CPL is $100, and you need at least 200 leads, then your marketing budget is $100 x 200 = $20,000 for that specific timeframe. You can refer to your industry to estimate your CPL if you do not already have an idea of how much it is.
Your marketing budget is a detailed roadmap of all your costs of marketing, and overtime, you should also relook at it if there are any changes to your products and/or services, competition, business model, target audience, market position etc.
You can also make a marketing budget statement here to your management team, such as: For the year 2022, with this amount of $20,000 allocated to the marketing team, we expect to spend it in the following ways to ensure that we meet the objectives outlined in this marketing strategy.
Part D: Analysis and ROI
“War is 90% information.” ~ Napoleon Bonaparte, French military and political leader who rose to prominence during the French Revolution.
Why did Napoleon attributed most of his military success to getting or having the right information? This is because when you are fighting for a competitive advantage in a sea of businesses with the same or similar products and/or services, having a good grasp of your marketing metrics and analytics data is critical to the success of your business goals. Hence, the final step after you have planned a marketing strategy is to measure its results. If you are not measuring and analysing your marketing results using marketing metrics and data, you will not be able to manage or optimise them, or to better manage your marketing budget.
D1: Planning What You Should Measure
It is never a good idea to implement analytics blindly. You need to develop a plan and an analytics strategy that specifies the long-term decisions your business makes about how you use your data to take actions that meet your objectives. You have to determine what you are going to measure and when and how you are going to measure them. Metrics that you get will then form insights for you to make critical business and marketing decisions.
Here are some suggestions of what you can measure:
- Comparison between brands, products or customer types in terms of financial metrics such as sales, profits, etc.
- Comparison between different media and/or marketing platforms across any time periods.
- Measuring and identifying low and high ROI marketing channels.
- Measuring which assets that are used in key partnerships generate the most and least ROI.
D2: Marketing Metrics
Here are some marketing metrics that you can use to help you achieve tangible results overtime.
- Sales Revenue
As the primary objective of almost all businesses is to increase revenue, sales revenue is one key metric that you should be watching. Here are some questions you should ask:
- What is the difference between your forecasted sales and your actual sales every month?
- Did your sales exceed your marketing costs monthly?
- Return on Investment (ROI)
ROI helps businesses understand how much they are gaining or losing from their regular business activities i.e. profitability. It also allows you to evaluate the efficiency of different business channels and models, or measure the effectiveness of a marketing campaign. Some questions you should ask are:
- What is the profitability of different business channels/models?
- Which is my best customer segment in terms of profitability?
- What are the differences in costs between all my business channels/models?
- Return on Advertising Spend (ROAS)
ROAS is a marketing metric that measures the amount of revenue earned for every dollar spent on advertising, you can measure this metric as the overall ROAS of your total marketing budget, or you can also measure it more granularly based on specific ads, such as Facebook ads. In general, the higher your ROAS, the better your marketing campaigns are.
Some questions you should ask include:
- What is your overall ROAS for different business channels/models?
- What is the ROAS of a competitor’s business in your industry?
- Customer Lifetime Value (CLV)
The CLV refers to the total worth of a customer to your business over the whole period of your relationship with that customer. This is a critical marketing metric because often, it costs more to get new customers than to keep your current customers, so it makes sense for you to increase your CLV. Two important questions you can ask include:
- What is the CLV of each customer in different product segments?
- What is the CLV of each customer for every product in my company?
- Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC)
What is your cost of acquiring a new customer? This refers to the difference between the revenue generated from a customer and the costs spent in getting or serving that customer. Here are some questions you can ask:
- What is your cost of acquiring a new customer for each of your business channel/model?
- What is the cost of acquiring a new customer in each of your customer segments?
- Cost Per Conversion (CPC) / Cost Per Lead (CPL)
This refers to how much it costs you on average to generate one lead from your marketing efforts, or how many conversions are generated by each element of your marketing activity? For example, if you spend $1000 on digital ads, and you generate 100 leads, your CPC is $10. Ideally, assuming all things remaining equal, the lower the CPC/CPL, the more successful your marketing campaigns are. You should preferably be reducing your CPC/CPL as you optimises your marketing efforts. Questions you should ask include:
- What is the CPC/CPL from each of my marketing activity?
- What is the CPC/CPL of a similar business in my industry?
- Form Conversion Rates
This metric examines the number of leads you generate as a result of your content marketing efforts. Here are some questions that you should ask yourself if you are using this metric.
- How many leads do each of your landing page generate?
- Are your marketing efforts to drive traffic to each landing page worth it?
- What is the percentage of traffic that bounced off the forms?
- Social Media Reach
You can also measure success through the engagement that you are getting from your social media networks. For example, here are some questions you can ask:
- What type of posts generate the most engagement from different platforms?
- How many leads, if any, are you getting from each social media network?
Although I would not view social media as a channel to generate leads, but rather to generate brand awareness, which may or may not eventually lead to sales. But it helps if you know how well each of your social platform performs, and which one works best for your business. In this way, you can work on optimising it to work more effectively and efficiently.
There are many more marketing metrics, such as audience behaviours, traffic metrics, traffic sources, mobile traffic, click-through rates, etc.
- Multi-Touch Attribution
Multi-touch attribution is a marketing effectiveness measurement technique that takes into consideration all of the touchpoints along a consumer’s journey and assigns fractional credit to each so that you can see how effective each channel is. There are many models of multi-touch attribution, and you should look at each one to decide which one will work best for your business. There should be many questions you need to ask for this technique, but here are some critical ones:
- Multi-touch attribution models: which one works better for my products?
- What is the role of each touchpoint for each of my product?
Armed with all these marketing metrics, you would be able to tell whether your marketing strategy is delivering high-quality leads and converting them into sales. You would also be able to understand what triggers conversions among each segment of your customers, where you can better spend your precious marketing dollars, hence optimising your budget to ensure that you get the best results for the amount you are going to spend.
D3: Generating Critical Insights for Action
While measuring data is important, having data without insights is useless as it will not lead to an increase in your revenue or ROI if you do not know how to use them to take action.
In order to be able to do that, you need to be equipped with the knowledge to connect metrics to certain concepts. For example, if you have two campaigns, and one of them was doing better, it is not enough to just know that. You need to associate these metrics with other information, so that you team can understand what happened, and hence use the same strategy to create new and better campaigns that can perform on the same level or even better. For instance, the campaign that performed better could be because a particular image used in the campaign performed better to a specific audience type, or copy A appeals better to another audience type than copy B. Such insights will help you and your team understand the bigger picture and run a better campaign in future.
D4: The Importance of Qualitative Data
Relying just on quantitative data is not enough. Qualitative data is important too because without the context of such data, you will not be able to fully understand your marketing campaigns.
After the end of each campaign, you should review qualitative data such as online discussions and reviews, comments on forums and social media, customers’ YouTube videos, and anything related to your campaign. Such data might be more difficult to obtain, but missing these will mean that you will not be able to analyse how your audience feels about your products and/or services, what they think, and what they will decide to do in future. These are important because they mean new business opportunities for your business and any negative data can provide feedback for you to improve your business.
D5: Monitoring and Adjustment
The final step in analysis is to ensure that you always monitor your data, and also adjust them accordingly to maximise your ROI. This is important because you could be missing out on some key data that you need, or you may be collecting useless data for your purposes, or
You should take note of the following even when all your data or business are moving in the right direction:
- Ensure that you are in control of the data processes and the data that you are measuring.
- Ensure that you adjust every little thing that you can optimise with the insights and analysis that you obtain from your data.
- Ensure that you also try new ways of creating your campaigns, with suggestions from your data.
With a strategy in place, every employee in your company would be on the same page and would know the steps that they need to take in order to reach the goals of the organisation. But putting together a successful strategy would not just happen overnight. In fact, it could be weeks or months of extensive research, brainstorming and planning, and there are many factors that must be considered, many of which I have covered throughout this guide. That said, every business is different, and every marketing strategy is different. An experienced strategist would be able to look at all the nuances of your business to pull together a scalable marketing strategy that would work effectively and efficiently to help you achieve your objectives.
Note: I have the entire strategy in an easy-to-digest infographic. Drop me an email for a high resolution version.