7 Ways a Marketing Strategy Will Grow Your Business

“What is the best money I can spend on marketing to grow my business?” This is without a doubt the question I get asked the most by small business owners. It may seem like a question quickly followed by a “it depends” answer, however it’s actually quite easy to identify a tool that is relatively inexpensive, offers a high return on investment, and unfortunately is not commonly found in a small box. of business tools. It is a marketing strategy.

Why is a marketing strategy the most powerful tool to grow a business? The straightforward answer is that a strong marketing strategy will address today’s challenges and chart paths by which a business can grow in the future. It will audit a company’s brand and message, but it’s not limited to just branding. Rather, a marketing strategy is a combination of a big picture and detailed analysis that incorporates a wide range of marketing channels tailored to that company’s industry, market, and budget. Most of the marketing strategies I write for small businesses include a lot of elements that today’s in-house staff can do for free, resulting in a plan that won’t lead to spending a fortune. In fact, a good marketing strategy is a money-saving investment because it focuses a company’s efforts and helps prevent waste.

At this point I need to qualify my previous statement; The best money spent on marketing is a smart marketing strategy written by an experienced salesperson on behalf of a specific business, not something sketched out by a rep at a service shop (think print or web company) or generic strategy. of “small business”. ‘ Check list. For a marketing strategy to be truly effective, it must be a personalized effort that involves research, analysis, and a careful matching of opportunities with the company’s resources and budget. This can never be a quick or plug-and-play endeavor – a smart marketing strategy takes some time to develop properly. Mine usually take less than a month and are usually under $2,000.

It is important to note that while a smart marketing strategy will not push a business beyond its means, it will present a mix of opportunities that will meet immediate objectives and show pathways for growth. The advantage of a marketing strategy is that it paints a picture of a business, highlights who that business is targeting, focuses your marketing budget, and develops a timeline for reaching buyers. It does this in 7 key ways:

1. Develop the brand and message

A brand is simply the appearance and public message of a company. All companies have the beginning of a brand, an official name, and some have taken steps to identify a logo, tagline, and possibly a general color scheme or style guide. In small businesses, these are often a reflection of the owner’s personal taste rather than an assessment of the market and target buyers (I had a client years ago who chose his corporation’s color scheme from the wall paint sample from your kitchen). They may be the result of a family brainstorming effort or a flash of inspiration from the owner. Sometimes they are geographically influenced or are an attempt at a gimmick. The point is that while it’s rare to find a small business that developed its name, logo, and message as a result of true market research, it’s a universal rule that, for better or worse, small businesses will refer to these elements. like your business. Frames.

And this is where a marketing strategy comes in. A smart marketing strategy will thoroughly evaluate a company’s brand through experienced and unbiased eyes. The seller is (hopefully) not a member of the family and most likely has not seen the kitchen walls. Instead, an experienced seller will audit the brand as a buyer and seller, and assess its ability to quickly convey the story of the business, whether or not it is targeting the right buyer, and whether it is unique enough within the market to establish the business. . apart from the competition. The marketing strategy will highlight any brand challenges, inconsistencies, or weaknesses before suggesting modifications and improvements.

Unfortunately, ‘branding’ seems to be a point where many small businesses give up on their strategic efforts. A company’s brand is essential and worth a lot of effort, but ‘branding’ is not a sufficient action item to grow a business and it is not where a smart strategy ends…

2. Audits of the current program

Which nicely leads to the next stage of a strategy: auditing the current marketing program. This stage goes beyond branding to review all of the company’s marketing efforts and is an essential component of any smart strategy. It is at this stage that wasted money or effort is discovered, missed opportunities are highlighted, or when I find out that a client had started on a positive path in the past but left too soon or failed to deliver on his message. Has the company’s marketing program been well thought out or has it been a quick approach through a series of one-off efforts spread over time? This is where we find out.
My audits look for strengths as well as gaps and weaknesses in a company’s marketing program by dissecting the mix of marketing channels, promotional placements (both online and offline), frequency, and more, and then matching the entire program. with the profile of the target buyer. I spend considerable time examining the company’s marketing tools, such as its website, brochures, newsletters, and social media, and assess the company’s people resources, taking strengths into account in the final evaluation.

3. Buyer and market profiles

It may be hard to understand, but there are small businesses that are faced each year without knowing much about their own market and the buyers on whom their livelihood depends. As a marketer, it baffles me how any business can hang its shingle without taking the time to first assess who it will be selling to and gaining market share from. Questions like “how many buyers are there?”, “how would they like to be contacted?” and, “who am I competing against?” they are critical to business success because only through this knowledge can a business adapt and grow. The only way to create this profile is through research!

I start by extracting information directly from my clients through a combination of interviews and surveys filled with carefully crafted questions. I will ask and ask again until I have developed a complete profile from my client’s perspective. My job then turns to generating a buyer profile from a marketing perspective that is derived from my client’s high-level buyer description. I will dig in and research until my profile is complete, then I will compare my profile to my client’s. I hope we’re in sync, but if not, I’ll point out where we differ and assess where my client can refine their efforts.

At this point, I will also want to see the market from the point of view of my buyer profile and will “buy” the competition. I will examine the geographic reach of the company and research both demographics and local economic growth plans. All of this data will influence the final assessment of whether my client should continue in their current market or branch out into an area rich in buyers.

4. Evaluate the competition

“Who is my competition and how are we different?” That’s a question every business owner should be able to answer at any time! Business owners need to be aware of who is taking market share from them and how each competitor compares in services, quality, customer service, messaging, and overall marketing efforts. It’s great to be the best service provider available, but that won’t mean anything if the competition is signing more buyers!

For this stage of a marketing strategy, I like to shop the competition from the buyer’s perspective before comparing my findings to my own “customer store.” Since I’m an outside consultant, it’s fairly easy for me to take an unbiased buyer’s approach to most buying efforts, whether it’s B to B or B to C, and I look for easy buying situations, which might satisfy my buyer needs. encourage me to make a purchase or, on the contrary, it would discourage me as a buyer. I use these results to suggest ways my client could improve their own business message and to…

5. Determine the marketing mix

This stage of a marketing strategy is a game of ‘find the buyers’. After all, what is marketing if not an effort to communicate with buyers and attract them to a business? For me, this is the truly strategic stage of a strategy, but one that could not exist without all the previous steps. It is at this point that the strategy must answer questions such as “should a company adopt the latest trends or stick to more traditional methods?” or “what will provide the biggest impact on a limited budget?”

It’s also the stage where the experience really pays off, as there are many, many ways to spend money on marketing and only a limited number of options that will reach the right buyers. I enjoy this stage more and spend time looking under rocks to discover new options and find profitable solutions. No two strategies should ever be the same at this stage, which makes this the most personalized part of the entire process. A good strategy will look beyond paid search and Facebook ads and find new ways to present the business, within budget.

This is also the most flexible part of a smart marketing strategy. I like to include a variety of options ranging from ‘onboard right away’ to longer-term efforts that make sense once the business has grown or implemented other marketing tools. A good mix will attract multiple marketing channels and allow a business to reach buyers on many levels.

6. Find low-cost, in-house options

Many businesses already have free and low-cost marketing options available to them and may not even realize it. A good marketing strategy reviews a business’s internal options, evaluates the business as a whole, and discovers the resources that can be used in the marketing plan. I like to empower my customers and give them the opportunity to save their budget for more expensive items in the future.

7. Designs 1 – 5 Years Marketing Plan

I end each marketing strategy with a 1-year, month-to-month marketing plan. This marketing plan lists the carefully selected marketing efforts determined in the strategy and provides a timeline for when they should be launched and evaluated. For smaller companies, I try to stick to low-cost options that can be maintained in-house with optional efforts that may cost more money or should occur after an initial goal has been achieved. The most expensive or complicated opportunities are generally reserved for a 2-5 year plan and depend on the achievement of goals.

By incorporating the 7 stages above into a thoroughly researched and carefully crafted strategy, a small business will have a roadmap by which they can achieve their goals and grow their business. It’s money well spent and something a business really shouldn’t exist without!

Add a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *