Marketing has evolved over the years from an environment focused on product and sales to one more concerned with customers for life; customer focus is more important than a quick sale.
A marketing strategy is a business direction to help guide a business when making decisions. The strategy is based on goals, a competitor and a review of the market and is set on time scales.
In fact, anyone can register a company at the registered office, open a bank account and even acquire customers. For a business to be successful, you need a marketing strategy that segments, targets and positions your product to a specific customer, at the right price and at the right time.
Consumers come in all different shapes and sizes. Segmentation allows a company to divide these buyers into different groups and control their characteristics so that they can better meet customer needs.
The most common segmentation is by gender, age and geographic region. Other segmentation variables may include;
– Socioeconomic: social class (A, B1, B2, etc.)
– psychographics: beliefs and values
After segmenting the entire market, the next step is to target your product or service to a key area. The alternative is mass marketing; a product promoted to all segments of the market.
An example of targeting can be found in the insurance industry. There are auto insurance providers for women only. The gender has been divided because women are statistically safer drivers, which is what insurance providers want.
The positioning of your product is very much in the mind of the consumer. It is the responsibility of the company to convey the segment and the target audience they want. For example, there are some car insurance companies that target women by positioning their product using catchy jingles and pink cars.
The marketing mix (7P’s)
Your marketing strategy will support your marketing mix (marketing plan). The marketing mix is a plan to focus your business, set standards, and target specific markets.
The marketing mix consists of;
Product – What do you sell? Who do you sell it to?
Price – How much does it cost? Are there any discounts? Is your pricing strategy penetration or skimming?
Place – How does your product get to market? Through which channels do you sell?
Promotion – How do you communicate and sell your product?
People – Who is involved in the process? What do they say about you?
Process – What happens during the manufacturing/purchasing process?
Physical Evidence – Are buildings, brochures, or packaging (anything tangible) important? If so, what is your position regarding these?
A marketing strategy will differentiate your brand from the competition, while your marketing mix will allow you to focus your product on a specific market for a specific consumer.
Most companies think strategically but don’t put it in writing. This is a dangerous approach when your business starts to grow and you employ staff. Everyone has a vision of how a company should grow, but only the CEO or owner can guide the company and everyone else must follow his lead. A marketing strategy will guide the business in the short, medium and potentially long term as well.