Marketing a product, a service, or exploring a brand new market must be carried out carefully. An appropriate marketing strategy must be employed to optimize the company's possibilities for success and direct it towards new growth opportunities. This guide aims to assist you in developing and implementing an efficient marketing strategy.
It is sometimes complex to persuade a customer that your product is what they need, especially when the objective is to find a place in a highly competitive market. In pursuit of its goals, an organization must be able to define an appropriate and coherent market strategy, aimed at optimizing the chances of success. From developing the product or service to highlighting its main advantages, including setting its price and distributing it on the market, no aspect should be neglected. The approach to a market must result in a well-thought-out and adapted marketing strategy .
What is a marketing strategy?
A marketing strategy establishes a set of methods and actions to be deployed to enable a company to achieve its sales objectives on the scale of a specific market, by seeking in particular to create an optimal match between the offer and the demand from the targeted clientele.
Marketing strategy integrates many parameters, such as price, product quality, market needs, competition, and seeks to harmonize them to convince an audience of the relevance of a product, to distinguish it, to establish a brand within a given territory or towards a targeted population.
It is she who defines in particular the particularities of the product or service, in other words its value proposition, taking into account the needs of the customers. It determines the level of quality and price, the services associated with the offer with the intention of guaranteeing customer satisfaction.
By constantly questioning the market, trends, competition, risks and opportunities, it evolves with the ambition of stimulating sales according to the objectives that the company has set itself.
Marketing strategy also encompasses the logistical challenges of production, distribution of the product or service, opportunities for market expansion and possibilities for achieving economies of scale.
Marketing strategy refers to a structured approach that is intrinsically linked to business strategy and its organization, with the aim of supporting its long-term development.
Why implement a marketing strategy?
A company operates within a market where it meets its existing or potential customers and its competitors. The first reason that pushes a company to develop a marketing strategy must therefore be to meet the explicit and implicit expectations of this market.
Designing an effective web strategy requires defining your short- and long-term goals. It is by knowing your precise aspirations that you will be able to guide your decisions. The challenge lies in transforming overall business goals into performance indicators for your online presence.
Specific, quantifiable goals are essential. Avoid vague and unmeasurable goals such as:
- Lead generation
- Raising awareness among prospects about your products or services
- Acceleration of the sales process
- Increased site traffic
- Improved conversions
- Building a community around your brand
Instead, prefer goals like: reaching 10,000 new unique visitors per month within a year. Your goals must be Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timely defined, hence the acronym SMART.
It is essential to establish a timetable for achieving your goals, so you will set a realistic deadline for their achievement.
It is also crucial to be able to evaluate whether or not your goals have been achieved. Success indicators will help you determine if you have succeeded. In the example above, the number of new unique visitors per month would be the KPI to monitor.
There are many other good reasons to implement a marketing strategy . Such an approach can aim for very varied objectives. We noted a few of them.
Ensure product visibility
Once the qualities of the product or service have been established , a marketing strategy will seek to implement various means to ensure its visibility and make the offer known to a targeted audience.
Seduce and persuade the customer
Thanks to a good understanding of the customer's expectations, the marketing approach will develop the most suitable arguments to seduce and persuade them.
Stand out from the competition
Within a given market, the planned marketing approach must also make it possible to stand out from the competition, by promoting or developing competitive advantages.
Improve the company image
The marketing strategy should be part of a long-term vision, with the intention of strengthening the company's brand image among various consumer segments.
Develop new activities in new markets
Thanks to a well-structured and coherent marketing approach, the company can tackle new markets in a relevant way. A good knowledge of consumers and their needs also makes it possible to reorient offers or propose new ones.
Seek economies of scale
The marketing strategy is developed to allow the company to benefit from economies of scale. By optimizing the production and distribution of its products, a company can reduce its unit costs and increase its margins.
Now that you understand the importance of marketing strategy and its potential benefits for your business , let's look at how to develop such a strategy.
Steps to Develop a Marketing Strategy
Understand your target market
Before developing a marketing strategy, it is crucial to understand who your potential customer is. What are his needs? His motivations? Its brakes? What are their purchasing behaviors? This in-depth knowledge of the target market will help you tailor your product and message appropriately.
Analyze the competition
Understanding who your competitors are, what they offer and how they do it is an essential step. This will allow you to differentiate yourself and offer something unique to your customers.
Define your unique value proposition (UVP or USP)
The UVP or USP is what sets your product or service apart from others in the market. This is why customers choose your product over the competition's.
Determine your product positioning
How do you want your product to be perceived by your target audience? Positioning determines the place you want to occupy in the minds of your customers and how you want them to perceive and understand your product.
Develop the marketing mix (the 4Ps)
Product, Price, Place (Distribution), and Promotion. This will help you decide what your product is, how much it will cost, how you distribute it, and how you promote it. We would even add people to make it the 5 Ps.
Implement the strategy
Once you've developed your strategy, it's time to implement it. This could mean developing new products, setting up advertising campaigns , optimizing the distribution of your products, etc.
Measure and adjust
Once your strategy is in place, you need to measure it regularly to see if it is achieving the goals you set for yourself. If not, it's important to adjust your strategy accordingly.
How to create a marketing strategy?
The marketing plan must be considered in a structured manner, between strategic approach and tactical elements, to guarantee a coherent approach to the market. It starts from an analysis of the context, focuses on the potential clientele to achieve an ideal positioning of the offer through a value proposition.
Here are the main steps allowing you to establish your marketing strategy and evolve it over time:
1. Analyze market opportunities
A marketing strategy is directly linked to the company's objectives and must translate its ambitions on a market scale. Its establishment is based primarily on the opportunities that arise. The brand must consider threats and opportunities, its strengths and weaknesses, as defined by the SWOT or FFOM model in French (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats).
These elements can be of different natures. They can be linked to the intrinsic characteristics of the company, such as its size, its skills, its means of production, or even to its distribution network on a given market, to its product, to its competition. Other opportunities or threats will depend on the socio-economic context, regulations, culture, etc.
The analysis can be translated through a more or less in-depth market study. Based on the elements revealed, it must make it possible to approach the market with full knowledge of the facts and to define a coherent approach to penetrate or strengthen oneself there.
Through market research, the various customer segments, their size and their resources will be identified and analyzed.
2. Target customers
Once the market has been analyzed, it is important to be able to target customers and their needs.
Who do we want to address? What can we offer him?
The same offer, product or service, can respond to several groups of prospects, some having different characteristics from others. For example, a group of young consumers certainly does not share the same concerns as a group of seniors. And yet, everyone will need a pair of shoes to walk, a car to get around, clothes to dress themselves in. They will all nourish the desire to go out, to meet people, to go to the cinema.
To target customers, it is necessary to bring together people with similar consumer behavior within the same group.
It is interesting to extend this analysis beyond the potential end user of the product.
2.1 In this targeting process, it will be interesting to consider other profiles:
The buyer: who is the person who buys without necessarily being the recipient of the offer. If the end user is a child, it is most likely that the buyer is their father, mother or another acquaintance. A gift will never be acquired directly by the recipient, but by a third person, a relative or a friend, who wishes to please someone close to them. This is one of the basic principles of direct marketing.
The prescriber: this is the person who prescribes a service or product to the buyer. For example, a healthcare professional may recommend that a patient enroll in Pilates classes to get stronger. The doctor is then the prescriber. The role of the prescriber, due to his strength of recommendation, can be of great importance in establishing himself on a market.
Each target can be translated into a buyer persona . It is a fictitious profile which includes the characteristics specific to each target, but also the context in which they live, their expectations and desires, their tastes, their purchasing power, their consumption habits. It is a reference profile on which we can rely to build a suitable marketing approach.
3. Position the offer well
Once the clientele has been targeted, the challenge is to be able to properly position the product or service with regard to everyone's needs. It is then a matter of establishing a value proposition.
Starting with the customer's needs and expectations, adopting the consumer's perspective, it is a matter of emphasizing to them the advantages and benefits that the proposed offer will confer on them.
If the value proposition must convince users, it must also allow the company to position itself vis-à-vis the competition. This involves promoting the attributes of the product or service which will make it unique on the market and which will give it an advantage over competing offers.
3.1 Good positioning must meet the following characteristics:
- Explicit: it must be able to be directly perceived and understood by all targets
- Different and relevant : it must allow you to distinguish yourself from your competitors while best meeting the expectations of the targets.
4. Define an action plan or the “ marketing mix”
Once the targets have been determined and the value proposition(s) established, the marketing strategy consists of an action plan to enable the company to penetrate the market or strengthen itself there.
This action plan, also called marketing strategy or marketing strategy, is translated through the marketing mix.
It is structured around four main components:
- The product policy: which defines the particularities of the product, its functionalities, its quality and its robustness, etc.
- Pricing policy: it aims to establish the right price, taking into account what the consumer is prepared to pay, the costs inherent to the product or service, and the margin.
- The communication policy: it describes the means to be implemented to promote the product or service, to bring it to the attention of the consumer and to convince them.
- The distribution policy : it sets the method of distribution of the product or service, for example the network of points of sale, the distribution logistics chain, etc.
Increasingly, marketing professionals consider three other factors complementary to the first four:
- People: the members of an organization who, united around a strong corporate culture, constitute the first ambassadors of the product or service they promote.
- Processes: the way of producing and delivering a product or service to a company's customers while ensuring quality and efficiency.
- The physical environment: all the physical elements that support interaction with customers, such as the atmosphere of the premises, the packaging of a product, the design of a website .
The marketing strategy must adjust all variables to define a coherent action plan, in line with the company's objectives and customer expectations.
Monitor and adapt the strategy
The marketing strategy must also provide the means to be implemented to assess the relevance of the planned actions over time. Beyond monitoring sales and return on investment , it is particularly important to measure the effectiveness of the processes put in place, to ensure optimal distribution, to control the level of customer satisfaction or even to be able to evaluate the brand awareness among targeted consumer groups.
By carrying out checks through the implementation of various indicators (KPI), the company can identify new improvement levers to activate, elements to optimize, to get even closer to the market and customers and satisfy their needs. .
Evaluating the relevance of actions and regularly surveying consumers can also be a source of new opportunities for the company. Meeting new customers and seeking to satisfy their specific needs can lead to new development projects.
The market, like a company's objectives, is constantly evolving. Monitoring makes it possible to detect these trends, anticipate changes in the offer and adapt the strategy if necessary. A good understanding of the market also makes it possible to assess the margins for progress and to consider the actions to take to move forward.
Depending on the situation, the company can consider new approaches, think about expanding into new markets, through the implementation of an internationalization strategy for example, or even co-branding actions to get closer to a new customer segment.
Establishing a Structured Marketing Strategy
Examine Market Opportunities
A marketing strategy aligns with the company's objectives and interprets its ambitions through a commercial prism. This strategy is essentially based on the available opportunities, taking into account threats and opportunities, as well as the strengths and weaknesses of the brand, according to the SWOT model.
These factors can be intrinsic to the company, linked to the socio-economic environment or even to the product and the competition. The analysis of these elements leads to an in-depth understanding of the market, allowing a coherent marketing strategy to enter or strengthen itself.
Define the Target Customer
After a market analysis, it is crucial to identify the customer base and their needs. This involves determining who the offer is addressed to and what can be offered to them. It is important to understand that different categories of customers may have different needs for the same product or service.
To do this, we create groups of consumers with similar behaviors. The analysis should also include buyers and prescribers, who are not necessarily end users.
Positioning of the Offer
Once the customer base is targeted, the challenge is to correctly position the product or service according to the needs of each customer , by establishing a value proposition.
This proposal must highlight the advantages and benefits of the proposed offer from the consumer's point of view, while allowing the company to differentiate itself from the competition. Good positioning is explicit, different and relevant, and takes into account the market context.
Implementation of the Action Plan or “Marketing Mix”
After determining the targets and the value proposition, the marketing strategy includes an action plan to enable the company to enter the market or strengthen itself.
This action plan, or marketing strategy, is manifested through the "marketing mix", which includes the product policy, the pricing policy, the communication policy and the distribution policy. It can also include people, processes and the physical environment.
Control and Adaptation of the Strategy
The marketing strategy must also provide means to evaluate the relevance of the planned actions over time. It is important to measure the effectiveness of the processes implemented, monitor distribution, monitor the level of customer satisfaction and evaluate brand awareness.
Through these controls, the company can identify new opportunities and improve its strategy. Understanding the market makes it possible to assess the room for improvement and plan the actions to take to progress.
Marketing trends of recent years
Recent marketing trends have been heavily influenced by technological advancements , reshaping consumer behavior and the business landscape. Marketing professionals are constantly required to innovate and adapt quickly to stay closer to their customers.
Digitalization has transformed the way consumers interact with brands
The era of family television with omnipresent commercials seems to be over. Digitalization has turned our daily lives upside down, making information and social interaction easily accessible online. These changes have also disrupted the purchasing process and interactions between brands and their customers. Born-online businesses , like DNVBs, now sell their products and services directly to consumers without a middleman.
Marketing must now take digital into account to ensure brand visibility and reputation on digital platforms, enabling online sales strategies or mixed paths combining online and in-store. Digital marketing brings together all the techniques used on digital media and channels to promote products and services.
Social media marketing to establish a dialogue with the customer and create a community
Social media has become a dominant media platform, allowing individuals to connect and share content. They offer brands the opportunity to interact with consumers and create communities around their brand.
Social media marketing brings together the approaches and techniques necessary to develop a coherent strategy on these platforms. It aims to establish a relationship based on exchange and discussion with the consumer.
Omnichannel marketing to stay permanently connected with the customer and your prospects
The emergence of the web has radically changed the approach to marketing . With the evolution of mobile devices, new forms of customer interaction are possible, anywhere and anytime.
Mobile marketing brings together all practices aimed at strengthening the link between a brand and the consumer using mobile technology.
It offers innovative communication channels, such as mobile applications, notifications, SMS, MMS and geolocation services.
Content marketing to generate consumer interest
Content marketing aims to provide quality, non-commercial content related to the consumer's interests to maintain the relationship and indirectly promote the business. Today, content marketing includes the methods and techniques to strengthen the positioning of a brand through the creation, production and distribution of text, visual, audio or video content.
Inbound marketing to position yourself as an expert, attract and retain customers
Inbound marketing, an extension of content marketing , is a strategy based on the creation of content to attract visitors, convert them into prospects and then into customers.
It opposes outbound marketing, which uses untargeted and intrusive advertising. Inbound marketing aims to create an initial contact with the consumer by offering relevant content, then to maintain this relationship by regularly offering them value-added content likely to interest them.
Influencer marketing to capitalize on new ambassadors
With the advent of social media and content platforms, new personalities have emerged. Brands are now using their power of influence to promote their products or reach specific targets.
Influencer marketing involves using these influencers to increase brand awareness. This may involve commercial agreements with an influencer or content or product co-creation initiatives.
In conclusion, navigating the complex marketing landscape can be daunting. Digital transformation, social marketing, mobile, content marketing, inbound marketing and influencer marketing all represent unique opportunities but can also pose challenges.
Adopting the right marketing strategies and tactics can propel your business to a new level of visibility and success. However, this requires a deep understanding of current trends , an ability to anticipate future developments and constant adaptability to stay in step with changing consumer expectations.
At Bofu Marketing Agency , we have the passion, expertise and tools to help you navigate this ever-changing world. We will support you in developing and implementing your marketing strategy, focusing on the key areas that are most relevant to your business and industry.
Don't let the challenges of digital marketing overwhelm you. With an experienced team at your side, you can turn these challenges into opportunities. Contact us today to discuss how we can help you take your marketing strategy to new heights. The future of your business starts now, and we're ready to help you get there.