In four steps, you develop a marketing strategy: set the target, select the target group, formulate a message, select marketing instruments.
A marketing strategy is intended to show the way in which a goal can be achieved. If you want to develop a marketing strategy, you first need the goal that is to be achieved. Then the path is described on which the goal can be achieved. The target group to be addressed is determined. The message is formulated, which should arrive at the addressees. And the instruments to be used are selected.
In order to develop a marketing strategy, companies first need a goal – and a realistic one. But what is a realistic goal? Is it realistic, for example, if a hairdresser who has just become self-employed sets out to be the best-known hairdresser in Nigeria in a year’s time? Or is it realistic when a PC manufacturer who has just entered the service business announces that they want to achieve as much revenue with their services in one year as with their Hardware?
A realistic goal for the marketing strategy can be: In one year, our industrial customers should know that we now also offer services in the IT sector. In two years, we want to realize at least a small initial order in the service area for 30 percent of them. In three years, 15 percent of our regular customers should have concluded a comprehensive service contract with us.
Marketing managers reach a realistic goal if they can answer the following questions:
- What product does my company offer?
- What are its features?
- What makes it different from the competing products?
- What position does my company have on the market?
- What means are available to us?
Select target group
The financial and human resources of each company are limited. The central question is therefore: what can we do with the existing means? Not: What could we do if we had more resources? It is therefore important to use the scarce resources correctly. Which subgroups of potential customers should the marketing activities be focused on, because there are the greatest chances of success here?
A provider of high-priced mineral water can, for example, focus on scene gastronomy. His Argument: When scene gastronomy serves our products, our core target group also buys them privately. An IT system House, on the other hand, can concentrate on service companies that depend on the smooth functioning of a computer system and for which the topic of its reliability is very important.
These examples show: it is important to know the benefits of your own product. With the knowledge of the advantages of the product, a company can identify the customer groups to which these characteristics are important. And it can formulate the advertising messages in such a way that the target customers have an interest in the product or service.
Tailoring marketing messages to the needs of customers
Marketing messages can be very different depending on the company or industry. For example, a retail Discounter will use different messages than a sports car manufacturer or a PC service provider.
The marketing messages are so different because the needs of the customers are also different, even if they (apparently) buy the same product. Some pay attention primarily to the price, others to the characteristics of the product. This is the case with almost all products – regardless of whether they are consumer goods or complex capital goods.
Select marketing instruments
Once the marketing message has been formulated, it must be conveyed to the target group. Now it’s up to the selection of marketing instruments. These must be combined in such a way that the marketing goal is achieved. This requires knowledge of what can and cannot be achieved with the individual marketing instruments.
If, for example, an education provider wants to market a Seminar that already takes place in two months, press work is not a suitable means. Because until the first press releases appear, the cancellation period of the seminar hotel has probably long since expired. The company should rather rely on ads, Mailings or telemarketing.
The Situation is different for an IT service provider who wants to build a reputation as a specialist for IT security. It will be difficult for him to convey his professional competence in advertisements and advertising letters. For him, the instruments “technical articles” or “lectures at congresses” are more suitable.
The marketing strategy and its implementation concept must always be tailored to the respective company, its services and its relevant market. Otherwise they do not produce the desired effect.
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