Marketing is an essential component of all businesses. It adds value to the business, and it helps build strong, long-lasting customer relationships. A company’s marketing process can define what the brand looks like to customers.
Marketing is your company’s outer appearance to the world. It should reflect the business you are running. If you have not fully mapped out a proper market process, you may fall behind in the industry.
Marketing will help you improve your public relations, promote new products or services and gain more customers. Because of that, your marketing plan must be cutting edge.
What is a Strategic Marketing Process?
Marketing is all about strategy. A strategic marketing process invokes specific steps to help your business reach its goals. This process helps you identify what your customer is looking for. It allows you to develop products and perfect services.
It all involves the act of setting goals. You must analyze certain factors to determine how those goals are achievable. This process includes several different factors. By defining those factors, your marketing process will provide growth in the industry.
Essential Steps for a Successful Strategic Marketing Process
There are five steps involved in this marketing process. Each step will help align your business goals to your marketing performance.
The steps to a successful marketing process are:
- Situation Analysis.
- Marketing Plan.
- Developing Marketing Mix Decisions.
- Implementation and Control.
It is important that you know your company’s mission. You will find it written somewhere on the company’s other promotional materials.
The mission statement should detail why the company is doing business. What keeps the business going? Why are they dedicated to this business? These are questions that the mission statement should answer. It can be straight-to-the-point or inspirational.
The point of this mission statement will help you plan for marketing. It is difficult to detail a marketing plan when you do not know what your business is seeking to do. You must know why you are in business in order to market for that reason.
For example, “Forbes” magazine details a mission statement that illustrates their desire to spread information to the business community. The Walt Disney Company’s mission statement discusses its desire to provide entertainment. Depending on the company, your mission statement will reflect a different desire than other businesses (or similar desires of your competition).
For marketing purposes, the mission statement allows you to stay focused on a certain goal. As you produce your marketing, you can ask yourself, “Does this fulfill our mission statement?” or “Does this help us fulfill our mission statement?”
You should test this mission properly to ensure they are achievable. Your mission guides many marketing endeavors. It is important to properly guide it.
If you need to, you can ask yourself these questions when you are evaluating your mission statement:
- What do we do?
- How do we do it?
- What value are we bringing to the industry?
Next, you must evaluate different factors that could affect your business.
These factors could be external or internal. For example, an external factor is the Covid-19 pandemic. The pandemic affected many businesses. It even caused some businesses to close their doors for a little while.
An internal factor could be high turnover or a change in management. An external factor could cause an internal factor, melding the two.
Analyzing internal and external factoid will showcase strengths and weaknesses. It will bring to light certain things you can do to adapt to various factors.
Many businesses adapted to a changing market during the pandemic to avoid closing. Many businesses had to adapt to decreasing resources because of the pandemic as well.
A thorough analysis should include SWOT. SWOT stands for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. It is a common acronym used in the business world. Each letter should answer these questions:
- Strengths: What do we do well? What can we control? What resources can we pull from? What does the world see as our strength?
- Weaknesses: What do we not do well? What can we improve on? Where do we have fewer resources than the competition? What do we do well that still needs improvement? What does the world see as our weakness?
- Opportunities: What opportunities do we have? What trends or fads can we utilize? How can we turn strength into continued opportunities?
- Threats: What is our competition doing well? What could harm us in this industry? Do our weaknesses pose any immediate threats? How can we handle threats?
This analysis will help you decipher critical problems and impressive feats in your business. It will also show that simply because something is a strength does not mean it cannot be changed.
If your company’s strength is innovation, you can continuously improve upon that. The market changes so frequently that businesses must always be adapting even if it is a strength.
By knowing and understanding these factors, you can identify where your market lies. From there, you can pinpoint steps to achieve and win over that market.
Your analyses have given you opportunities to utilize them.
You can map out which ones are the most beneficial to you and your business. A marketing plan is a tool to specify your ideal customer and how you will reach them.
The information you gathered from the previous two steps will help you build this section of your process.
Define Your Target Audience
A target audience is crucial to your business. You cannot reach the entire market. So, you need to narrow down your focus to produce marketing catered to them.
Some businesses can have different target audiences for different products. Apple often does this. Years ago, they released phones that were cheaper with bright colors to appeal to the younger generations.
Disney is also great at this. They often appeal to many different generations through live action remakes. Doing so reopens their brand to old and new audiences with one movie.
However, many businesses will not achieve this. Expanding your market to fit most audiences is difficult, especially as you are just beginning to define your marketing process. For that reason, you must stick to one target audience at this time.
It makes the planning process much easier for you if you are only thinking of one demographic.
For your target audience, consider the geography, demography, behaviors, and psychographic.
Geography covers where people live. If people live in Canada or Greenland, selling bathing suits to them year-round would not be effective.
Demographics refers to age, gender, jobs, income and marital status. This is helpful because people who are starting families shop and consume differently than people in other stages of their lives. You must determine who you want your product to cater to.
Behavioral asks you to think about the consumer’s decision-making, price sensitivity and brand loyalty patterns. If someone tends to be more sensitive to price, you should not build a luxury brand around them.
Psychographic asks you to think about values, beliefs and lifestyle.
From here, you must research what your customer wants. Their needs will help you cater to them throughout your business’s life. The more information you gather about your target audience, the more you can cater to them as customers.
Set Measurable Goals
You must set goals that are achievable. Setting goals that are far-fetched and impossible will not help your business.
Your goals also need detail. By detailing goals, you can track milestones and measure how your business has grown.
Ultimately, your goals should set you up for success. They should provide a proper timetable, and the means to achieve that timetable. The goals should prove clear and concise information with enough detail to fully understand them.
Identify and Set a Marketing Budget
A marketing budget is critical.
You must allocate funds to properly support your marketing budget. Your budget should include costs like advertising, branding, public relations, staffing and more. Your budget should also be affordable for your company. You may have to make tough decisions in order to reach that affordability.
Developing Marketing Mix Decisions
Once you have reached this stage, it is important to brainstorm the “how” aspect of your marketing planning.
Your marketing mix will consist of the Four Ps: product, price, promotion and place.
The Four Ps guide you to understand your product and your customers. Using the situation analysis and target audience steps we have completed, you will develop your marketing mix.
The product is self-explanatory. What are you selling? Is it a service?
You should think of a product or service as solving an issue. Consumers have a need to fill, and a specific product or service will fill that need. You must understand what your product or service solves for consumers. Why are they buying this product?
You also should always remain aware of your competitors. Your competitors are always great indicators of how you are doing in the market and how you can improve. Keep in mind how your product compares to other similar products on the market.
How much is your target audience willing to pay? How much do you have to sell this product to profit?
You also must factor in discounts and sales throughout the year. Sometimes, consumers look at price as a basis of quality. Keep in mind that your product’s price may illustrate its quality indirectly. You must set a fair price that customers will pay.
This is where the analysis about what your target audience’s price sensitivity is comes into play. If your target audience does not buy luxury products, you should not be pricing your product as such.
How will you communicate with your consumers? How will you get the word out about a new product?
Promotion should educate consumers about a product or service you have available to them. This includes everything from advertising to social media.
Are you selling your product online or do you have a brick-and-mortar shop? Physical stores come with an additional cost of rent and upkeep. However, online stores also cost money. Brick and mortar stores seem to be quickly losing steam. However, there are also some demographics that prefer a physical store.
What is best for the customer? Some consumers prefer online shopping. Others enjoy going into a store. You must decide what works best for your target audience.
Implementation and Control
Everything you just learned is well and good on paper, but you also must implement it.
How are you going to launch your plan? You can reach out to customers to persuade them to use your product. Promotional emails go a long way. You can also use online surveys to help get to know your customers.
From there, you need resources to proceed. Marketing your product and finding staff costs resources.
Be ready to adapt. The market is ever-changing. You will have times when adaptation is necessary. That is okay. You should adapt your marketing process to meet the changing needs of your customers. A business is never stagnant. Keep your goals handy in case you need to adapt them in the future.
Always monitor your competitors. The adaptations they are making will help you as well. If they are adapting to a changing marketing, you should be as well.
Remember to stay focused and organized. Your team will follow suit.
Marketing is a business’s biggest tool. Marketing tells the world who your business is. Because of that, a marketing plan and process should include strategic steps. You want to be in control of how you represent your business Continue to monitor your marketing plan and adapt for success. This will help you pinpoint where you are thriving and where you need work. Marketing can help you do just that. From a social media post to a billboard in Times Square, marketing tells the world who you are. The power in defining how your business’s marketing plays out is indescribable. Follow these five steps to find success in your marketing process.
For more information about the five steps of the marketing process, contact Selling Revolution today.