It is important to have a written marketing strategy to help businesses grow and develop in a disciplined way. It involves choosing realistic, measurable and ambitious goals that will help the business achieve sustainable growth and identifying actions that will help you achieve these. This article explains how a marketing strategy can be developed and used properly in a small business to ensure it has a competitive advantage.
It can be used to develop a Marketing Plan (where a business will identify tactics they will implement to achieve these goals within a prescribed timetable).
What does a Marketing Strategy Look like?
There are a number of templates and models that can help. For a small business with limited resources it may be more useful to understand the thinking behind the process and set up a template that you may find useful.
- Identify Goals that are SMART.
SPECIFIC – goals that are well defined and focussed – e.g. get 2 Local Authority customers in the East Midlands.
MEASURABLE - e.g. increase your sales by 25% (rather then just grow sales).
ATTAINABLE – be realistic and set goals that are too outlandish
TIME-BASED – choose a time frame to accomplish your task e.g. increase sales by 25% over the next quarter
Now break down each Goal into specific tasks and celebrate each success.
Figure 1: Simple Goal setting table
How Do I start?
1. Assess your present business and Market using SWOT Analysis
Talk to your customers, suppliers and employee to give you feed back Strengths and Weaknesses-
2. Using a PEST Analysis to identify how broader business environmental changes will impact on your business
Political and regulatory. Will new laws change the way you have to operate?
Economic. How is the economy affecting you?
Social and cultural. How are social trends affecting your customers' needs?
Technological. Are you making best use of available technology? Do you know what developments are on the horizon?
You may also find adding Legal and Environmental measures to this and identify any impact of these in your business.