All companies know that in order to grow their business, they need to keep finding new customers and that means marketing. However, the breakdown starts to happen when marketing departments get overworked, or a company doesn't have their own department to help them through the planning process.
The availability of social networking, location-based apps and the sheer number of marketing opportunities right now can be a bit overwhelming. Where do you even begin? In order to make sense of what you need to do, you've got to have a clear marketing plan and you're going to need to employ some strategic marketing to implement that plan.
By strategizing and breaking down each step of the process, you can develop a solid marketing plan that will position your business where you want it to be.
Finding Your Target Market
So, you know you want more customers that's a given. But, what kind of customers do you want? Developing your target market not only helps you learn about who your customers are, but also what they want. This is a vital piece of information you need to take your company to the next level.
Go through your current customer database and develop profiles for your customer groups. Find the common thread and you'll learn just who you need to be targeting in order to successfully market your products or services.
Locating Your Target Market
Now that you know who your target market is, the next step is finding where they are. Thanks to social networking, this is easier than ever. Let's say you're in the B2B marketplace -- where would you go to find potential new customers? LinkedIn would be a great choice for you. Need to find that key demographic of 18-35 year olds? You need to get on Facebook and Twitter.
By laser targeting your focus on where your market can be reached, you're not only saving time and money, you're also improving your return on investment (ROI) and ensuring that your company isn't falling into the trap of the shotgun approach.
Developing Your Strategy
You've made it this far, you now know who your target market is and where they can be found. It's time now to develop your strategy. Remember, social networking is great for networking and brand building, but it's not suited for aggressive marketing tactics and sales talk. It's perfectly fine to mention sales but it should be done with restraint.
Instead, you need to find ways to drive more people on these social services to your site. Using strategic marketing, you can do this by feeding your social activities into your blog (if you dont have a blog already start one now) and using targeted advertising on these sites.
It's perfectly fine to start small and do a few test runs, that's what strategic marketing is all about getting you more bang for your buck!
Implementing the Strategy
All that's left to do now is begin implementing your strategy. You've got the who, what, where and how time to start on the when! Once you begin your strategic marketing campaign, it is absolutely vital to have at least some sort of analytics program working for you. This will help you gauge response, fine-tune your campaigns and provide you with more detailed demographic data. Running a strategic marketing campaign without analytics is literally a shot in the dark.
Remember, not every campaign is going to work, but every campaign is part of a learning process and reveals what you need to know about your target market and how to provide what they need.
These questions are things that you can answer inhouse or with a full-service marketing agency or branding team.
Check back next week for an indepth look at the vital componants of a modern marketing plan.