Do I need a marketing strategy?
Making and using a marketing strategy has a strong positive impact on profitability. This is because small businesses that employ a marketing strategy tend to focus on their customers and markets, integrate their marketing responses and work out in advance where their profits will come from.
This briefing answers a range of questions people in small business often ask about marketing strategy:
* what is a marketing strategy?
* what's the difference between marketing strategy and business strategy?
* where does the marketing mix fit in?
* what is a marketing plan?
* what information do I need and where do I get it?
* what should my ...view middle of the document...
* New product/current market
Product development is a strategy for enhancing benefits you deliver to customers by improving your existing products and services or developing new ones.
* New product/new market
Diversification is a strategy that usually carries high costs and high risks. It often requires firms to adopt new ways of doing business and so has consequences far beyond simply offering new products/services in a new market. It is therefore usually a strategy to be adopted when other options are not feasible.
Isn't this just business strategy?
The marketing strategy focuses on markets and customers and is just one part of business strategy. Business strategy takes a broader view that includes other business functions such as manufacturing and operations, finance, quality, purchasing and supply chain, and information and communication technology. For example, a business objective may be to increase sales. Marketing objectives to achieve this would be to reach new customers, promote repeat buying among existing customers and launch new products.
Is it the same as the marketing mix?
The marketing mix is an important part of the marketing strategy and consists of the marketing 'tools' you are going to use. But marketing strategy is more than the marketing mix.
The marketing strategy sets your marketing goals, defines your target markets and describes how you will go about positioning the business to achieve advantage over your competitors.
The marketing mix, which follows from your marketing strategy, is how you achieve that 'unique selling proposition' and deliver benefits to your customers.
What then is a marketing plan?
When you have developed your marketing strategy, it is usually written down in a marketing plan. The plan usually goes further than the strategy, including detail such as budgets. You need to have a marketing strategy before you can write a marketing plan. Your marketing strategy may serve you well for a number of years but the details, such as budgets for marketing activities, of the marketing plan may need to be updated every year.
What information do I need and where do I get it?
The key in marketing strategy is to understand and match the capabilities of your firm to the opportunities available in the market. You will therefore need a range of information such as:
* Market data: data about the size and growth rate of the market, who potential customers are, what they buy, when they buy, from whom and through whom do they buy, etc
* Competitive data: data on who direct competitors are, their products, prices, etc. It also helps to identify indirect or potential competitors who may take you by surprise.
* Internal data: data within your business will help to assess the strengths and weaknesses of your product/service and its core capabilities.
Your business judgement will play a key part in deciding marketing objectives, target markets and suitable positioning strategies.
So what should...