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What does a marketing strategy entail?

A marketing strategy is key to the success of any organisation, no matter what products or services are offered, or what size the business is. Small businesses should follow a similar marketing strategy to those used by larger companies. However, there will be different approaches that will prove more effective for you. Let's take a look at the top things a marketing strategy should include.

What is a marketing strategy?

A marketing strategy is a solid plan for connecting with people and converting them into customers, clients, supporters, etc. A marketing strategy includes your organisation’s unique value proposition, target audience and brand messages. It forms part of a larger marketing plan which outlines marketing activities and timing. It's essentially a roadmap you follow to grow your business in awareness, reputation and sales/conversions. Keep your marketing strategy simple, to reflect key goals of your business. Be clear on which channels you plan to use to market your business and the results you hope to achieve within budget.

Unique Value Proposition

What makes your business different from the rest? What makes you stand out from your competitors? Think about your unique selling point and communicate that clearly in your key messages.

Target Audience/Customers

At the start of new business development, or if you're in a phase of change, you must have your target customers clearly defined. This starts with identifying their demographics - age, gender, ethnicity, location, and their interests. Be clear about how your products and services serve them - how you will essentially enhance their lives. You'll then be able to tailor your marketing strategy towards them, using language they relate to, through social media channels, imagery, video, content marketing, ads and public relations. 

Brand messages

Brand messages are the words, phrases and sentences written and delivered verbally to reflect and describe your business and unique value proposition. The key messages need to be carefully crafted, either by you, or your marketing person, or an external consultant. Key messages are what you would communicate to your target audience - your elevator pitch. While you’re at it, write brand positioning statements of varying lengths. Also, create a slogan/tagline and a mission statement. Catchy, succinct messages not only help with marketing communications but also ensure you and your staff are well-versed at describing what your business does. Once you’ve refined your key messages, apply them to your sales and marketing material - website, presentations, social media accounts, brochures, press releases and advertisements.

Web-based marketing strategies

A few more techniques that could form part of your overall marketing strategy - blogging, link building, infographics, eDMs (electronic direct mails), motion graphics, influencer marketing. There's also social media marketing, where the goal is to update followers and eventually convert them into customers.

Traditional marketing strategies

Direct mail drops, product gifts and promotions are few and far between these days. It helps to include traditional marketing techniques in your strategy; you could reach an audience that you may not find online. Aligning with a non-profit organisation or sponsoring a local community group or a school's sports team are some other ways to get your brand noticed.