The importance of implementing a marketing strategy in your business
“Strategy is not the consequence of planning, but the opposite: its starting point.” ― Henry Mintzberg (academic and author)
With 50% of new businesses failing in their first year, the excitement of jumping in head first and growing a business can sometimes lead to important preparation activities, such as research, strategy and planning, being left behind. Attempting to master the multiple and ever-changing marketing channels available without a clear direction can be impossible. The creation and effective implementation of a marketing strategy can be the difference between a business sinking and swimming.
Not only does a marketing strategy establish solid and tangible goals, it also provides an understanding of target markets and customers, which serves as a valuable foundation for future communication campaigns. A good marketing strategy should provide the business with focus and direction by identifying the opportunities worth pursuing, as well as the threats to avoid.
When completing your strategy, here are just some of the factors you should consider:
- Unique selling point – what makes your product or service different from competitors? Think beyond your experience in the industry
- Target market – will you be focusing on businesses or consumers? Where are they located? What is their job title etc.?
- The pricing and position of the product or service – are they aligned? Will you be offering a premium service or product at a premium price?
- Marketing materials and platforms – will you adopt social media and email marketing campaigns to attract your target market?
For inspiration, take a look at some well-known brands who have recently changed their marketing strategy in order to grow their business and generate a wider appeal:
One of the largest producers of dairy products in Europe, Müller, have produced some memorable marketing campaigns over the years, sponsoring Aston Villa football club and most recently using Nicole Scherzinger in a campaign of television commercials.
At the start of 2014, the company decided to rethink their marketing strategy and have begun training staff from other areas of the company in marketing in order to share responsibility for the brand.
Müller’s staff training scheme, “BCubed”, teaches their marketing strategy in a bid to encourage ground breaking ideas for marketing campaigns and new products throughout the company. Müller plan to hold internal workshops and have already asked staff to share new product ideas in a ballot, which took place last October.
Michael Inpong, the company’s UK Marketing Director says “Marketing is central at Müller so we need to make sure we know how it affects every part of the business.”
The Swedish furniture company, IKEA, which is famous for its flat-pack furniture, have recently implemented an updated marketing strategy.
IKEA’s past focus used to be on individual rooms; however, their new strategy highlights specific activities that take place in the home. The brands recent campaigns have been shot in a music video format, focusing on entertaining, spring cleaning and outdoor living as a way of improving your home.
IKEA’s marketing manager says “Awareness isn’t where I would like it to be and preference for the brand could be stronger.” He claims that this is because of people’s attitudes towards their homes, they’re more interested in the newest gadgets and electronic goods so they ignore the fact that their home is “falling apart” around them. Ikea hope to change this attitude with their new marketing strategy.
Coke Zero, the low calorie version of Coca Cola, was first introduced in 2005, marketed specifically at men who were seen to associate diet drinks with women.
Earlier this year, Coca Cola re-launched the product, which has come to be nicknamed “Bloke Coke”. Coke Zero have changed their marketing strategy and now hope to reach out to a “new demographic” of young people, not just men. Their new campaign plays on the slogan “Just Add Zero” and shows a young male adding “Zero” to certain aspects of his life, which become infinitely better.
Coca Cola’s Great Britain marketing activation director says “Coke Zero has seen a healthy sales growth in the UK in a short space of time and now we’re marking a new edgier direction with the ‘Just Add Zero’ platform, which we believe is a life philosophy.”
Only time will tell if the new marketing strategies adopted by the likes of IKEA and Coke Zero will be successful. To create an effective strategy, it must be simple to understand, with a realistic and clear path of action that different members of the business can apply. To generate the desired results, a strategy should be reviewed and updated throughout the year.
How we can help:
If you’re still in need of some inspiration for your marketing strategy, Growth Vouchers might be a step in the right direction.
Your business could be eligible for up to £2000 of match funding from the £30m government funded scheme. If your business is successful during the application process, the vouchers can then be spent on strategic advice in certain areas, one of which is marketing.
If you would like to find out more about the government’s Growth Vouchers scheme, click here.