Creating a marketing strategy is fundamental to any new business launch. It’s also the same approach that existing companies take when bringing a new product/service to market or setting new goals for an existing business.
So what is a marketing strategy, and why is it important?
Let’s start with a quote from one of my favourite Marketing Gurus; Philip Kotler. He explains that:
“A marketing strategy outlines which customers it will serve and how it will create value. It contains the marketing mix: the tools used to implement the strategy, which are the four Ps: product, price, place and promotion.”
I use Kotler’s example here, because in 2002, whilst in my Marketing classes at Nottingham Trent University, it was his whole methodology that became my ‘Marketing Bible.’
I’ve since built and sold businesses based on his fundamental strategies.
Marketing Strategy Template
I’m going to take you through my own marketing strategy template, which covers all the elements in Kotler’s quote, and show you how to put his theories into practice in your own business. Here’s the Touchpoints Marketing Strategy Template so you can use the headers and create your own from scratch.
TO DO: Start with a blank A4 document and add the 12 titles listed here, and then write everything you find out, you already know and also what you learn in the process, so it’s all in one place.
1. Carry out research to confirm there’s a need
This is the groundwork for your marketing strategy, it’s the foundations you dig to build a house. You need to identify that there’s a need for the business you’re creating.
Too many times I’ve seen people set up in business with a hobby, because they love doing that ‘thing’ and want to make it pay their bills.
That CAN work, but only if there’s a need from a customer who is willing to pay for the product or service.
You could conduct online surveys, perhaps in relevant Facebook groups or ask people for 10 minutes of their time on the phone to chat about how your idea would help them.
Resist the temptation to ask too many friends and family for their opinion at this stage, ask people who you think will be your target audience.
People you don’t know will be brutally honest whereas friends and family could be overly positive to be kind, or if they don’t resonate with the target audience, totally miss the reason why anyone would want to buy it from you.
2. Confirm what the product or service is going to be
So now you know there’s a real ‘need’ for your idea to manifest, it’s time to progress and flesh out more details, based on the feedback you have from the research.
Your initial idea may have changed slightly now, to fit the customer need even closer.
Write down exactly what the product or service will look like.
- If it’s a new product, list the number of internal parts, dimensions, materials, even details about product packaging and consider the postal capabilities if it’s to be sent by post.
- If it’s a new service, ask yourself questions like: Where does it take place? What does it include/not include? How does the customer know when it has ended? How is it invoiced?
The more you can clarify at this stage, the better. If you’re not sure on any elements, these can still be stress-tested at number 5 below.
3. Identify your target market
You will have considered this a lot in #1, and it may have changed from your concept already. Now, with more clarity, you need to narrow down who is the target market for your product or service. Ideally, you’ll create an ‘Avatar,’ where you know everything about your target audience In my Online Resource Hub, you’ll find some free downloadables, including:
- 5 Reasons Why You Should Narrow Down Your Target Audience
- 5 Simple Steps To Reveal Your Ideal Target Audience
These will guide you through why you need to narrow it down and also how to do it. If you have multiple products, it’s quite normal to target different avatars for those products. It takes a bit more work, granted, but chances are you’re also spreading the risk of your business rather than putting all eggs into one basket with one product and one type of customer.
4. Identify the VALUE that you create for your target market
This overlaps slightly with the USP (Unique Selling Point) of your product or service, where you consider the unique ways that your business helps your target customer in a way that is different to your competition. My friend Philip Kotler has his own take on this, he also looks at the USP as an ESP (EMOTIONAL selling point) and highlights how Ferrari and Rolex sell cars and watches respectively, yet the prices they command are so much higher as they appeal to an emotional need. Makes sense right? What you’re also trying to get to the bottom of right now is the VALUE are you creating for the customer? What problem are you solving for them? What emotional need do they have that you help? What transformation do you create? This is hard to pinpoint and might take some time, but it’s really important to consider it at this point in the marketing strategy process.
5. Check your product or service matches your target market
It’s good practice at this point to make sure that everything is aligned. A double-check if you like. This ensures that you’re not heading into any areas where you’re starting to spend time and energy on something that might not work. Conduct some more research at this stage. Run the whole concept by some real people who fit your target audience. Ask them to sign an NDA (Non-Disclosure Agreement if your idea is something that could be trademarked or patented). You still have the ability to tweak anything at this stage and it’s not going to cost too much to pivot compared to later down the line.
6. Now for the pricing structure
I always say there are 3 ways to get to your idea price.
- Firstly, you add up all of the fixed costs of the product AND the business. Don’t forget intangible costs such as insurances or legal fees; they need to be included in the price too. Then divide by the number of product you’re estimating to sell, and you have your raw product costs. This is a base to start from and add on your profit margin, plus a buffer! (Note: If you’re selling to a retailer, you need to factor in that they would realistically take 50% of the retail price, so your 50% needs to include the raw costs, plus your profit margin. Delivery is to be considered too, is it included in your costings, or added on top?)
- Secondly, what are customers prepared to pay? You may have discussed this with them in stages 1 and 5, but it would be great to understand where your product sits in their estimations, and also if you’re pitching this at the exclusive (low volume, high price) market, the middle of the road, or the budget end (high volume, low price).
- Finally, and this is something I say with a pinch of salt; competitor analysis. Check out who is doing what and be aware of the marketplace, however, its’ not something that you should be dictating your prices by.
7. Create your sales funnel
I talk about this in more depth in my Marketing MOT online course where you can carry out an audit of your existing marketing strategy, like a car has an annual MOT check.
To simplify things here, let’s look at 4 key areas; AIDA (Awareness, Interest, Desire and Action).
Imagine a big funnel, with awareness written at the top. The rim is very wide. This is like the amount of customers you need to put into the top of the funnel.
Once you’ve made potential customers aware, you need to gain their interest. Some will drop away and the amount you have left has reduced very slightly.
Generating desire is next, and that’s when you pull your customers further down the funnel. Again, not all will develop to this stage.
Finally, the very bottom of the funnel is where the tube is very thin. These customers have passed the tests; they desire your product or service and are ready to take action and purchase.
8. Decide what your Marketing Touchpoints will be
If you’ve ever been on safari, you’ll know that there’s a BIG FIVE to look out for. Usually includes elephants, rhino, lions, hippo and cheetah. But, this changes depending where you are. For me, it’s the same when you’re choosing your marketing touchpoints. Concentrate on your top five, but be aware that they will be different to any other business. Touchpoints are hundreds of ways that your business reaches customers to remind them who you are or what you do. Five examples could be your website, social media, email marketing, PR (Public Relations) and using social proof (Testimonials and proof that other people are buying your products). If you’re struggling to decide what these are, I’d love to help you, feel free to book in for a 1 hour ‘Power Hour’ Zoom consultation and let’s get that ticked off your list!
9. Create a Gantt chart for your marketing strategy
A what chart?
Gantt charts are great for creating one place where everything is put into order, to give you clarity about your marketing plans.
Named after Henry Gantt, an inventor around 1915, it maps out the projects with tasks and dates and showcases what needs to be done and when. I love these.
In a nutshell, you list your relevant marketing activities, launch, distribution and execution.
It’s also better to think in timelines of ‘campaigns’ not necessarily in weeks or months. The example in the link above showcases a ‘Valentines Day’ campaign, which spans 8 weeks.
10. Who are you going to instruct to help you?
Now you know what you’re selling, who to and how that’s going to happen, you need to create a support network (which could be one business, multiple freelancers or an internal team) whom you can rely on to help you to execute it all.
At this point, the more you can automate in your marketing strategy, the better. Invest in people who know how to set up systems and take work off your to do list, so you can concentrate on the overarching business matters, or even the next products or services to bring to market (start at #1 again for that!)
If you’re looking for Freelancers, get in touch with me, as I have an army of brilliant marketing graduates who have taken my Marketing Maverick’s course, and are ready to support businesses like yours, right now!
We want to get your business to an ideal scenario, where all marketing happens like clockwork.
11. Set aside time to review
Every month, it’s really important to take time out to review how your marketing strategy is performing.
If you’re like me, it’s actually easier to track this by the moon cycle rather than the calendar month, as our energies change throughout the lunar cycle. Check out this video and PDF that explains how to do your Marketing Around The Moon.
Whichever timeframe you work to, it’s vital that you can track the ROI (Return on Investment) and understand how you can increase that over time?
Please note: some marketing activities may not ‘seem’ to return a positive ROI to the bottom line. This can include magazine advertising (if it’s not tracked with some form of discount code) PR, or social media marketing.
These methods (dependent upon the BIG FIVE that you chose in Number 8 above) may be about brand building, rather than returning direct sales.
So let’s take a moment to think; what might you change in your marketing process to move things up a gear?
12. Grow your customers to be loyal
This marketing strategy also needs to determine how you’ll look after existing customers.
Because (depending on your product and service) it’s 5-25 times more expensive to acquire a new customer than to keep an existing one.
Consider how you’ll nurture the relationship, how you’ll keep them informed of new products and services that they might want to add on, upgrade to, downgrade to and so on.
Ask them what they want, and how they want to know about it. After all, there’s no point in second guessing!
I hope you’ve found my 12 point Touchpoints Marketing Strategy Template useful, if you need any further support, please get in touch.
How can I help YOUR business?
If you’d prefer a helping hand with this, I have a 1-2-1 Marketing Masterplan service available, where we work on the key areas of your marketing together, and at the end I type up your report for you to share with the team. Find out more about the Masterplan service here: