6 Questions You Must Ask to Build a Strong Marketing Strategy
A friend once compared marketing to fishing in a community that is served by a single pond filled with extremely smart fishes – fishes with years of experience in evading hooks, nets, and trawlers.
The only means of landing a good catch from this pond is to grow smarter, faster, and more skillful than both the fishes in the water and rival fishermen in the community.
This short tale simply explains the dynamics of doing business in a highly competitive niche. i.e, despite the unlimited opportunities that abound in business today, a craftily formulated marketing strategy is the ultimate tool for winning customers over and beating your competitors at their game.
For the faint-hearted, the presence of threats and competition activates doom and gloom which eventually leads to surrender.
However, for the strong hearted, the appeal of opportunities coupled with the presence of competitive threats activates a strong marketing strategy that is aimed at winning customers over.
This strategy can be broken down to a set of questions every serious-minded business must ask to build a plan that is strong enough to eliminate threats and stronger enough to capture all the fishes in the sea.
So, get your fishing line already, set your bait and let’s get prepared to fish as we ask some important marketing questions.
1) Who is your ideal customer?
Marketing a motor vehicle in a primary school might seem like a good idea if it is targeted at the parents or the teachers. Unfortunately, if it isn’t, then you just missed your target.
This question helps you to center all of your marketing decisions, especially pertaining to pricing and location.
Your ideal customer is anyone you intend will fancy your products and services and will eventually make a purchase decision. This circle also includes those who can afford your offerings.
Hooks and worms are perfect for little fishes but extremely useless against dolphins and sharks.
In the same way, while a strategy that revolves around social media may be a good fit for a younger audience, don’t expect septuagenarians and octogenarians to also make that list.
Like they say, different strokes for different folks.
2) Where does your target market reside?
Figuring out where your target audience resides or shop regularly, and how you can get your products and services to that location is an integral part of a marketing plan.
More so, apart from identifying the ideal customer and understanding their needs, it is equally necessary to know where to reach them and how they prefer to be engaged.
Buyers have different behaviors and preferences and only a deep knowledge of these trends will give you a true competitive advantage in an otherwise saturated market.
3) Who are your competitors?
It is imperative to unravel the products or services you will be in competition with once your business kicks off.
Find out which ones are the most successful, and the ones that are least successful? Why do you think they have found their success or lack of it?
You need to also highlight the similarities and differences between your products/services and the most successful as well as the failing competitor’s offerings.
This is necessary as knowing where you stand helps you to know your strengths, identify your weakness and threats and empower you to captures the critical mass of ‘would be’ customers.
Now, understand that you can make your offerings better by going a step further than your competitors.
Think about the needs of your target audience that are not being completely met and make steps to bridge that gap.
Moreover, take further steps to improve whatever aspect of your product/service that your customers enjoy the most. This is one sure means to leave the competition behind.
4) What is the value of your offering to the buyer?
Next, you need to puzzle out how much the customer is willing to spend on your product or service.
- How do your products or services stand in the market in terms of cost?
- Are your services more expensive or less expensive than your competitors’?
- Are your customers willing to pay more for the benefits your goods offer them?
- What is the lowest price from your competitors and how do customers respond to it?
A product or service with historical pricing data is easier to market that a relatively new offering.
In such instances, the next best option is to survey your competitors’ pricing scheme for similar products or services.
5) What’s your marketing timeline?
Nothing kills a beautifully packaged strategy than a poorly executed timeline.
The timeline indicates the readiness of the marketing plan and lays out the steps for successfully accomplishing your strategy.
It covers the time frame for implementing individual steps in your plan and comes in handy when taking stock of the progress over time.
Therefore whatever the marketing strategy been plotted, timing is most important. Every skilled fisherman is aware that fishes are easily harvested early in the mornings and will, therefore, plan around that.
Having a goal in mind will further help to order the steps in your marketing strategy sequentially and determine what needs to be done at every point in time.
Ultimately, having a timeline in place that details your marketing undertakings on a month-to-month basis ensures that a consistent stream of effort is put into reaching more customers in the marketplace.
6) What marketing tools are at your disposal?
With several mediums to utilize including the traditional media, social media, search engine, etc., putting the word out there regarding what you do is not the problem.
The big challenge is deciding the tool that will reach your target audience almost all the time.
For instance, while the truth remains that people love to drink, marketing an alcoholic beverage using a religious tv show will definitely earn you knocks and not kudos.
Social media marketing and content marketing using search engine optimization are the in thing in today’s marketplace.
The idea behind search engine optimization is that you conduct a research on what your competitors, target market and other people in your industry regularly search for.
Then optimize your site so that your pages are ranked high enough to show up on the first page in search engines.
Finally, remember that the key to building a successful business is a solid marketing strategy.
Ask yourself some of these questions in relation to your business and make amends where necessary.
Then build on your existing strengths as you watch your marketing net bring home amazing rewards.