Your Marketing Strategy Template

When creating a business plan, it provides you with an opportunity to clearly define your marketing strategy.

A well-defined strategy is vital for a team to understand what needs to be done and which areas need investment. This will help you to focus your effort, allocate your budget and save money and time.

Strategy refers to the long-term planning and implementation of methods that will help the company achieve its goals. Consider the following points when develop your business goals:

  • What demographic is most likely to purchase the product?
  • What features are valued by consumers and what features can be removed?
  • What support services are needed?
  • Are your prospective customers focused more on cost, quality, or great service?

Establishing a clear strategy has many benefits: Teams know where to invest time and resources, and when to say “no.”

Marketing Strategy Template

You need to put your marketing strategy into context, together with other components of your business plan, such as mission, goals, objectives, tactics. Use this template when building your marketing strategy.

  1. Mission: Where does the company want to go? To become the <<Insert Goal>> + <<Insert Industry/Niche>> + of <<Insert Product/Service/Technology>> + in the <<Market/Location>>.
    Not a mission: To increase sales by the year 20##.
  2. Goals: Broad changes that help build the road map to success.
    Not a goal: Email clients/customers monthly for retention 
  3. Strategy: How do you get there?
    Not a strategy: To grow our share of the market.
  4. Objectives: Measurable, concrete steps towards the goal, including a completion date. 
    Not an objective: To schedule weekly meetings with our top 20 clients.
  5. Tactics: What methods are we using to get there? Create/Launch/Distribute/Educate/Generate <<Insert Tactic>> on <<Insert Medium/Channel>> to achieve <<Insert Result/KPI>>
    Not a tactic: To increase sales.

Defining a strategy is an important step toward creating aligned, internal focus. Writing your goals, strategy, objectives, and tactics within your business plan is an exercise that will help you to confirm that your company is taking the right steps toward meetings its goals.

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8 Steps to Creating your Content Marketing Strategy

You need to have to have a well-strategized approach to the creation and distribution of valuable and relevant content to your target audience. Insert your content marketing strategy. Write it. Actually create a plan. Content marketers who document their strategy are more effective in nearly all areas of content marketing.

As content channels grow, so does the importance of creating a content marketing strategy. It’s pretty simple.

More Channels = More Opportunity = More Content = More Effort = More Complexity

This increased complexity requires not only experienced content strategists but also a well-documented plan for marketing teams to communicate and follow.

Follow these 8 steps when creating your content marketing strategy and repeat.

1. Research 

Research your competitors, target audiences, and overall industry. This will allow you to determine your unique value proposition and what differentiates you.

  • Determine your top three differentiators or competitive advantages
  • Conduct some general industry research
  • Know your customer demographics and preferences
    • This will help you create personas that you can draft content and marketing

2. Define 

Using the research you collected above you should define your target audience and create a customer profile using demographics as well as psychographics. You’ll find you may have multiple customer profiles and therefore multiple messages and strategies within an overarching strategy.

3. Be Unique 

Create unique content for your target audience. These stories should engage and provide value that is unique to your brand, service, or company. If you don’t provide value or standout, than no one will listen. Be sure to do the work in advance to build the foundation for a successful content marketing strategy.

4. Include Creative  

Combine strategy and creative to support your content with creative for all mediums (print, digital, social, direct mail, PR, event, tradeshow, etc.).

5. Multi-Channel Promotion 

Content marketing is an expected strategy now. The content that you promote should be distributed throughout multiple channels and promoted. An integrated strategy is key to success and require constant management. See which channels help support your content to increase results and continually optimize.

6. Engage

Create a conversation that is engaging and provides value. If your content begins a conversation, than the content is engaging. Why would they spend time with it? Because it holds value for them.

7. Measure

Measurement is key for knowing what to replicate in the future and what to change. While, creating brand awareness is often not measurable, but it pays dividends down the road. Luckily, when producing digital content, you will be able to track the success of your content.

8. Review

Take the time to review so you can duplicate successes and avoid mistakes. It will help you to optimize your content marketing strategy.

9 Digital Marketing Mistakes

The success of digital marketing depends on various factors. It requires understanding your company, product/service, marketing, target audience, brand and ultimately the needs of your consumers. With so many different factors coming into play to realize digital marketing success, companies and entrepreneurs can easily make mistakes that may hinder growth. Here are 10 mistakes you could be making.

1. Not Understanding (or Defining) Your Target Audience

The first thing any successful business needs is a clear understanding of their market and target audience.

The gap that a product or service fills is just the beginning. Marketing requires an in-depth understanding of consumer personas. Beyond a prospect’s needs, professionals should focus on how a prospect spends time, what other products or services the prospect likely wants, and where individuals who fit the persona are more likely to be living.

Detailed information about your audience can only make your marketing efforts more targeted and valuable. It will also allow you to develop customized content to these audiences.

2. Lack of Planning

Don’t have unrealistic expectations. You can’t do it all in the beginning.

Planning and organization are the keys to any type of success. Many marketers never achieve great success because they don’t have clearly outlined goals and a distinct plan of action.

Planning does not mean brainstorming in a room of decision makers. It means writing out an analysis of your current needs, strengths, weaknesses, and goals. Set objectives, allocate a budget and review results (KPIs).

Few marketing campaigns will achieve instantaneous results. With digital marketing you will learn as you go as with most marketing campaigns, it takes time for campaigns to receive pick up.

Digital marketing is a long race, not a sprint.

 

3. Unrealistic Budgeting

Many startups fail to allocate a fair amount of money for digital marketing. Though some digital marketing activities can be completed on a shoestring budget, many require a strategic investment. Avoid spending money on tools you aren’t sure will work out for your company, and focus on hiring talent inside and outside the company that can help you reach your goals effectively and efficiently.

4. Selecting Too Many Social Media Platforms

Social media platforms are a fun and fast way to develop a marketing campaign, however focusing on too many at once may weaken the overall campaign. Try to keep your social media strategy targeted and regularly deliver relevant information to that target audience.

Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and LinkedIn are great social media platforms to start with. Depending on your business audience, you may also be interested in pursuing a targeted campaign on SnapChat, Instagram, Pinterest, Google+.

5. Not Committing to or Investing in Content

Content is the foundation of any successful digital marketing campaign. Without relevant, engaging, and insightful content, you can post information all day long and not see measurable results. Video, written, and graphic content that adds value are elements that will convert site visitors into long-term customers.

6. Forgetting that Mobile is Important

The number of global mobile users exceeded desktop users in 2014, and most consumers now use their smartphones to access location information, reviews, websites, and applications. Companies that haven’t been paying attention to mobile technology will be forgotten and become obsolete. Mobile marketing should be synonymous with digital marketing at this point.

7. Failing to Measure Results

After you implement digital marketing, marketers need to track key performance metrics (KPIs) to assess the value and success of the campaign or tactic. The good news is a digital campaign is easier to track and report on and can also be adjusted Campaigns are not static – you can continue to use analytics throughout the campaign period to tweak posts, keywords, and other information to better target your audience. Optimizing will help you reach your marketing goals and exceed your KPIs.

8. SEO-ing the Old Way 

Simply put, don’t implement black hat SEO tactics. Beware of keyword stuffing, outbound link building, and other black hat SEO methods. As Google’s algorithms evolve, old SEO practices are penalizing websites and companies. Organic marketing and traffic is important. The key is to focusing on providing valuable content and creating natural inbound and outbound links.

9. Failing to Offline/Traditional Marketing with Digital

While digital marketing is very important, it should always be supported by more traditional marketing strategies. People still listen to the radio, drive by billboards and watch TV. Social cues and websites are ever-present in the bottom corner of magazine ads and on subway signs. Feature a hashtag and mention social media profiles or include your Twitter handle. Mixing traditional and modern marketing strategies is the best way to build a multilevel campaign that has the potential to not only reach consumers but connect with them on a deeper level.

What Is The Product Life Cycle Model?

No product lasts forever. Do you know where your small business product is in its product life cycle? Are you introducing tomorrow’s product, today?

The Product Life Cycle is a model that predicts the general trend that most successful products or services will follow during their lifetime. This lifecycle can be reviewed across an entire category, or in the context of an individual companies product. It is a strategy tool that helps companies plan for new product development and refine existing products

There are 4 stages to the lifecycle process shown in the table below. While decline can be avoided by reinventing elements of the product, it also recognizes that some products never move beyond the introduction phase whilst others move through the life cycle much faster than others.

Product (Service) Life Cycle

What do the PLC stages mean?

Stage 1: Introduction

Introducing a new product where it’s unknown and products are small. The price is often higher as distribution is limited, and promotion is personalized.

Stage 2: Growth

Here, the product is being bought and with volume, the price declines. Distribution increases and promotion focuses on product benefits

Stage 3: Maturity

Here, the product competes with alternatives and pricing drops. Distribution becomes intense (it’s available everywhere) and promotion focuses on the differences to competitors’ products.

Stage 4: Decline

The product is reaching the end of its life and faces fewer competitors. The price may rise and distribution has become selective as some distributors have dropped the product. Promotion aims to remind customers of its existence.

How can I use this model?

When reviewing your business you need to understand which stage your products or services have reached across your portfolio of all products which can be assessed in terms of market share and growth using the BCG Matrix model. Reviewing the product of portfolio enables marketers to plan for new products, reinvent existing products or discontinue products that are in serious decline.

Time in each stage

The goal for your small business is to move your product through the ‘Introduction’ stage and the ‘Growth’ stage as quickly as possible in order to benefit for as long as possible from the profits that are available in the ‘Maturity’ stage.  It is also important that when your product is clearly in the ‘Decline’ stage and cannot be revived that you discontinue it before it becomes loss making.

Multiple products

The ‘Product Life Cycle’ is most valuable when it is used to evaluate how well balanced the mix of your small business’s products are. For example if all of your products are in the ‘Decline’ stage of the life cycle then you are going to run out of income from sales but if all of your products are in the ‘Introduction’ stage you are probably going to be over extended and run out of cash.

Ideally you would have products at each stage of the life cycle so that as one moves from ‘Maturity’ and into ‘Decline’ another takes its place.

Quick Summary

Stage 1: Introduction

As a product is introduced there will usually be high costs in bringing it to market but low sales resulting in initial losses.

Stage 2: Growth

If the market decides it wants the product, sales increase; and unit costs decrease because of economies of scale. The product starts to become profitable at sales above the break-even point.

Stage 3: Maturity

Profits gradually increase as both demand peaks and costs continue to reduce because of efficiencies. Eventually competitors also enter the market with their own products in pursuit of these profits and this increased competition leads to a reduction in sales.

Stage 4: Decline

Sales and profits reduce significantly as the product comes to the end of its life and customers move to other products.

Don’t Be a Troll (On or Offline)

Keep it classy and don’t be a troll. Here is a simple definition to help:

A troll is someone who posts a deliberately provocative message (normally to media) with the intention of causing disruption and generally a negative impact.

The Newsroom put it better – watch below.

4 Common Mistakes with Retargeting Ads

Retargeted ads offer so much potential. When a consumer goes to look at a brand or publisher’s content, they’re making the first step in developing a relationship with the company. Retargeted ads, when done right, should still create that brand recognition, but it should also go a step further and encourage brand loyalty, advocacy, and community.

Here are 4 common issues with retargeted ads:

1. Being Static

Repetition can either increase or decrease brand awareness and overall result.  You don’t want to be static and repetitive, but rather memorable and engaging. Every time you have someone look at the same image it’s going to lose it’s impact – especially when it’s already a fairly standard-looking image. Today especially, people are used to a constant flow of new information. Each interaction so be valuable.

2. Lacking Amazing Content

People don’t like ads (or content) that don’t provide value or are engaging. The burden for advertisers is to create content that is just as, if not more, interesting as the competing content on the page. This means the content should be unique, visual, and useful to your audience – even if its usefulness is just that it’s entertaining.

3. No Interaction 

Give your audience the chance to get creative in your ad experience, and make sure that that content is shareable on their social channels. Often companies will create these experiences as standalone pages, but there’s no reason why creative content can’t live within ad units around the web.

4. Not Being Human-Focused 

Every ad needs to have a human element – something your audience can see and relate to. Chances are, your audience isn’t going to relate to the model you place on every website. People can relate to their friends though. And they can relate to stories from people that could be their friends. This is where user-generated content comes in. Using retargeting to connect with the users most likely to engage with your company is great. However, you’re not going to promote any kind of longterm relationship or engagement with a boring (and ignorable) ad.

Creating a Social Media Strategy The Forrester Post Way

The Forrester Post method is one of the best ways to develop a social media strategy. The 4 elements developed by Forrester Research are conveniently presented as a memorable acronym POST:

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  • People. Who is your target group? What kind of clients and prospects do you have? How do they behave online? Knowing the people who you want to communicate with and where they are is where, is where you should be.
  • Objectives. What are your goals? Do you want to increase leads, track conversion, generate awareness, gain insight or foster engagement? Do you want to talk, collaborate, immobilize or evangelize? Deciding on your objective before selecting a technology will help you in the long run.
  • Strategy. How are you going to reach your objectives? Make a plan and envision where you would like to end up. Use this to plan backwards. Which direction(s) would you like to take? How are you going to improve your relationship with your customers? What do you want to get out of these relationships? What will be different when you are done?
  • Technologies. What technologies and applications should you use to accomplish the first 3 steps (P-O-S)? What is a reasonable yet accurate timeline? Whether this means an online community, a blog, a few blogs, or some dashboards, this should be your last step.

This may sound complicated, but it’s not. The Forrester Post method can help you create an effective and well-thought out social media strategy.