Develop Your Strategy by Answering 5 Key Questions

SME Marketing

Every entrepreneur knows that starting a business is a challenging process to begin with but it takes passion and hard work to make it into something that’s sustainable.  For some, it’s quite enough to keep operating activity small.   Others however, dream of making it big.  Achieving this requires a huge leap which can be daunting along with the daily running of a company but, in order to be successful, it’s absolutely essential to ensure that you have a clear strategy.

In terms of building your own personal strategy, you need to define what your objectives are so that you have a clear vision shaping how your strategy will be implemented and delivered. For example,

  • Are you hoping to improve your market share?
  • Are you investigating the potential to supply international markets?
  • Are you interested in introducing a new product into your existing range?

The next part of this process involves the development of responses to a number of key questions. While this list is not exclusive, the idea is to really focus on the specifics of your business and highlight the information that is appropriate and relevant. Therefore,

  1. How well do you know your target audience?
  2. How do you define your business?
  3. What makes you unique?
  4. Who are your competitors?
  5. Where is your differentiation?

The questions outlined above aren’t in any way extraordinary, but finding the right answers that are particular to your business can be enlightening.  Not only will it provide you with your own valuable market insight, it has the advantage of making sure that all of your subsequent marketing activity is synchronised with this information.  It will also be beneficial when creating content, generating awareness and communicating with your target market.

Target Your Audience

Understanding exactly who your customers surely has to be the starting point of any marketing strategy.  After all, they are the calling cards in terms of making crucial purchasing decisions – to buy or not to buy.  Furthermore, this type of research requires really defining who your customers are.  No-one has 100% share of the market so it is essential to ‘define and refine’ your customer base consistent with your objectives so that you can develop more effective marketing.  The ‘less is more’ analogy is appropriate here.  Rather than having a blanket approach you can focus specifically on sources that are likely to be the most profitable.

To Grow Your Business, You Need to Know Your Business

Ok, imagine you have a blank page….how would you describe your business…concisely?  If you don’t focus on determining the category that you’re in, it can lead to confusing and conflicting messages.  This is even more important with the wealth of information that is so readily accessible today.  In Ireland, technology is being embraced at a phenomenal rate and is a normal part of daily routines.  More than 1.2 million are estimated to own a tablet and there are in excess of 1.6 million smartphone users (Eircom Household Sentiment Survey).  With information at people’s fingertips it’s essential to stand out, be clear about who you are and what you offer.

Be Unique, Be Yourself

Every business has its own identity, whether that’s its provenance and/or distinct product/service characteristics.  Be loud, be proud about yours.  Again, this involves being precise about what you can offer and implies determining a few (at most) primary benefits.  If you’re unclear then it’s a perfect opportunity to engage with your audience and produce some market research.  SMEs have an incredible advantage of having proximity to their customers market (‘Why Bigger isn’t Necessarily Better?) which means access to valuable information that can be used subsequently to inform your communication and marketing strategy. By understanding their needs and motivations you are more likely to be able to satisfy demand efficiently, have streamlined marketing and implement an effective strategy.

Competitor Analysis

As we are all aware, the commercial world is a competitive place and consumers have understandably become ultra-savvy when it comes to spending their cash.  Furthermore, access and convenience to technology has facilitated the purchasing process in ways that have never been experienced before.  Subsequently, every business must establish who their competitors are as consumers will weigh up the alternatives and compare these against each other.  By comprehending the competitive landscape will assist with developing key messages around your company’s services and products while producing differentiation for you. 

Differentiation

The next logical step is to focus on determining the differentiating factors that make you distinct from your competitors.  Creating a list will allow you to measure your company and use this to create competitive advantage.  The selection should be refined on the basis of those that are the most important to your customers.  Again, there is an opportunity to develop your own personal and individual market insight by conducting some research with your audience.  The value of this information has a wealth of uses including your online presence and promotional material.

The most successful businesses tend to be those that take the time to focus on the details and prepare a road map of where they would like their company to progress. Where would you like to go?  If you would like support with developing your marketing strategy please contact 360 Marketing Consultancy or keep in touch @360MarketingIE.

BY: Nicola Donnelly

۳۶۰ Marketing Consultancy

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