Creating a marketing strategy is essential for any business that wants to achieve growth and success in their respective markets. A well-designed strategy can help you reach your target audience and drive revenue growth. In this article, we will explore the steps involved in creating a marketing strategy, including identifying the target audience, setting sales goals, developing a budget, aligning activity, identifying channels, and measuring outcomes.
(To keep this article at reasonable length, let’s assume that your purpose, vision, and values are clear, and that your purpose-powered brand foundation is in place. If not, start there, and then you can create a marketing strategy that helps take those foundational elements to market in a powerful way.)
01. Identify the Target Audience
The first step in creating a marketing strategy is to identify the target audience. The target audience is the group of people who are most likely to buy the products or services that the company offers. Understanding the target audience’s demographics, psychographics, and behaviors is essential in creating an effective marketing strategy. This information can be gathered through market research, surveys, and customer feedback. Often, our clients will have multiple audiences for their various products and services. It’s important to include decision makers and influencers for the entire buying process.
02. Set Sales Goals
Once the target audience has been identified, the next step is to set clear sales goals. Sales goals should be specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART). For example, a business may set a sales goal of increasing revenue by 10% over the next quarter. Setting clear sales goals will help keep the marketing strategy aligned with business objectives and ensure that marketing activity is focused on achieving those goals.
To set accurate goals, analyze the sales process to understand the variables that led to the sale. For example, if you want to grow sales by 10%, here are the data points you would need to know:
- Total revenue amount (annually/monthly/weekly breakdowns of sales history)
- Average lifetime value of an account (does the customer continue buying year after year?)
- Average dollar value of a closed deal
- Total number of proposals closed (helps identity close rate %)
- Total number of proposals created
- Total number of qualified leads
- Total number of contacts
These data points will help you see your path to growing revenue. You’ll be able to see how many additional top of funnel prospects you will need in your pipeline in order to generate enough closed deals to hit your sales goals.
03. Develop a Budget
Once you understand the sales goals and the steps in the sales funnel, you should be able to better understand how much money you can invest in marketing, and still create new customers profitably. You can also work off of industry standards when setting your budget. Generally speaking, for B2B enterprises, a range of 2-5% of revenue is a common guideline for your annual marketing budget. B2C companies tend to dedicate a higher proportion, falling within the 5-10% range.
04. Identify Channels
Identifying the channels through which the content will be distributed is essential in creating a successful marketing strategy. This may include social media platforms, email marketing, search engine optimization (SEO), pay-per-click advertising (PPC), content marketing, and more. Each channel should be evaluated based on its effectiveness in reaching the target audience and driving conversions. The selection of channels should be aligned with the sales goals and designed to achieve the desired outcome.
05. Align Activity
Marketing activity should be aligned with the sales goals and designed to reach the target audience. This includes developing a messaging strategy, creating a content plan, and identifying the channels through which the content will be distributed. The messaging strategy should be designed to resonate with the target audience and differentiate the business from competitors.
It’s also important to prioritize marketing activities based on their potential impact on the business goals. Start by identifying the primary objectives of the marketing strategy and consider which activities are likely to achieve those goals most effectively. For instance, if the goal is to increase brand awareness, investing in social media and content marketing may be the most effective use of resources. If the objective is to generate leads and drive sales, allocating resources to paid advertising, email marketing, and sales promotions could be more beneficial. Your strategy will outline many different tactics, but prioritization helps focus on the critical items first. This should help keep the entire sales and marketing team on the same page.
We recommend prioritizing your marketing activities and channels into three different focus areas: Awareness, Nurturing, and Retention. This will help make sure you are not over-investing in one focus area at the expense of another. You should invest in marketing that develops current relationships (retention) as well as generates new ones (awareness and nurturing). Awareness includes advertising, events, SEO and other tactics that make people aware of your brand in the first place. Nurturing is typically more about the tools that help nurture a client through the sales process once they become aware of your brand (think website, videos, articles, retargeting ads, email campaigns, etc.).
06. Measure and Adjust
Reporting is a critical component of any marketing strategy. Reporting helps to track progress towards the sales goals and evaluate the effectiveness of the marketing activity. Key performance indicators (KPIs) should be identified and tracked regularly to ensure that the marketing activity is delivering the desired results. KPIs may include website traffic, leads generated, conversion rates, social media engagement, and more. Reporting should be used to inform future marketing activity and adjust the strategy as needed.
In conclusion, creating a marketing strategy requires a strategic and thoughtful approach. By following these steps, businesses can develop a marketing strategy that is focused on achieving their business objectives, reaching the target audience, and driving revenue growth.
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