10 reasons why you need a marketing strategy

Not all small business owners had a marketing strategy in place for their business upon launch. Some have been lucky and their businesses are still operating, with some even thriving. However, for most small business owners, not having a marketing strategy in place can mean failure to reach the business’ full sales potential or eventually prove to be detrimental to the business.

When a business is started, the goal is always to sell the most goods/services possible to make a profit. While selling is doable even without a marketing strategy in place, the problem is that the business loses out on opportunities for awareness, sales and growth without that strategy. Whether you are about to launch a business, or your business has been operating for months, years or even decades; having a marketing strategy can lead the business to success.

Below are signs that may indicate that your business needs a marketing strategy.
• You are launching your business;
• You are developing a new product or service;
• Sales are declining;
• Sales are not picking up; or
• Sales are good and you are now ready to expand to a new market or locations.

In developing a marketing strategy, there are certain areas of the business that need to be reviewed and taken into consideration.

Overarching business objectives – The marketing strategy should be an extension of the overarching objectives of the business. The business objectives will dictate the direction of the marketing initiatives that need to be implemented in order to achieve the goals of the business. Moreover, it is always helpful to be guided by the mission and vision of the company, if any has been set.

Resources and Requirements – The financial capacity, human capital, technology infrastructure and other assets and limitations of the business should be considered when crafting the marketing strategy as these will affect the kind of activities that the business will be able to implement and take part in.

Environmental Influencers – The surrounding conditions that may affect the way a business operates or its chances of success in the market need to be analysed and taken into account prior to developing the marketing strategy. These environmental factors include competitors, socio-economic conditions, political situation and technological advancements.

The business SWOT – The business’ strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (SWOT) play a big part in dictating the direction that a company should take in marketing. When a business is aware of its strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats, a strategy that capitalises on its strengths and takes advantage of the opportunities can be developed. Knowing the business’ weakness and threats will allow the business to take action and correct and or protect against them.

Marketing Objectives – These refer to the goals that the business wants to achieve, specific to marketing. Some examples include awareness, increase in sales, increase in conversions, etc.

Target Market – The customers to whom the product or service is aimed at make up the target market. The factors determining how the customers decide on purchasing a product, their preferences, and even their purchasing journey are important elements to consider in crafting a marketing strategy.

Marketing mix – This refers to the strategic tools a business uses to achieve desired reactions from its target market. It comprises of the four Ps of marketing: Product, Pricing, Place and Promotion.

A marketing strategy essentially provides a business with focus and direction for getting its product or service to the market in the most effective way. Further, it serves as a foundation for all marketing and communication initiatives.

Having a marketing strategy in place can yield the following benefits for your business:
• Help identify the best opportunities for and threats to the business;
• Identify the strengths of the businesses that can be capitalised on and weaknesses that need to be improved;
• Identify the overarching marketing goal of the business;
• Plan out the marketing activities needed and resources required for these activities;
• Identify the best means to roll out marketing initiatives,
• Gain a better understanding of the business’ target market (through market research);
• Give marketing campaigns a focus;
• Help develop a consistent level of brand recognition amongst the business’ target market;
• Tie in the company’s vision, mission, objectives to the marketing initiatives; and, ultimately
• Increase sales and profits.

An important note to remember is that having a marketing strategy is just half of the equation to meeting your objectives. Implementation of the strategy is crucial to meeting success.