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Sarah Haston: 5 easy steps to develop a marketing strategy

Sarah Haston • Updated Aug 22, 2017 at 9:00 AM

Does your business have a marketing strategy? Life today is extremely busy and can be overwhelming at times. In fact, more people are struggling with life and work balance than ever before. 

The key word here is balance – if you could focus on balance and not the word “struggle” you are heading in the right direction. There are numerous benefits to a planned marketing strategy. Planning seems to always help add balance to life and lesson the chaos. 

The same is true with marketing, and that’s why developing a planned marketing strategy is so important. Business owners today often rely too much on their intuition to make business decisions. Yes, this informal knowledge is super important in the decision-making process, however, it may not provide you with all the facts you need to achieve desired marketing results. 

You can define your business goals with a marketing strategy and establish activities to achieve them.

Here’s how:

• Unique selling proposition: Write a compelling sentence that describes the essence of your business. 

• Target market: Who is the demographic of people who show the most interest in your service or product? Define your target audience.

• Benefits: Write down the benefits of your products or services – how will the features impact, your target audience in a positive way? 

• Position your products or services: Describe how you will position your products or services – from radio and television to newspapers, social media and word of mouth, which are the best ways to reach your target audience? Where does your target audience find the information for which they are looking?

• Marketing methods: Define the different methods you will use. Will you advertise, use community outreach and public relations, internet marketing or direct mail? Depending on your target audience, you will need to pick the best marketing methods to explain, teach, promote how your product or service stands out above other competitors. 

Here are some tips:

• A unique selling proposition sets you out from the rest; it gives your products or services purpose. So don’t try to develop a marketing plan without one. You will need it to persuade your target audience into becoming loyal clients. 

• Budgets are always key. It’s important that you have a budget developed for your marketing plan. Marketing is an investment. And while a good plan will help you outline your company’s product or service strategies, tactics, expenses and expectations, a budget will ensure that your team follows through on the market roadmap and reach important goals. 

• Revisit your marketing plan at least once every quarter. Are you on target? Are you tracking your results? Do you need to revise it? Even though your marketing plan will help you visualize a clear path to success, circumstances can change immediately and make your plan obsolete or outdated. So don’t be afraid to review, track, tweak and repeat.

Ask yourself these questions to guide you. Use them to troubleshoot, critique and forecast the successes and shortcomings of your products or services:

• Are you maintaining the same leads and business opportunities as when you launched your business?

• Is your market changing for your business or services? Has it grown, decreased, and how is that impacting your business?

• Are any of your marketing efforts working well? And can you track new clients or profits to them? 

• Are your products or services making the expected revenue projections? Are they costing more to produce or provide than what they bring in?

• Do you need to adapt, change your sales tactics? And when is the best time to take action – Now? Next quarter? The following year?  

Sarah Haston is the economic development director for Lebanon.

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