Every business owner should develop a written guideline that sets forth the business's marketing strategy. This document is used to judge the appropriateness of each action that the business takes. If a company has to take an action that is off-strategy, it may indicate a temporary emergency action prompted by competition or other factors beyond normal management control. Or it may indicate the need to change or revise the company's marketing strategy.
A good marketing strategy provides specific goals and can include:
A description of the key target buyer/end user
Competitive market segments the company will compete in
The unique positioning of the company and its products versus the competition
The reasons why it is unique or compelling to buyers
Price strategy versus competition
Marketing spending strategy with advertising and promotion
Possible research and development
Market research expenditure strategies
An overall company marketing strategy should also:
Define the business
Position the business as a leader, challenger, follower or niche player in the category
Define the brand or business personality or image that is desired in the minds of buyers and end users
Define life cycle influences, if applicable
Use the following checklist to help create your own marketing strategy.
Marketing Strategy Checklist
Define what your company is
Identify the products or services that your company provides
Identify your target buyers/end users
Establish the marketing category (e.g., fast food purveyor, high-end audio equipment sales, etc.)
Determine whether your company will be a market category leader, follower, challenger or niche player
Describe the unique characteristics of your products or services that distinguish them from the competition
Define whether your pricing will be above, below, or at parity with your competitors and establish whether you will lead, follow, or ignore changes in competitors' pricing
Identify the distribution channels through which your products/services will be made available to the target market/end users
Describe how advertising and promotions will convey the unique characteristics of your products or services
Describe any research and development activities or market research plans that are unique to your business
Describe the image or personality of your company and its products or services
Strategy Statement Tests
If the statements in your strategy are measurable and actionable and work to differentiate your company and products apart from the competition, congratulations! If they are not measurable and actionable and do not differentiate your company from the competition, revise them until they are.
A good working marketing strategy should not be changed every year. It should not be revised until company objectives (financial, marketing, and overall company goals) have been achieved or the competitive situation has changed significantly, e.g., a new competitor comes into the category or significantly different or new products emerge from existing competitors.
All content provided herein is for educational purposes only. It is provided “as is” and neither the author nor Office Depot, Inc. warrant the accuracy of the information provided, nor do they assume any responsibility for errors, omissions or contrary interpretation of the subject matter herein.
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