Don’t believe the hype when it comes to your marketing strategy
We’ve read lots of different articles suggesting companies don’t really have a marketing strategy, but we don’t believe the hype.
Instead, we think companies have developed a strategy in some shape or form. This strategy may be strong or weak, it may be written down or reside in the heads of business owners, but every company does have one in some shape or form. Typically, marketing strategies are developed in one of three ways:
Knowledge of the business
Commonly in the early stages of firms they’re often defined by the leader or leaders of the business. i.e. defined based on the extensive knowledge or insights of one or a few individuals who own or manage the firm.
Imagine a scenario where an individual decides to go it alone after years of corporate experience in a particular market. When they set up in business, they ‘know’ their target market and get on with doing business with an implicit or explicit strategy, whether it’s good or bad.
Trial and error
The second (and often most valuable) way of going about strategy development is through trial and error, or effectively running experiments to see what works and what doesn’t. To some, this may seem like an excuse, but it can be a very valuable way of learning where to allocate scarce resources in order to deliver growth.
Strategic planning involves running through the key steps of marketing planning in a more thorough process. These steps include:
- developing and capturing market insight
- understanding the needs of your customers
- defining need based customer segments
- prioritising which customer segments to target and what to offer them
- thinking through your intended positioning versus your competitors
- defining resonant messages
- designing a tactical marketing plan to get messages to the right customer at the right time
For this, Peppered Moth have developed a logical and effective cycle called the INSPIRE strategy cycle.
Which of these approaches works best?
It depends on the market conditions and the culture of the organisation, and it’s more often the case that firms employ a mixture of these approaches in different proportions. You can imagine in fast moving markets lengthy planning processes don’t necessarily work. On top of this, in highly complex markets, it’s easy to get it wrong based on personal experience alone.
So when you’re developing your marketing strategy, use your knowledge of your business. This, with a mixture of the right approaches, will work best for you.