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  • Writer's pictureNat Sharp

Why every business needs a marketing strategy

Updated: Oct 23, 2023

5 reasons you must have a marketing strategy in place for your business

Every business small and large needs a marketing strategy to succeed. From the start-up phase, when you need to establish your brand's presence in the market, to mature businesses looking for ways to gain an edge over their competition and further develop engagement with customers, having an effective marketing strategy is crucial.

In this blog we look into why every business needs a structured yet creative marketing strategy and how it will benefit the whole business and we've identified five important reasons why:

1. Business alignment

Organisational alignment is essential for success. By planning and executing a unified strategy, your business can maximise the efficiency of its efforts and ensure that every group within it understands their role in achieving company goals. Moreover, thorough collaboration among departments eliminates duplicate tasks while helping to foster unity throughout your business - something I've noticed many companies struggle with from my experience working with them both as a consultant and as a marketing manager.

In addition, a marketing strategy will translate in a more seamless and professional customer experience and will ultimately lead to increased revenue if business units are working together and not against each other. If this an area that your business needs help with, commission an independent review to kick off the process and establish cross working groups. Further down the line develop department service level agreements to agree each business units role and commitment to each other.

2. Armed with facts

To stay competitive, a sound strategy is essential for understanding who your customers are, what sets you apart from the competition and ensuring the tactics align rather than making assumptions and using the wrong channels to reach and engage your audience.

Furthermore, by drilling into key insights on customer preferences and market dynamics, businesses can uncover crucial trends and learn more about customer motivations, behaviour and buying patterns to build on. This isn't an easy task and requires patience, persistence and skill. It's surprising how much you learn and how it can change your whole strategy. I see this consistently with most businesses I work with and they're thrilled with the new knowledge they have at the end of the process. Remember knowledge is power.

If you haven't already, this is a time to take a closer look at the impact of your previous marketing investments. Compare traffic and lead sources, response rates, booking patterns and conversion rates. It's never too late to undertake a marketing review as you will learn so much from this and ensure you're building on your marketing each year and not making the same mistakes. Every business can improve upon their marketing and it should evolve and become more sophisticated year on year.

Towards the end of this process, I conduct a SWOT Analysis (a review of your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats) bringing together all the insights so you can look at them with a birds eye view. This is a good framework to use. It's an ideal way to present the highlights to staff and the senior management team ensuring that the insights and key learnings are shared within the business so everyone can learn more about their customers and the marketing process.

Whether it be discovering untapped markets or expanding to particular audiences, the marketing insights gleaned will prove invaluable in forging an effective strategy and ensuring you have that competitive advantage and the right decisions are made within the business

3. Reliance on reactive tactics

Failing to develop a marketing strategy can prove costly; businesses may be tempted by quick-fix tactics, but an integrated approach is essential for long term success.

Your marketing strategy could be missing the mark by not targeting the right audience or investing in the right content. It is common to panic if sales are poor and increase the pay per click budget, but are you confident that you have the right product and the right message, whilst delivering a seamless customer experience to help convert prospects. It's easy to let marketing become a reactive implementation department but who is responsible for leading the strategic direction and building the brand?

Key functions of marketing like social media need to be embedded within marketing and not be a stand alone function for them to be truly effective. This is impossible to achieve without a marketing strategy.

4. Budgeting with confidence

Do you have a solid, realistic marketing budget that delivers against the business objectives or do you just spend as and when you please? Spending on an ad hoc basis is a costly exercise as you won't be looking at the bigger picture and will be likely to investing in the wrong areas that won't have the most impact. I often see smaller businesses spend their entire budgets on areas like trade shows and print and then invest nothing in crucial areas such as content and research.

A marketing budget should be prepared alongside the strategy and plan, and be looked at in conjunction with your business strategy for the year. As part of the process you should be calculating the marketing return on investment and marketing's contribution to the business answering questions like how many leads will marketing help to generate for the business and what marketing objective does the cost relate to. Every penny of expenditure should be justified.

A well devised marketing budget will aid resource planning allowing you to have the right manpower over the year and identify any skills gaps. You can also consider whether you need to outsource any of your marketing. If so, put together a plan to address this.

Finally, budgeting will lead to savings. It can help with procurement letting you buy in bulk and pool resources delivering cost savings and it will help to manage your cash flow.

5. Setting a return on investment

With a well-crafted strategy and plan in motion, it's time to set realistic goals.

Identifying, tracking and reviewing progress towards specific goals over quarterly or monthly intervals can reveal invaluable insights into a company's marketing performance. Metrics such as brand recognition, acquisition success rate, customer loyalty levels and satisfaction ratings are key measures of the efficacy of any organisational marketing strategy.

A strategic investment can empower your stakeholders and investors to reap the rewards of a visible return.

Never too late!

Creating a successful marketing strategy is an important step in the success of any business. A marketing strategy will help you visualise your desired outcomes and get you started on successfully achieving this goal. Ideally this should be done on an annual basis and the process will become quicker and easier each year. Furthermore, a marketing strategy will ensure business alignment and let you budget with confidence.

No matter what stage of your business journey, it's never too late to start planning. Learn how I've worked with over 30 businesses to create a marketing strategy across many different fields, all with different objectives including a school uniform provider and a local artist, to working with quantity surveyors and a packaging company.

Or to start your new marketing journey, contact me now.

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