Strategic marketing is a planning process that marketing managers need in order to establish purpose and direction in order to match and exceed their KPIs for each of their brand’s marketing efforts.
There are 3 stages to the strategic marketing process; strategy and tools is the first part, planning is the next and implementation, monitoring and growth is the final. This post will act to help marketing managers develop their marketing strategy and understand and use the tools that will help them do so.
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Competitive positioning is about determining how you’ll differentiate your product and/or service and create value for your market.
Concepts & Steps
A good positioning strategy can be informed by several factors:
- Market Profile: In order to understand your market, you should document the size of your market, identify your major competitors (and how they’re positioned) and determine whether your market is in its introductory, growth mature, or declining stage of its life.
- Segmenting your market: What problems does your market face? What are their wants and needs? Group your customers with buyer persona documentation to efficiently market to each type.
- Determine how you deliver value: There are three types of ways that a company can deliver value to their customer:
- Operations efficiency (lowest price)
- Product leadership (best product)
- Marketing customer experiences (the best solution and service)
Work out where your brand sits and consider this to be your best method for delivering value time and again.
- Evaluate your competition: list any competitors that solve your customer’s problems, rate yourself against them on operational efficiency, product leadership and marketing customer experiences.
- Stake a position: From the above, you can then see where your competitors are vulnerable and offer opportunities for your company.
- Select the market share you want to own, and create your strategy to achieve it: Once your opportunities are clear, work out the “one thing” your brand wants to be known for and design your long-term strategy to achieve it.
How do you define your brand? Whether it’s a logo, a slogan, specific colours or a name, your brand forms what your customer understands of your company. Your strategic marketing process includes your brand strategy and how it’s positioned for your customer.
Each of the below elements have a hand in how your customer defines your brand, daily:
- Images you convey
- Messages you deliver on your website and in your campaigns
- Employee interactions with customers
- A customer’s opinion of you versus your competition
A successful brand creates “brand equity”—the amount of money that customers are willing to pay just because it’s your brand. Brand equity is an intangible asset that can be tracked on your balance sheet, and can make your company more valuable over the long term.
So how do you create a brand strategy? If you already have one, poll your customers to see how effective it is. If not, here are some things you can do:
Develop your brand around emotional benefits: Outline the features and benefits of your product/service.
Determine which benefits are most important to each of your customer segments: Which benefits are emotional? These will be your most powerful brand strategies - even for B2B. Hone in on the emotional benefits and drill them down to one thing that’s most important to customers. You now have your brand’s symbol for strategy.
Define your brand personality, story and positioning statements: If your brand were a person, describe them, their traits and personality and apply this to everything that you create under your brand. Create a style guide to ensure that your brand’s embodying features are consistent overall and for the personality you have outlined.
The best tools to use in order to help you in with your strategic marketing process are:
SWOT Analysis: The SWOT analysis is a tool used in strategic planning to identify and, ultimately, prioritise your company’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. This can be used across each level of your strategic marketing process, especially when there are conflicting views with, for example, your brand’s core value to the customer.
Mind Maps: Mind mapping will help you to develop your strategic marketing process in all areas. Mind maps help at each stage of the strategy phase, when developing your brand strategy and scoping your competition and how your brand stacks against them.
Growth-Share Matrix: The growth–share matrix offers a "map" of your company’s product and/or service’s strengths and weaknesses, at least in terms of current profitability, as well as the likely cash flows.
Persona Development Document: This document will help you to outline your personas, and even your brand’s personality during the development of your strategic marketing plan.
If you’re interested in knowing more about creating a strategy for your company, download The Strategy for Success in Today’s Market eBook.