#1 Piece of Advice For SMBs… a Marketing Strategy

Marketing-Strategy-851x400As a follow up on last weeks poll when I asked you for the most valuable piece of advice for SMB owners, we received the highest number of votes on – create a marketing strategy.

In the next few weeks, I will focus my blog posts on providing some insights and advice on the top answers resulting from this online poll.

A marketing strategy is your road map to help you obtain your business results, and it is shaped by your overall business goals. It includes a competitive analysis, a profile of your target audiences, development of your unique selling proposition (who you are and why you are unique), description of your products or services, and an outline of possible strategies to help obtain your business goals.  As a result of a strategy, you’ll have a map telling you who you are, why you are different (based on research), who your target audience is and how you can engage this audience.

If you are not comfortable writing your own marketing strategy, or feel overwhelmed or under resourced with the amount of information required, you may want to consult a marketing agency to help you create your strategy.  These are skilled professionals who not only bring insights and experience, they’re also dedicated to helping businesses realize their goals through the creation of successful marketing strategies.

To get started in developing your marketing strategy, you’ll need to do a little homework. Here are my top 10 questions I feel you need to answer before developing a marketing strategy:

  1. How would you define your business?
  2. Have you conducted a competitive analysis? If not, why?
  3. What is your unique selling proposition versus the competition? (The answer should not revolve around pricing)
  4. Why is this unique selling proposition compelling to your audience?
  5. Who is your target audience for each of your services or products?
  6. Is your pricing inline with your competitors or at parity?
  7. How do you promote or advertise your product or service?
  8. What is the ROI for your marketing tactics (advertising, posters, website, etc) to date?
  9. How have you measured the success of your marketing activities?
  10. Do you have any client testimonials or conducted client surveys?

Your marketing strategy will help get you to where you want to be. It is often the case that a client has a fabulous idea for a product or service, but without going through the steps of a strategy, they go to market only to find that there is no interest or the marketing tactic they are using is not engaging their audience.

Do you agree with having a strategy first? Have you run a business without a strategy and if so, what were your results?  I look forward to hearing from you in the comments below.

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