Every small business must have a functional and goal-oriented marketing strategy to survive the intense competition in the market today.
Of course, terms like marketing strategy may seem irrelevant to a small business owner who's struggling to take care of production, marketing, sales and administration activities single-handedly. But relying on ideas based on strategic marketing plans can help enhance the returns from your marketing efforts.
Here are the five best strategic marketing ideas of the past decade. If you want to stay ahead of your competition, try to incorporate them into your plans.
Know Your Competition
One popular modern strategic marketing idea is to focus on your customers' consumer habits. Take note of where else they shop or who else they order from, and what those businesses are doing to attract business. Are there potential customers who do not even consider the option of giving you business? Why are they so averse to even thinking about you? A more targeted marketing strategy will help you identify weaknesses in your promotional activities and selling strategies.
Get Everyone on the Same Page
Start treating your small business as a single organic unit. Remember that your customers don't distinguish between departments; a delayed delivery or bad sales experience affects the reputation of your business as a whole. To present a stronger team image and provide the best customer experience possible, make sure your production, sales, marketing and customer service teams are all on the same page, have the same priorities and are speaking with the same language. Every marketing plan should acknowledge that customers judge your small business as a whole.
Focus on the Entirety of the Customer Experience
Similarly, consider every aspect of the way your customers interact with you, from your outbound communications to the way you follow up after a sale. For example, using recycled paper for your print materials may enhance your business's environmentally friendly image among your customers. Hire employees who will represent your business well, even when they're not in the office. Make sure that when customers think of you, they think positively.
Know What's Working
It's difficult to calculate return on investment (ROI) when your advertising and promotional activities are limited to traditional solutions like banners and flyers. On the other hand, online marketing tools, social media and technological improvements make it easy to gauge what's working and what's not, and to do so in real time.
Based on your marketing spend and your sales, calculate the cost of reaching each customer. Monitor social media for immediate and accurate feedback from customers and stakeholders. And use social tools to determine the success or failure of your marketing strategy, and then make adjustments as necessary.
Don't be afraid to invest money now to get results later: Tablet computers can help your team track online metrics even on the move. A digital projector will facilitate group analysis of relevant marketing data and help you receive inputs from all your employees.
Stick with It
While it's alright to change course when something isn't working, your strategic marketing ideas will not work if your employees feel that your innovative ideas are mere fads, or if you make drastic changes too often. Alter your recruitment strategy and try to employ experienced and professional marketers who understand the importance of strategic marketing.
You will be doing a disservice to your business if you ignore these new marketing ideas. Do not expect results overnight. Strategic marketing, if implemented in a holistic manner, will yield fantastic and consistent returns over the long term.