Writing a guide on getting started in marketing is like writing a guide on walking.
I can tell you how to swing your legs and stay upright, but what you want to do with the information is up to you.
You might find some success and choose to run! Or, on those days when you are storming your inbox like the beaches of Normandy, you might want to walk into the sea instead.
Your marketing strategy is the overarching strategy that reaches out to prospective customers and turns them into purchasers. It contains information on the unique value your brand provides, your essential messaging, and some information about the kind of customers you want to reach.
While thoroughly documented through plans and goal-setting, these strategies should also be flexible—able to turn on a dime should the pieces be found to be lacking in impact or ineffective in implementation. As for the walking metaphor, maybe it’s closer to a dance.
Wherever your brand brings you, the first step will be getting up on your own two feet—and that involves understanding the planning steps that lead up to your strategy building. We’ll do this today by examining the core parts of what makes up an effective marketing strategy.
Ready to get started? Let’s get into it.
Building a Value Proposition
Daft Punk nailed the perfect value proposition with their hook “Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger.”
In essence, your value proposition is what your company promises to deliver. This promise could be their ethics, operations, products, or justification for why they deserve business over competitors.
As you begin to define a value proposition for your unique company, think of it in terms such as:
Why am I the #1 choice for this product/service?
Where am I going to put this messaging?
How am I different at solving than the others?
How can I persuade a customer to choose me?
Thinking in these terms is a fundamentally creative process. Approach your business like a stranger and pick out the strongest parts to lay in contrast against competitors. Brevity here is your friend—it should be simple, scannable, and memorable.
The value proposition should always be prominent on your website. It will inform the promises you make, the results your customers expect, and the standard you will be held to.
Identifying Brand Messaging
Your brand messaging will define the dictionary of tones and words that are used to describe your brand. A truck brand might call for terms like “four cylinders of lighting and righteous fury,” which would hardly suit your cupcake business. Or maybe it does! Are you the Norwegian Black Metal of the snack game? The black sheep of bakeries? If so, only your brand messaging will be able to tell your customers at a glance.
This “dictionary” can be composed of words, colors, images, design shapes, and general moods. The messaging will carry across your website, social media, and even packaging. It’s fundamentally an act of storytelling—and you’ve got the exciting job of spinning the tale.
Furthermore, your brand messaging will encompass the topics your brand will speak on. Some stick to their lane, messaging solely about their projects and products. Others are familial, celebrating holidays and office culture. Some will even use their platform to challenge social norms, champion non-profits, or soapbox political causes. Traditional wisdom tells us to keep our brands neutral, but a hint of personality goes a long way towards making lifelong connections in today’s culture.
Locating Target Customers
Now that you know what you want to say and how you want to say it, the next step is to find out where your message is best deployed. In most cases, this will come after establishing an Ideal Customer Profile through research and thoughtful identification. These groups of people with shared demographic traits and info on where you can reach them is called your Target Market. It makes sense—you wouldn’t market a shoe at a candy store. Though admittedly, stranger things have been tried.
Having a target market is critical for implementing effective marketing content. While having a clear picture is helpful to start, you must remain flexible to reception and feedback. These potential customers are the most likely to buy your product or service but can also come to affect your brand message over time. If you find that your messaging is strikingly true in a different market than where you had anticipated, don’t be afraid to lean in—Netflix ditched the mailed DVD’s model as their customers expressed interest in streaming services. Look where they are now!
It might not look like much on paper, but these three messages (“what,” “why,” and “who”) will form the basis of any great marketing strategy. Whether your content is deployed digitally or through cold outreach, the essential principles of what you do, why you do it best, and who you do it for cannot be overstated.
If you’re feeling hazy on these questions or are looking for the next step, I’ve got good news! I’m all ears. Book a chat with me today to get these strategies off the page and into the heads of potential customers.