Digital Marketing

Are you developing a marketing strategy? Hold a workshop

I am regularly asked to help companies develop a marketing plan. Some are for a new company, some are for a new product. My first question is usually “do you have a marketing strategy and is your direction aligned with it?”

Otherwise, you may be setting yourself up for failure. For those who need support, I usually recommend holding a strategy workshop. The goal is to collect key data points, align the goals of the management team, and determine the next steps to create a go-to-market plan. Attendees should be a variety of members of your management team (i.e. sales, marketing, finance, operations).

Although the workshop can be conducted in a single day, additional research will be needed if you want to obtain additional information and confirm the strategic direction. This can include discussions with internal and external resources (i.e. customers, partners, target customers) and analysis using available tools.

The strategy workshop will provide you with the basic framework used to develop a marketing plan. Then the marketing plan will focus on implementation.

Below are the basic elements to solve in a workshop:

Market segmentation

You start by identifying your customers’ needs and, accordingly, determine the best way to satisfy them. Keep in mind that it is almost impossible for one company to meet all unique needs. Instead, it is more efficient to allocate resources to target specific customer groups. Because customer needs vary, marketers must identify common needs within similar customer groups and recognize distinctive needs among different customer groups. The first part of the workshop should be

  • Identify or align market segments based on revenue potential and market size.

  • Create a profile of your ideal customer (size, location, capabilities) and identify the target accounts by name

  • Create people to identify who has the purchasing power at the base of your target company

  • Set market priorities to focus on limited resources

Positioning of companies and products

Identify what you do best, what your target market wants, and why customers buy from you. Then create a basic set of messages that will allow you to quickly differentiate your business. The areas to be discussed should include who you are, what you represent and want to represent, your experience and what you offer to the market.)

Separate from the company is the positioning of the product portfolio itself. Key features, benefits, product names, order details, roadmap, technical and promotional details, and other data needed to develop products and web materials.

Market analysis

Success depends on knowing your business inside and out. To do this, you should plan to run a SWOT analysis to:

  • Identify methods to address weaknesses and threats, and take advantage of strengths and opportunities.

  • Identify a list of main competitors and identify their differentiating characteristics.

  • Barriers to entry to this market

  • Market trends, effects on economic outlook, available financing

Set marketing and sales goals

These goals should reflect what you think your business can achieve through marketing in the years to come:

  • Income forecasts

  • The amount of new business vs. old or repeat business

  • Estimate average transaction size and order / sales cycle

  • Outline a strategy to attract and retain customers to identify and anticipate change.

  • Identify marketing objectives based on resources and ability to meet forecasts.

Sales channel and partners

Much of your marketing plan and budget will depend on the channels you are selling on. The type of sales tools, the size of the campaign, and the methods of retaining customers depend on determining the right mix of marketing and sales programs. Questions to address:

  • What are the short-term and long-term plans for contracting sales and distribution channels?

  • What pricing structure is offered at these levels?

  • Do you have a list of potential partners and distributors to reach out to by industry type and by name?

Some additional points

Keep in mind that marketing strategies can vary in length and style depending on your business. However, in general, you should keep a few additional elements in mind before starting a marketing plan:

  • What is your marketing budget (that is, a percentage of current or future sales?)

  • How will your spending be allocated and controlled (printed material, web development, promotion, etc.)

  • What’s your time for a soft launch (internal and select customers) and a hard launch (public promotion)?

  • How will you measure success or failure? Leads, revenue, conversions, gross sales?

So what comes next?

Review the final results of your strategy and interact with your management team to make sure the strategy agrees. Then move on to implementing your strategy using the information you’ve gathered to develop a marketing plan.

Do you need help developing a strategy or plan? Consult an expert who has worked in your area of ‚Äč‚Äčexpertise, who can extract information using interview techniques, and who has the network of vendors and vendors of tools to gather reliable information.

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