No room for guess work in marketing

12 minute read

Your seven steps to marketing heaven

Let’s imagine we have two drivers of identical cars embarking on a journey from Manchester to Glasgow. One plots a route, the other ‘plays it by ear’. It’s probably safe to say, the driver with a plan is more likely to enjoy the smoother journey and arrive before their fellow traveller.

So, if you are taking your business on a marketing journey, you need your roadmap to be thoroughly researched and plotted. There’s no room for guesswork when it comes to a marketing strategy – especially in today’s economic climate.

As a full-service marketing agency, we asked our team of experts to come up with the perfect marketing strategy. Here’s their seven steps to marketing strategy heaven.

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1. Research

Conducting research should be the first step to any marketing strategy. It allows you to make more informed decisions – from market trends and competitors to customer insights and needs.

The marketing mix – known as the 4Ps of marketing – is the place to start to understand what you are marketing and where. These are the 4Ps:

  • Product – this is the item or service you offer to satisfy your customers’ needs and wants. It’s important to identify what differentiates your product from those of your competitor(s). It’s also important to determine if other products or services can be marketed in conjunction with it.
  • Price – what consumers are willing to pay for your product. We need to consider costs related to research and development, manufacturing, marketing, and distribution – also known as cost-based pricing. Pricing based primarily on consumers’ perceived quality or value is known as value-based pricing, and quite often explains why consumers are prepared to buy a more premium-priced product than a cheaper alternative.
  • Place – where you sell your product. Is your product best being widely available, or would it be better to be sold in selected stores to maintain the premium perception?
  • Promotion – the activities that will sell your product. This might include advertising, sales promotion, personal selling, and public relations. It is important that we consider budget available to pay for the marketing mix as that will determine the places to promote your product and how often.

By collating that lot, a fully-fledged marketing plan will start to take shape.

2. Guesswork

We knew that would get your attention! There is absolutely NO place for guesswork in a successful marketing strategy.

If we weren’t being mischievous, objectives would have been the heading for this section. Setting marketing objectives, also known as your marketing goals, in line with your 4Ps is the best place to build from.

Every objective/goal should be as specific as possible. This is the time to get SMART:

Specific (simple, sensible, significant).
Measurable (meaningful, motivating).
Achievable (agreed, attainable).
Relevant (reasonable, realistic and resourced, results-based).
Timely (time-based, time limited, time/cost limited, time-bound, time-sensitive).

Your goals will inform other components of the strategy, including the budget and content creation process – and don’t forget you can always come back and revise your goals as your priorities change.

3. Spend and return on investment

Let’s just dwell on budget a little longer. Namely, does your budget match your objectives/goals?

For example, without the funds, you can’t advertise on the right channels and create the right content to have the powerful impact you’re looking for. Getting a high ROI isn’t cheap.

But don’t forget, a strategy can start small with a hyper focus on one or two goals and build in more as the ROI is generated.

And because not all marketing is focused on products, customer-service businesses rely on other marketing tools that include three additional Ps:

  • People, your people, who interact with customers.
  • Processes that creates a seamless customer experience.
  • Physical evidence, or the area where customers and company representatives interact.

All of these tools are used to promote a product or service and build brand awareness and customer loyalty in order to generate revenue for a business.

4. Knowing your competition

Keep your enemies close is a cliché that springs to mind here. The more you know about yourself and your competitors the better able you will be to serve your customers.

After all, how can you differentiate you and your product(s) from the competition if you have not identified them and analysed their offer?

You might say you already know the competition, but there’s no harm in taking stock as part of an informed marketing strategy. By doing so, you might uncover a surprise product or service capturing the attention and engagement of a customer group that you consider yours.

5. Knowing your customers

Identifying the personas of those accessing your product or service in another important factor that takes the guesswork out of your marketing strategy.

What do we mean by personas? Here’s how personas are born:

  • Demographics – the age, gender, education, location and profession of your customers.
  • Psychographics – the study of consumers based on psychological characteristics and traits such as values, desires, goals, interests, and lifestyle choices. Psychographics in marketing focus on understanding consumers’ emotions and values, so we can market more accurately. The main types of psychographics are interests, activities, and opinions. It’s why your buyer buys.
  • Lifestyle – non-work factors such as hobbies and pastimes such as going to the cinema or eating out for example.
  • Behaviour – brand loyalty, channel preferences and traits such as shopping habits.

6. Content

A lot of work has gone into this stage of the process, so it’s critical we create content that resonates with your customers.

Quality content is creative, relevant, valuable and engaging to boost brand awareness, sales, conversions or loyalty.

The competition is fierce across all formats. According to HubSpot Research, ‘half of marketers are using videos, with 47% leveraging images, followed by 33% posting blogs, articles, infographics (30%) and podcasts or other audio content (28%).’ Of these, video has the highest ROI.

Let’s recap how we got here. Your content is based on:

  • Your goals/business objectives
  • Understanding your audience
  • Setting an affordable budget

7. Metrics & Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)

We’ve saved the best until last. Every marketing strategy must include metrics and KPIs so we can understand how well your strategy is working.

Metrics and KPIs relate back to your objectives/goals. They are based on:

  • Determining what your KPIs are going to be in the first place – so you can evaluate performance and progress.
  • Choosing your content channels.
  • Deciding on the type(s) of content to create.
  • Creating and distributing your content.
  • Analysing and measuring the results against a set number of actionable benchmarks.

Delivering for all of Be Well’s marketing needs

As a full-service agency, we have all the tools – expertise and creativity within design, digital, marketing, PR and content creation – to deliver everything a marketing strategy needs.

In this example, we were tasked with creating a marketing strategy that would seamlessly deliver for all of the needs of Wigan-based leisure trust Be Well, the local council’s new holistic approach to health and wellbeing.

Our strategy included:

  • Development of campaign themes and concepts.
  • Internal and external communications.
  • Increased social media presence, including web banners, email headers, app banners, social covers, a social calendar and PPC assets.
  • PPC campaigns.
  • Email marketing campaigns for membership retention, referrals and acquisitions.
  • Printed assets including flyers, posters, outdoor banners, pull up banners and exhibition banners.
  • Press activity including print and online advertising.
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What has our work achieved?

The following statistics from our digital team reveal the impact our work has achieved for Be Well. Between June and November 2022, Be Well’s Facebook reach increased by 134%, with even more impressive figures for Instagram, which saw reach increase by almost 600%, impressions increase by 589%, and profile visits increase by 66%.

Website clicks have increased by 1,000% and the number of followers have increased by 24%. Twitter retweets (the sharing of Twitter content) increased by 77% and the number of followers increased by 19%.

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By Nigel, PR & Copywriter

Front view of PR Team member Nigel Wareing, smiling whilst using a computer

Nigel has been a journalist since the days of typewriters (not even electric typewriters)! He has edited several weekly newspapers across Greater Manchester, been the editor-in-chief of several more and edited a daily newspaper in Northern Ireland. He came home to work on the former Greater Manchester regional TV station Channel M. Having dropped the […]

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If you are interested in harnessing the experience, expertise and professionalism of Cornerstone for your marketing strategy, get in touch!

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