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Hi All! Thank you for coming back to MFSB Ghana! Hope you have had a look around and checked out why I started this blog in the first place as well as my first blog post.Todays post will discuss how to develop a marketing strategy for your small business. As mentioned in my first post on the importance of marketing for small businesses, the ultimate goal of your marketing strategy is to make sure your business goals and objectives are well aligned with your execution, in terms of your branding efforts, your promotion, your prices, and even your product itself.
This post will focus on the elements of a strong marketing strategy and I will provide a template which you can use to develop your own strategy. The main aim is to get you thinking differently about how you approach your marketing and to attack your marketing in a more systematic manner. You may think that marketing comes ‘naturally’ but there are practical steps you need to take to ensure that your objectives and execution are well aligned. I think that running your business without a strategy in place leads to a) you providing your customers mixed messages b) confusion in the long run since you don’t know where you want to take the company or what path it should be following.
Take a step back and look at your entire business as it relates to your marketing strategy, plans and campaigns. Take the time to write (or type) things down, getting your thoughts out of your head allows you to see the bigger picture
I have uploaded a blank version of the template for developing your marketing strategy here, which you can download and work through. Make sure you are as thorough as you can so you don’t get overwhelmed later on when it is time to execute your plans. This template is broad and can be broken down further, for example, I will discuss creating a digital strategy in an upcoming post as well as how to execute seasonal marketing campaigns. Branding and brand building will also be discussed in subsequent posts. Please make sure you are subscribed so you stay up to date!
When you answer these questions (and more), it is time to think of how they will affect your marketing plans, demonstrated in some examples below
- If you provide a home service or you offer delivery services, your communication should play up on the element of convenience. If you do not have a permanent location and offer a nomadic experience, then your communication should play up the element of mystery.
- If your target customer does not have a car and uses public transportation, your location is key as it needs somewhere that is close to where your customer works/lives or you can should consider a delivery service and cut down on your overheads.
- Your product, customer base and price point will determine your tone of voice in your communication for example, if you are selling luxury high end handbags to women over 40 years old, it is not advisable to use slang such as ‘slay’, ‘beat’ or extensively refer to popular culture as your customers are unlikely to relate.
- If you are selling a luxury product/service, your communication should be minimal, professional, impersonal and aesthetically pleasing. Make sure you are not partnering with brands that might dilute the luxury i.e. lower end brands or brands that cater to a completely different market in the same industry.
- If you are selling a product/service that is complementary to another e.g. if you are a makeup artist, your service complements or relies on makeup products and tools. Therefore, your communication can involve displaying makeup products or you can possibly collaborate with brands that offer the complementary product/service.
- Defining your USP (Unique Selling Point) and undertaking your SWOT Analysis [I talk about SWOT in depth in this post] will allow you to play up on your strengths. You will be able to let your customers know exactly what problem your product/service solves and what gap it fills. Without actually writing down these points, you may be communicating something that you think is a strength but is actually your weakness in comparison to your competitors.
Once your marketing strategy is in place, it becomes easier to develop your Marketing Plan for different instances, e.g. your launch, new product releases, seasonal campaigns etc.
To make this post a little more relatable, I would like to discuss one of my current favourite brands, Villa Grace, who I think truly understands their customer base and are therefore able to implement a strong marketing strategy. This mini ‘case study’ is based on assumptions I have made from their communication and might not be 100% accurate as I am not privy to Villa Grace’s confidential information. Nonetheless, it provides a general overview of how each element of the marketing strategy is interconnected and also shows you how you can think through these elements for your own brand.
Villa Grace provides a Gastronomic Experience and is not a restaurant or a bar or a lounge. The brand has no permanent location which creates an aura of mystery. Events happen sporadically, there is no published calendar which promotes the idea of a ‘secret club’ – if you know you know. This creates some hype as consumers are always looking forward to the next announcement. Price points are high, catering to a target market that has extra disposable income and is willing to pay for a full experience. Gourmet meals, reservations only, elaborate place settings and dress codes encourage exclusivity. Communication is limited to Instagram and Word-of-Mouth further restricting access to the intended audience only. Communication focuses on the aesthetic of the meals and events and hardly on the Chef behind the scenes. This contributes to the illusion of Villa Grace’s perfect world where what you see is what you get. The brand pays a lot of attention to detail and partners with other high-end brands such as Lionheart events and Moet & Chandon for their events.
I think Villa Grace is a prime example of understanding your objectives, strengths and weaknesses, target market and implementing this information into your marketing plan and communication.
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Until next time,