Last week we discussed the importance of capturing the right information when developing a marketing plan. The Capture Phase lets you gain insights in your business, markets, competitors and other aspects that will influence demand.
We’re continuing the exploration of our marketing methodology, by exploring the Strategy Phase. This component is the second part of the marketing methodology and builds on the information you gathered during the capture phase.
Begin by analysing the information you captured
The strategies for your business should be informed by the findings from the capture phase. You need to understand what the data is telling you to identify where there may be merit in developing specific strategies.
For example, if you wish to introduce a new product, consider the target demographics and the motivating factors that would influence purchase decisions. One of your strategies would specifically develop this market, with the aim of delivering sales and revenue growth.
Understanding the information you have gathered will ensure that your strategies are relevant and will deliver positive results.
Be open to engagement
The Strategy Phase should be open to collaboration and there is merit in involving stakeholders and staff to ensure that they are able to contribute their observations.
Several methods exist to encourage engagement, including workshops, interviews or surveys. Often you may need to use several of these methods to reach all relevant stakeholders, depending on their level of engagement. Often you can involve staff in an internal workshop, hold selected interviews with key customers and then conduct a survey seeking wider input. Each of these methods are valid and should have a consistent foundation to ensure that you can compare results. Furthermore, consistency will enable you to benchmark future results to identify trends and measure performance.
Consider all options
You need to consider all possible options during the strategy phase. The aim of this phase is to think strategically about your business and its possibilities. Subsequently, you will be able to identify the strategies that are the right fit for your business and which will be included in the final marketing plan.
If you have a seasonal product, such as ice cream, one relevant strategy would be the introduction of complementary food, such as waffles, that may be more suitable for winter. This would be a sound strategy, as it would reduce seasonal fluctuations, but may not be suitable if you are planning on being known exclusively for ice cream.
The final strategies that you select for your marketing plan should be consistent with the research, validate the engagement that was undertaken and reinforce the strategic direction of your business.
Your strategy sets your direction
The Strategy Phase is where you begin to explore future options and possibilities. Taking the time to identify the right strategies ensures that the resources you allocate will achieve results.
The Strategy Phase establishes the criteria you will use to measure the success of your marketing plan.