You recently started a small business or a startup and you ask yourself: how is my product or service going to help stand out from my competitors? You may need to employ a marketing strategy!

A marketing strategy is a business’s goal to increase profit through market research and the right product mix to achieve a sustainable competitive advantage.

Marketing is the selling and promoting of a business’s product or service. It involves analysing your target market, and decisions to tailor your marketing plan in order to be ahead of your competitors.There are many forms of marketing. Traditional marketing, digital marketing and global marketing the list goes on.

Of these different types of marketing, digital marketing is one of the most popular and cost effective ways to promote and attract new customers or clients into your business. According to Smart Insights, the trendiest marketing technique in 2016 is digital marketing, with the top three subsets of digital marketing being Big Data, Content Marketing, and Communities.

Developing a marketing strategy for your business can be very helpful and should be a foundation for your business strategy. By executing a marketing strategy within a reasonable timeframe and goal, you can evaluate whether your business has achieved an increase in profit from your product or service and redefine your strategy to make any improvements.

You might begin to think: well can’t I just go and invest in an all-in-one marketing tool that will do the job? Yes, you can, but if you don’t have a strategic goal of who you are targeting and what you expect from using paid ads, then you are probably wasting your time and money.

Prepare a marketing budget

Before you develop your marketing strategy, you will need to prepare a marketing budget. This will help you determine whether you are getting an ROI (Return on Investment) from your budget at the end of a timeframe.

To determine whether there’s an ROI, you can calculate your total marketing spending – for example paid advertising, print advertising etc., – with the total number of new clients and the total return/revenue from new clients.The ROI results should give you a return that is greater than what you have invested into marketing and can also keep track of your marketing spending.

As your business becomes more established, your marketing budget should reduce and your returns should increase. It is suggested that for small businesses and start-ups 7-8 percent of your revenue should be invested into marketing.

Know your market (Situation Analysis)

Before you choose a marketing strategy you should assess your current target market. This is a fundamental exercise if you want to understand how your customers or clients can benefit from your product or service. You should ask yourself the following questions:

  • Who are you targeting? eg. tweens, teens, mothers, females and males age 20-35;
  • What are your customers/clients interest? eg. fitness, music, art, foodies;
  • What kind of problems are you trying to solve? eg. an inconvenience, a difficulty;
  • What needs does your target market have? eg. save time on ______, save money on______;
  • How do your competitors meet the needs of your target market? eg. guarantee delivery;
  • How can you do it better? eg. guarantee delivery within a shorter time period in comparison to your competitor;

Want to learn more? Read Part II of our series for examples of different marketing strategies.If you have got the answers to the questions above, you can now draw a marketing strategy. Don’t know where to start? Learn about the different marketing strategies here.

Let us know your thoughts on marketing strategies by tagging us #lawpath or @lawpath.

Ann Chen

Ann is a Paralegal, working in our content team, which aims to provide free legal guides to facilitate public access to legal resources. With a keen interest in media and IP law, her research focuses on the evolving role of the law to navigate new and emerging information platforms.