There is no such thing as a business-building, business-sustaining “easy button.” I know, “What a drag!” So, if you are eyeing every prospective customer’s wallet and chasing the money, don’t be shocked as your business bank account remains sharply in the red. If your business start-up strategy has been derived from a $17.00 e-book produced by another run of the mill – self-proclaimed – get rich quick guru, don’t be taken aback by the fact that you have rendered zero sales. If you are lulled into buying into a $5000.00 web/blog build and do not know the precise moment in time when you can expect a return on your investment – plus a profit percentage, don’t be sad when all that you have left is a $5000.00 black hole of unrecoverable debt.
Oh, What to Do?
The decision making process relative to marketing is paramount and is a skill. Your skill will be best learned by practice. In other words, you must understand the concepts and tools that are useful in framing and solving strategic marketing problems. Thus, seek a balance between marketing management theory and practice. First, and foremost, before you take your next (or first) step, you need to consider the following strategies (from a high-level vantage point):
- Develop the definition of your distinct business.
- Develop your mission.
- Define your objectives.
- Identify your industry sector. (Scan the business/consumer environment.)
- Identify your target market (composite) within your chosen industry sector.
- Identify your target market’s needs, problems, and/or goals.
- Remember, your aspirations are to help your target market achieve a goal, solve a problem, and/or satisfy a need. If you do not understand their goals, problems, and/or needs, how can you ever effectively render a product or service to efficiently fulfill these target market necessities?
- Conduct and analyze industry and market competitive analysis.
- Who are your competitors? What do they do well? What are they lacking? How will you differentiate your brand (what you do)?
- Develop your product or service “marketing mix.” (4Ps)
- Product (Feature and benefit)
- Price (Cost analysis)
- Place (Distribution channel)
- Promotion (Paid advertising and earned media)
- Develop an integrated marketing communication strategy (IMC).
- Execute your strategic plan.
- Monitor your results.
- Make corrective adjustments.
- Continue to monitor your results.
- Continue to make corrective adjustments.
Foundation of Strategic Marketing Management
According to Kerin and Peterson (2010), strategic marketing management is comprised of a five-part intricate and interrelated approach.
- Defining your business, mission, and goals.
- Recognizing and framing business cultivation opportunities.
- Formulating product/service/market strategies.
- Developing budgeting financial, marketing, and production collateral.
- Establish reformation and recovery actions, processes, and strategies.
Remember, there is no “easy button” to success. Critical thinking is key: A problem/solution framework. Slow down or even stop yourself and make the time to consider and contemplate each of the essential and business-strategic components as outlined within this post. Ultimately, you will have to decide to learn it all on your own by way of time investment, patience, and trial and error, or you can take the smart road by aligning with a business/marketing strategist while you remain zeroed in on what you do best (your core competencies). Building and sustaining a business should never be a solo sport (endeavor).
Be smart and be encouraged,
Kerin, R. A. & Peterson, R. A. (2011). Strategic marketing problems. Cases and comments. (12th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.