Tactics take time, money and resources to execute. At the end of the day, every entrepreneur wants to maximize their return on investment for their marketing dollars. So, what’s the quickest route to profitability through wise investments? Having a thoughtful marketing strategy based on research, reflection and purpose.
In recent years, the online world has made entrepreneurial opportunities for success that much easier and less expensive. From do-it-yourself website design to a plethora of social media channels, a new business can pop up online or in the more traditional brick & mortar version immediately creating brand awareness upon launch. However, with the accessibility of these tools, we all too often see entrepreneurs and even well-established businesses jump into the execution of it all without having a solid marketing strategy to guide them through the tactics.
Think of it this way… You wouldn’t start designing the rooms of your new house before you had the proper blueprints laid out by an architect. So why would you start creating content for your social media channels or public relations campaign until you have a clear understanding of your brand’s foundation? At Suite 203, we are your brand architects. We help brands shape their vision to best appeal to the marketplace and build a concrete, actionable marketing strategy to engage with the desired target market.
So what exactly does a marketing strategy entail? You may think it is a tactical plan that plots out your brand’s activities over the course of a year. While this is the end result, the process begins long before the planning with a deep dive into your brand’s essence. Below we list out the stages that we use at Suite 203 to fully immerse ourselves within a brand to understand what its particular route to success ill look like.
1. Research, Research, Research
Whether your brand is a start-up or has been on the market for decades, it’s always important to examine the particular industry and the competition.
- How do you fit in?
- What makes your brand stand out?
- Why do your customers pick you over the competition?
- Why do they choose the competition?
2. Branding 101
When most people hear the term branding, they think logo design. At Suite 203, we think about what your brand stands for. This is the stage when we answer the hard questions including:
- Why does your brand exist?
- What does it stand for?
- How does it make people’s lives easier, better, simpler, richer?
- What is its personality?
The world has become a crowded space for brands to stand out. Without a clear reason for being and purpose, chances are a brand will get lost in the crowd.
3. Not Everyone is a Target Customer
It is possible that many different types of people will buy your product or use your service, but it would be impossible to market to everyone. By truly understanding your “best” customer’s profile, you will be able to funnel your marketing efforts to the most in-tune, responsive customer for your brand. Who is the ideal customer that you want to keep coming back for more? Who is that person who will become a brand ambassador because they just can’t live without your brand? During this stage, we put together a complete customer avatar that goes beyond demographics. It will include basics like age, gender and occupation but we always dig deeper to understand what they are hearing, reading and seeing and what keeps them up at night.
4. The Perfect Position
After the above three stages have been completed, now is the time to determine your brand’s position and where it fits within the market. Customers always expect and demand the best quality for the price and excellent customer service. These are not unique to your brand. They have access to so much information and demand more. So what unique selling proposition will you feature and incorporate into your key messages? A brand position can focus on a product feature, a brand’s beliefs or a low price strategy. We help you to differentiate your offering to stand apart from the crowd.
5. Planned for Success
Stages 1-4 are complete and you should now have a clear brand roadmap outlining your key messages, your target customers and a solid understanding of what sets you apart. Now is the time to solidify your annual marketing budget and see which tactics can be utilized at what frequency. Start plotting it out and soon you will have a marketing plan that is perfectly customized to your brand and budget.
The stages outlined above may seem easy enough to tackle on your own but our experience at Suite 203 has shown us that often times an outside consultant can bring a different perspective to many of the tough questions. As an entrepreneur you may think you have a solid grasp on all things related to your brand, but when the time actually comes to verbalize it, it can be a challenge. Just as you would hire an architect to draft up the blueprints for your new house, so should you call on a marketing expert to build the foundation of your brand.