All successful products or brands need well-planned marketing strategies in place to ensure that they satisfy the goals set by the corresponding business unit or geographic level and, in turn, the overall corporate marketing strategy.
Marketing strategy is therefore one of the most crucial Aspects of sales and marketing and gets its own book in the SMstudy® Guide series. The book shows how marketing strategy defines a product or brand’s unique value proposition, target markets and the specific strategies to be used to connect with defined audiences. It also specifies the pricing and distribution strategies for a product or brand and outlines the specific metrics, objectives and budgets for its marketing activities.
The well-planned marketing strategy includes a set of outputs from the eleven marketing strategy processes described in theMarketing Strategy book of the SMstudy® Guide. These outputs appear throughout strategic planning to help provide overall direction for marketing initiatives designed to support the promotion of the company’s products or brand.
Marketing Strategy’s second chapter, “Analyze Market Opportunity,” discusses the concepts related to analyzing the internal capabilities of a company and factors of the external environment that impact the business. An analysis of market opportunities is important because businesses operate in dynamic and constantly evolving environments. Understanding the changing landscape and trends impacting a business helps in developing an effective marketing strategy. Crucial factors to consider while analyzing a market opportunity include defining the market within which a company intends to operate and segmenting the market to identify potential customers for the company’s product portfolio.
The processes associated with Analyze Market Opportunity are Determine Strengths and Weaknesses, Determine Opportunities and Threats and Define Market and Identify Market Segments. Each process is explained in detail using its associated inputs, tools and outputs. Analyze Market Opportunity helps an organization understand what it can deliver so that it can fulfill customer needs.
The third chapter, “Define Competition, Targeting and Positioning,” first explores identifying the competition, understanding industry trends and creating future competitive scenarios that help in selecting target market segments. It then looks at creating a differentiated positioning statement for the company’s products or services for the target segments selected. Competitive positioning tools help define how a company can differentiate its product offerings to create value in the market by fully understanding its target segments and the competitive landscape.
The chapter outlines three processes that help an organization understand market competition, target appropriate market segments and define product features that help create a differentiated positioning statement for the products or brands of the company: Identify Competition, Select Target Segments and Create Differentiated Positioning.
Marketing Strategy’s fourth chapter is “Determine Pricing and Distribution Strategies.” A pricing strategy properly prices a company’s products or services so that the company can sustain profitability while maintaining or growing its market share. Developing a pricing strategy involves assessing the value of the company’s products based on their features; analyzing the pricing and features of competitive products in the market; analyzing the consumer mindset, which takes into account demand and price expectations for the products; and considering anticipated unit costs, sales and profitability. A distribution strategy defines how a company moves a product from creation to consumption in a cost-efficient manner while focusing on the end users’ needs. The distribution strategy is important because understanding and addressing the needs of the entire distribution channel external to the company ensures that products or services are delivered and sold to customers in the most efficient and effective manner possible.
The two processes developed in the fourth chapter are Determine Pricing Strategy and Determine Distribution Strategy. The pricing strategy is determined for the various products or services of a company. The end objective is sustainable profitability while growing or maintaining a healthy market share. The distribution strategy ensures the most efficient delivery of a company’s products or services to the customer and that the selected strategy is based on the company’s assessment of several alternative distribution channels. These processes are explained with the help of their associated inputs, tools and outputs.
“Determine Metrics, Objectives, Marketing Aspects and Budget Allocation” makes up the fifth chapter and discusses the various metrics and objectives used for sales and marketing such as reach, brand perception, product availability, sales and profitability. It also covers various sales and marketing Aspects including Marketing Research, Digital Marketing, Corporate Sales, Branding and Advertising and Retail Marketing, presenting a framework for allocating targets and budget for each of these Aspects.
The fifth chapter describes three processes using their corresponding inputs, tools and outputs. The processes are Determine Metrics, Determine Objectives and Decide Marketing Aspects and Allocate Budget. In the first process, Determine Metrics, various sales and marketing metrics such as reach, brand perception, product availability, sales and profitability are determined. These metrics help measure the success or failure of the Marketing Strategy. In Determine Objectives, attainable, quantifiable and time-based objectives are determined for all of the metrics selected in the previous process. In the final process, the sales and marketing teams select the Marketing Aspects that will help the company reach its overall sales and marketing objectives. Subsequently, specific objectives are determined for each marketing Aspect and a marketing budget is allocated for each.
With a well-developed and designed marketing strategy, a company can achieve and sustain sales success.