Developing a marketing strategy is not a simple task as it involves several facets. With globalization, marketing strategy has assumed even greater importance as competition has toughened and margins diminished. A marketing strategy has to be so devised such that it augments a chosen business objective.
Business objective is a variable factor and so is marketing strategy. Among various business objectives some of the common ones are:
- Increasing sales
- Increasing market share
- Brand building
- Strengthen customer loyalty
- Introduction of new products or services
- Public relations campaign
- Exclusive offers
Each of these objectives is for short term and backed by publicity campaigns which are instruments of marketing strategy.
Increasing sales – This is perhaps the commonest reason for developing an effective marketing strategy. Here it needs to be understood that increasing sales in not similar to increasing profitability. With competition among suppliers and manufacturers heightened businesses now operate on thin margins of profitability. The only way of increasing profitability is to increase revenue or sales. With low price, high sales volume and high revenue a seller is assured of his return on investment.
Marketing strategy in this case is focused on increasing sales volume. Publicity in local dailies, locally popular television channels, and outdoor advertising are ways of increasing sales. In case for a high value product, online advertising is another way of increasing the possibility of sales.
Increasing market share – There is significant distinction between increasing sales and increasing market share. Increasing sales is always in absolute numbers, while increasing share is in terms of percentage. It is possible to achieve an increased sales figure without changing market share. In contrast, an increase in market share not only adds to absolute sales figure but also market presence. An increase in market share implies greater penetration and wider coverage.
Marketing strategy for achieving greater share goes beyond media publicity. Networking plays an important role especially if the product concerned is of high value. More focused publicity campaigns like corporate presentations and road shows are effective in creating dents in untapped areas.
Brand building – Brand building or creating brand awareness is among the principal activities of marketing. Brand creation becomes even more important whenever a product or service is being launched, or when a brand is making entry into a new domain. Brand creation is a comprehensive affair that involves all forms of avenues: online, off line, and outdoor. Exposures should be in prominent places: front or last pages of a newspaper, newspaper jackets, magazine cover pages, billboards in prominent road side locations, commercials in prime time television programs, are some of the ways of ensuring greater market coverage. Online publicity in the form of PPC ads or websites adds to brand image of any product or service being brought to a market for the first time. Brand building advertisements, irrespective of their medium are published simultaneously. This process of brand creation is lengthy and involves large sums of money.
Strengthen customer loyalty – Though this is offered as a goodwill gesture for existing customers, such marketing avenues are capable of generating more sales from existing customers. As customarily majority of business comes from existing clients, it is only natural that they be kept satisfied and contented. Nurturing such relationship by expressing gratitude to old customers through public media is a popular form of marketing strategy. This is common for companies catering to leading multinational corporations, premier organizations, and government departments.
Introduction of new product or services – Introductions of new services or products are always accompanied by public advertisements. This practice is normal and followed worldwide by marketers and sellers. These advertisements not only inform buyers about a new item, but also help in infusing trust among them. It is also contributes towards brand building.
Public relations campaign – Maintaining public relations is crucial for every business irrespective of its size and sector. A regular publicity program is followed by leading marketing organizations to stay connected to existing customers, potential buyers, business partners, and associates. A congenial public image increases brand worthiness of a company and its acceptability among new buyers.
Marketing strategies are always directed towards increasing marketability and business presence. A public relation campaign cements the trust with existing customers.
Exclusive offers – Manufacturers and suppliers at times come out with exclusive offers. Two for the price of one, discounts up to 50 percent, stock clearance sale, introduction of a new car model, and so on are typical examples of special offers. The easiest way to inform people about these offers is through publicity channels. These exclusive offers in addition to increasing sales also carry a message of universal availability of products and services.
Significance of Marketing Strategy
Effective marketing strategy primarily addresses three issues: i) creating awareness; ii) generating leads; and iii) educating both potential and current users.
Creating awareness – Awareness creation is always considered the foremost activity of marketing strategy. This is effectuated through both traditional and non-conventional methods of publicity. Advertising in newspapers and magazines; publication of newsletters; and word or mouth are forms of traditional ways of awareness creation.
Among non-conventional methods there is website creation, submission of online blogs and articles; and podcasting. These non-conventional methods are essentially online and restricted to internet users.
Generating leads – The ultimate objective of marketing strategies, sales planning, demand projection etc. is revenue generation. All these activities are concerned with generating revenue and income. So, it could be safely said that marketing strategies are intrinsically related to business creation. Client referrals, networking, and action calls are different expressions of lead generation.
Educating – Educating existing and potential users of products and services is an integral part of marketing. Organizing seminars and road shows on products and services and their uses are part of marketing. Publication of article reprints and white papers are also efforts of educating users on various subjects.
Marketing strategy is all about increasing a company’s visibility. The way chosen depend on the exact business path a company proposes to follow. While developing a marketing strategy it is essential to remember that creation and maintenance of a unique brand identity is topmost priority.