Many SME owners know the importance of a Business Plan but some have not fully appreciated the value of a Marketing Strategy. Standing out in competitive and often crowded market places is essential which is why successful businesses have developed a great ‘unique selling proposition’ (USP) which clearly projects value to their potential customers. Marketing involves developing a demand for a product through its perceived (NB perceived) value and fulfilling the customer’s needs. Doing so can allow a company to achieve a premium price, as every bank balance of an Apple customer can testify!
Marketing identifies the competitive advantage, positions the business in the right market, develops the brand and carefully uses websites, social media and various other routes of promotion. Whilst these are key parts of the overall Business Strategy, it is often helpful to have them in a separate Marketing Strategy.
Getting your message across should be fun but is often not sufficiently focussed or has either too little investment or a scattergun approach to marketing which yields poor value for money. No manufacturer would stay in business if the production line was not planned and run efficiently – similar effort is needed with marketing. The investment in senior client time working out what the message is that needs to be conveyed is as important as the marketing spend itself if that spend is to be wisely made.
Our approach is to ask searching questions to understand the value of a product or service and then into what market it is being sold, in what way and why. This focus invariably helps to identify the key areas that require further attention. Depending on the assignment scope, we work innovatively with our clients and specialist marketing firms to create a coherent and cost effective marketing strategy including marketing, branding, websites and social media etc.
One particular area of focus is often to review a client’s website from the customer’s perspective. Does it meet the client’s needs and offer them something of value? This has two aspects:
(a) the value message projected by the site and
(b) the design and functionality of the website that best communicates that message.
Usually this involves editing, strengthening and adapting a client’s website. One difficulty that some clients experience is getting their website to function as they want and for it to give the required message to their customers. We work with a partner firm, ProWP, who are specialised in revamping existing websites to achieve their aim without the need for a costly new one.