Despite their best efforts, small businesses and professional services companies sometimes find that they just do not achieve the results intended or their business marketing plans cannot be fully implemented. Marketing plans can fail or miss the mark for a variety of reasons. One of the most common reasons, however, can be found in the business marketing strategy and not in the action plans.
Here are five tests of a business marketing strategy that must be met if your marketing plan and your activities are expected to succeed.
1. Alignment with Business Strategy. It is absolutely essential that you align your business marketing strategy with your business strategy. The marketing strategy needs to flow from the business strategy. For example, if your growth strategy is to increase business by adding a new product, you will be working at cross purposes if your overall strategy is to focus on selling your existing products.
2. Budget Sensitivity. The budget establishes the boundaries for your business marketing strategy. No matter how great an idea seems, if you have spent half of your budget and you need the rest to meet your goals, you simply cannot pursue the new idea without additional funds.
3. Comprehensive. Your business marketing strategy should outline all of your marketing goals, as well as the tactics you will use to accomplish them. It needs to encompass all of your marketing activities – traditional, internet, mobile, point of sale, etc. But it also needs to allow just enough flexibility to permit you to make some changes in order to take advantage of an unanticipated opportunity with a very high chance of success.
4. Balanced. It is unlikely that you will be reaching out to a single, narrowly defined demographic within your target audience or that you will use a single marketing tactic. A successful business marketing strategy will include ways to reach several segments of your target audience and will speak to those people through more than one medium.
5. Audience Determined. A good business marketing strategy will reflect significant research into the desires, needs and preferences of your target market. It will, then, use the tactics most likely to reach that audience where they can most commonly be found. It will reflect your understanding of the message they need to hear and the communication medium they prefer.
If your business marketing strategy can pass these five tests, you will be well on your way to crafting a winning plan that will achieve your goals and grow your business in the strategic direction you want the business to go.