Understanding your market is the first step
Mistakes in strategic decisions are costly. Selling mainframe computers and film for cameras are clear examples of market revolutions that perhaps even skilled market research would have missed. But strategic decisions made by companies year in and year out can be as impactful – though hopefully not always direly so. Strategic marketing planning has a critical impact on your organization’s future.
Strategic market planning allocates limited resources to help a company focus on the most fruitful opportunities to increase sales, define and achieve a sustainable competitive advantage while fulfilling customer requirements.
Ideally we’d like to go to every meeting from the outset and be included in the product development and design process, but frequently we’re given a finished product and then… Interestingly irrespective of when we get involved, the first question to be answered in strategic marketing is the same: what is the market? Not a bad starting point.
Developing a strategy is a daunting task, but starting at the start helps. Companies face a high level of uncertainty about the needs of customers, the products and services that will prove to be the most desired, and the best configuration of features, services and technologies to deliver. And, marketers face the same uncertainties. Because of this uncertainty, companies (and marketers) often match all features, offer all new services, and explore all technologies, in developing products and in marketing them as well.
This behavior exhausts resources, confuses customers and may reposition the organization outside of its target market—thus making the value proposition no longer applicable. There is no right combination – except that the design and the execution need to align with the market – this is strategy and strategic market planning.
The right strategy development will integrate online and offline marketing, bring coherence to your messaging, identify and confidently deliver your value proposition and help you achieve recognition through competitive advantage, more leads and increased sales.