How to Develop a Marketing Strategy?
How to Develop an Effective Marketing Strategy? Well, this is a question that everyone involved in any business should ask themselves. And it should be asked before investing in any marketing effort.
In actual fact, very few people get this one right. And the reason is, many of us don’t know how customers behave. Plus, we ignore the fact that research is the key to an effective marketing strategy.
Unfortunately, many marketers repeat the latest slogans with no real insight on the way this works. In my opinion, the objective of an effective marketing strategy is:
There are 3 steps to developing an effective marketing strategy. These steps include focusing your effort on:
1- Your promise to your customer
2- Identify the buying customer
3- Targeting the buying customer
Your promise to your customer.
1- A good product
2- High quality
3- Reliable, good and caring service
4- Pay attention to customers’ needs
Delivering on these promises sets the stage to everything else you will do. And if you don’t, a marketing strategy would not be able to help you that much.
The buying customer.
1st - The Demographics:
7- Family Status
In fact, the Demographics tell you that the customer belongs to a certain group. And that this group has similar buying tendencies. However, the Demographics will not tell you that this group will buy your product or service. But it does tell you if this group has the tendency to buy a product like yours.
As an example, the Demographics tell you that this group with these characteristics will buy a car of a certain size, like a minivan or a sedan. However, the demographics don’t tell you that they will buy a Chevy, a Honda or a Ford.
So, the question becomes – how do you identify the specific customer that will buy your product?
Well, this is the Holy Grail of marketing. Additionally, this is the job of the Psychographics, which is the Personality Characteristics.
Every person has certain Personality Characteristics. And according to extensive research in this area, customers can be characterized according to the Big 5 Model. In short, each characteristic has a High (Positive) and a Low (Negative) as listed below:
2nd - The Psychographics:
a- High: Sociability, Activity, Talkativeness, Perseverance
b- Low: Introversion, Reclusiveness, Taciturnity
a- High: Closeness, Trust, Cooperation
b- Low: Distance, Distrust
a- High: Reliable, Goal oriented, Persistent
b- Low: Carless, Apathetic, Inconsistent
a- High: Carefree, Relaxed
b- Low: Fearful, Nervous, Depressed, Insecure
a- High: Curiosity, Inquisitiveness
b- Low: Traditionalism, Conservatism
Let us Understand this better.
So, how do you know who is who, and how do you manage all of this?
Well, here is the answer to this, as per a past survey that was taken by some researchers:
Researchers had consumers fill surveys to identify the consumers’ behavior. When the surveys came back, the researchers found that these surveys were not accurate enough. In fact, this was because consumers behavior was different than the survey results.
After that, the researchers decided to take another survey. But this time, it was from the customer’s friends and family. They felt that this would give them more objective results. And it actually did. But again, the result was not accurate enough.
In the end, the researchers decided to have a person that didn’t know the consumers follow them. This person would then have to observe the customers and eventually fill the survey accordingly. Ultimately, this gave them fantastic objective results. To point out, there were 2 things that they found out about the consumer:
1- The Ideal self, which is what consumers think of themselves.
2- And the Actual self, which is what consumers actually do.
Moreover, these 2 things were vastly different. And the one thing the researchers realized from this. For them to successfully market their product/service, they needed to target the actual self of the consumer.
From the research, they also knew one more thing. As a matter of fact, it was that the consumers like other people that have the same personality traits. So, an Extraversion likes another Extraversion. In simple words, people like other people with the same personality.
Now, they identified the Buying customer. And the next step was to target the buying customer.
Targeting the buying customer
Companies that are effective in marketing have started personalizing their brands. This was done only after these companies realized that people like other people with the same personality.
To clarify, they did not talk about their product specifically. But they positioned their brand as if it were a person.
The impact of that would be, the customer would start relating to the brand like it was another person. And let’s say the brand had a similar personality like yours (the customer). Naturally, you would start liking the brand. And over time, the brand would develop a relationship with you. This would make you start buying the brand’s products and become loyal to it.
To explain this better, here is an example – Nike:
Nike is a shoe company. But you don’t see Nike talking about their shoes. All you see is that Nike always promotes athleticism and their messages hit you emotionally.
This way you would relate to their brand as if it is a person. And when it is time for you to buy a running shoes, you would choose Nike first.
Remember in ‘The Buying Customer’ section above, we talked about the big 5 personality traits. In addition to that, we also spoke about what researchers did to identify the consumer.
Well, the researchers figured out that there are two faces of a consumer: the ideal self and the actual self. In particular, the actual self was discovered by having a person follow the consumer. That is how they were able to find out about the consumer’s actual behavior.
Similarly, Facebook and Twitter do the same thing using their software. With this, they collect data on everybody. In actual fact, many other social media companies do the same.
These companies know nearly everything about us. In short, they know our names, ages, birthdays, and where we live. They also know our friends, our feelings and what triggered them. And that is not all; these companies also keep an eye on what we read, what we buy and much more than that.
Knowing so much about the consumer gives them incredible targeting power. This is mostly because they know the consumer on an individual level. And by using this information, they can influence the consumer to buy a certain product or service. They call this micro targeting.
Micro targeting is controversial because it can be used for good or bad.
Let us take an example of a controversial use of micro targeting. A few years ago Cambridge Analytica used Facebook data to influence the 2016 presidential election in the United States. In fact, their CEO Alexander Nix bragged about it. He also declared that his company was instrumental in getting Donald Trump elected.
Now, we can take what we want from this example. But the fact remains that micro targeting is extremely powerful. And, it is here to stay. In short, we will see more and more companies using micro targeting to influence our buying decisions. So, it is necessary for you to consider the effect of micro targeting when you are developing your marketing strategy.
In conclusion, develop a marketing strategy that is suitable to your brand and product or service. Knowing your customers’ Demographics and Psychographics are key to your successful marketing strategy.
Moreover, following in the footsteps of successful marketing companies like Nike, Coca Cola, and McDonald. It would give you the ability to be as successful as these companies are. Someone may tell you that these companies are so large and they can do amazing things.
But remember that these companies were not always large. They were small when they started off and they worked hard to reach where they are with these marketing strategies. You also need to think about using micro targeting. Because if you don’t, rest assured your competitor will.
I hope this article helps you in creating your marketing strategy. Leave me a comment and tell me what you think. Good Luck!
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