Strategy – this is the favorite word of many sales and marketing managers. And of course everyone claims that they think and act strategically. But what exactly is a marketing or sales strategy and how can it be developed? What is a strategy for? It should show a way how a goal can be achieved. It follows:
But what is a realistic goal ? Opinions in companies often differ on this. For example, is it realistic when a new master hairdresser who has just started his own business proclaims: “In a year I want to be the best-known hairdresser in Germany, Austria and Switzerland”? Certainly not! It is just as unrealistic when a PC manufacturer who has just entered the service business announces: “In one year we want to generate as much sales with our services as with our hardware”.
However, a realistic goal could be: “In one year all of our industrial customers should know that we are now also offering services in the IT area. And in two years we want to have at least one small first order in the service area from 30 percent of them. And in three years? Then 15 percent of our regular customers should have concluded a comprehensive contract with us in the service area. ”
1. Formulate A Realistic Goal
But how do I, as a marketing or sales manager, achieve a realistic goal? A prerequisite for this is to know exactly :
- What kind of product does my company offer?
- What are its characteristics? And how does it differ from competing products? For example, is it cheaper? Or easier to use?
- What is my company’s position in the market? Is it an unknown newcomer or a company that (almost) everyone knows: “They build 1A stereos” or “They are fit for IT security”?
- What resources are available to us? Because it makes a difference whether a company can spend 1,000, 100,000 or even a million euros on marketing and advertising purposes. If the budget is only 1,000 euros, there is no need to even think about certain measures such as national advertisements or radio and television spots.
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2. Identify The Most Promising Target Groups
As a general rule, a company’s financial and human resources are limited. So the central question is usually not: “What could we do?”, But rather: “What can we do with the resources available?” It is therefore important to determine:
For a provider of high-priced mineral water, the answer could be: “We are concentrating on the scene gastronomy. Because when the trendy bars serve our ‘water’, our core target group also buys them privately. ”In the case of an IT system house, however, the answer could be:“ We concentrate on service companies such as engineering offices, where nothing works when the computer system is installed fails. Because the subject of reliability is extremely important to them. ”
The above example shows how important it is to know exactly the advantages of your own product . Without this knowledge, a company cannot identify the customer groups for whom these characteristics are important. And without them, it cannot formulate its advertising messages in such a way that the target customers get the feeling: “This could be something for me / us.”
3. Formulate Clear Marketing Messages
The marketing messages can be very different. At a discount store , the central message can be: “You won’t get electrical goods cheaper anywhere than here.” A manufacturer of sports cars, on the other hand, might score with the following subtle message: “When you drive our convertible, the young women run after you in droves.” Because His target customers also include aging men who would like to be young again. And what about a PC service provider who wants to win engineering offices as customers? For him, the central advertising message can be: “If you work with us, you no longer have to worry that your computer system will fail.”
An everyday example : If one customer primarily pays attention to the price when buying a pizza, for another, the pizza must above all be crispy and thick. And for a third, it is important that the pizza maker has brown eyes and says “ciao” when he leaves. The situation is similar with almost all products – regardless of whether they are consumer goods or complex capital goods.
4. Select The Right Marketing Tools
Once the marketing message has been formulated, the question arises: How can we convey it to our target group? The next step is to select the marketing instruments and combine them in such a way that the marketing goal is achieved. For this you have to know what you can (not) achieve with the individual marketing instruments.
An example : Suppose an education provider wants to market a seminar that will take place in Buxtehude in one or two months. If he only relies on the instrument of press work, he has lost from the start. Because by the time the first press releases appear, if at all, the seminar hotel’s cancellation deadline has long expired. So press work can only have a supporting function. Otherwise, the company has to rely on advertisements, mailings or telephone marketing, for example.
It is different with an IT service provider who wants to build up a reputation as a specialist in IT security. He can come to the conclusion: “It is difficult for us to convey our professional competence in advertisements and sales letters. That is why two things have to play a central role in our marketing concept: Articles in specialist journals and lectures at congresses. ”
The same applies to the choice of sales channels. Here, too, there is no ideal standard solution ; rather, every company has to decide for itself:
- Should I rely on specialist retailers or my own field service team for sales ?
- Or should I push online trading or even combine the various sales channels depending on the target group?