A marketing strategy is important for all businesses because it clearly outlines how they'll find new customers and promote their products and services to ultimately achieve more sales. You can use the marketing strategy as a stand-alone tool, as part of a marketing plan, or as part of a business plan, all with slightly different components.
Let's focus on some marketing strategy examples for your business plan.
- A solid marketing strategy addresses the four Ps: product, promotion, price, and place.
- Your success can depend on understanding your clients’ needs and being flexible enough to find a way to meet them.
- Keep your budget in mind. You can only do what you can afford to do, and you should plan for accommodating periodic shortfalls.
How Marketing Strategy Fits Into Your Business Plan
The marketing strategy section of your business plan builds upon the market analysis section. The marketing strategy outlines where your business fits into the market and how you'll price, promote, and sell your product or service. It can also act as a source of important information for potential investors who are analyzing your business.
The 4 Ps: Product, Promotion, Price, and Place
You can break down the key information in the marketing strategy section using the 4 Ps of marketing concept: product, promotion, price, and place.
Product can refer to either a physical product or a service that you plan on offering. Some of the product areas that fall into this section include:
- Brand name
- Related products or services
Promotion covers the various aspects of how you plan on marketing your product or service. The areas you should address include:
- Marketing budget
- Promotional strategy
- Publicity and public relations
- Sales force
- Sales promotion
This addresses the way you plan on pricing your product or service. The aspects of pricing you should address are:
- Bundling (if you have related products/services)
- Pricing flexibility
- Pricing strategy
- Retail price
- Seasonal price (if applicable)
- Wholesale (volume) price
Also known as distribution, this part is all about the delivery of your product or service to your customers. Some areas you should cover include:
- Distribution centers
- Distribution channels
- Inventory management
- Order processing
7 Tips for Writing a Marketing Strategy
Keep seven things in mind as you write the marketing strategy section of your business plan to make it as effective and relevant as possible.
Show How Unique You Are
The foundation of your marketing strategy should be your unique selling proposition (USP). This is the statement that outlines what differentiates you from everyone else in the market. Create your USP first, then build upon it by relating it to each of the 4 Ps.
The common thread through each part of your marketing strategy should be how your business solves a problem or meets a need better than anyone else.
Know Your Customers/Clients
The information you include in your marketing strategy should incorporate all the research you conducted in your market analysis. Make sure you have a clear idea of who your ideal customers or clients are, what they like, what they need, and what they expect. This will make your marketing strategy more accurate and applicable to your target audience.
The 4 Ps of marketing work well for physical products, but you may have to tweak them a bit for services. For example, you might use your website instead of a physical location for the place section. Your website should also be a part of your promotion section, as should any social media platforms that you participate in.
Do Your Research
When you’re determining your pricing, you should have plenty of data to back up your decision when you're determining your pricing. Include industry reports, competitor ads, and comparisons that demonstrate the research you conducted and how you came to the conclusion that you're pricing your product or service correctly.
As in other sections of your business plan, using charts, graphs, and images to illustrate your facts can make them easier for your audience to absorb and understand. Is your pricing right at the median of the industry? Are you planning to use a four-step distribution process?
Use visual aids to drive your point home.
Remember Your Budget
You'll outline the financial analysis of your company in another section of your business plan but keep those numbers in mind as you write your marketing strategy. Your marketing process may look good by itself, but you'll have a difficult time meeting your goals unless you tie it directly to your financial status.
Include Your Collateral
You should include samples as exhibits if you're going to talk about your marketing collateral in your marketing section. These might include brochures, fact sheets, videos, and photos.
The Bottom Line
Your marketing strategy is your overall plan for how you're going to make your business profitable. Larger enterprises might have different strategies for various arms of their operations. Sole proprietors carry the weight of a single plan on their own. But addressing all these components will increase your odds of success in any case.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What are the four types of marketing strategies?
Many consider the four Ps to be the basic types of marketing strategies, but others focus on four possible ways you can reach clients and consumers: search engine optimization, paid advertising, content marketing, and sales.
What are the seven Cs of marketing?
The seven Cs organize your marketing strategy. They can vary depending on who you talk to and the nature of your business, but you can tailor yours to best meet your goals and needs. Most include customer, consistency, creativity, and communication. Some include other factors, such as convenience, competition, credibility, culture, and change.