Why developing a business strategy is vital? [Updated]
From an early age we are trained to perform tasks, the right way. It all starts at school with a strategic plan of action. With our parents; at work; and so on. .
At the present time, business strategy is one of the most important steps you can take. Planning ahead, is therefore vital. I’d say that we all need to learn how to plan an effective business strategy if you want to be successful.
However, I disagree with the principle of doing things the right way, there’s no such thing “the right way”.
Start with the basics:
- What is your Vision?
- What are your Goals?
- Who is your primary segment?
- What is your purpose/objectives?
- What channels to implement the above?
- When to control your strategy and monitor what is working for you?
- How to create a overall business performance dashboard?
Well, let’s see how to plan your business marketing strategy. Hope this can help you out today.
I’ll show an example based on our case studies that have worked, but this also be applied to many other businesses.
A good approach– is called: See -Think – Draw.
How to draw a business strategy plan?
Ex: Social media campaign – Which market segment, What message, Why am I sharing, With Who, When…
Formulate – Actions and specific processes to reach business strategy goals.
Implement – Resources, processes, marketing strategies and solid market research with winning stratagems.
Control – Monitor overall customer situations to fully control the outcome in order to improve results and strategic objectives.
Regardless the size of your business, you’ll have to market research, analyse data, results and quickly adapt by implementing new tactics in order to be successful and reap the rewards.
Long-term plan approach could be shaped as follow:
- Business strategy and marketing plan – Design or refresh your mission, business vision, objectives and its priorities for the next 12 to 18 months.
- Customer centric – Who is your ideal customer ? Where do they go – develop scenarios and get an insight into their mindset and world, check opportunities and competition – Define purposes, scope, map user profile information and its usability to help you control the entire customer experience process.
- Search Engine optimisation and social media – Create different buckets with keywords list – add it to your (niche) content. Promote, engage/interact, serve and analyse your social activity in just one place and collect rewards. Analyse your best content, see what’s trendy and adapt it in order to write better articles based on your data to deliver that added value.
- Online advertising – Identify top social media and bookmarking sites and other advertising platforms – Use AdWords as it can help you achieve your target and objectives.
- Set-up key metrics – To keep an eye and measure, control performance through all your channels.
Is this the only way you can build your business strategy?
Of course not. This is a proven framework, that could effectively work for your business.
Let’s find out if you really are in control of your business strategy.
You should be able to answer the following questions – If you cannot answer six out of ten – then you’re going to need to rethink and recheck your business planning, starting with vision.
1. Are you able to see where you can increase your customer database and offer better value/services than your competitors?
2. Upon your market research could you differentiate your marketing (best selling products or/and services) from the crowd in order to meet the needs of customer segments?
3. Could you reshape your sales operations within few months and get quick wins across traditional and digital channels?
4. Can your business provide marketing mix or/and multi-customer platforms with dedicated or personalized service 24/7?
5. Are you able to challenge your operational business strategy model to increase market penetration? Example: by implementing new tactical short-term offers/discounts per segment, etc.
6. Are you open to new ideas from others or are you the “know it all” person? What are you using – direct marketing or mixed marketing strategies?
7. Would or could you accept external help to plan quick business strategy wins for the next twelve months?
8. Are you synchronising your social media with your strategy marketing for better sales, support, time response or/and customer service?
9. Are you giving your business the strategic marketing vision and the tools to create awareness, visibility and profit?
10. Do you collect enough email subscribers or/and customer information in order to analyze, segment and sell more?
11. How do you go about understanding, prioritise and serving your customers needs?
12. Are you controlling and streamlining your internal department (s) or/and processes?
How to be highly competitive in business?
According to Michael Porter there is three generic strategies to establish a quick competitive advantage.
What is Competitive Advantage? Is the way one can “Create and Sustain Superior Performance” .
Business strategy competitive advantage
Differentiation – Achieved when developing products or services that provide superior value.
Cost leadership – is when you become the lowest cost vs competitor’s.
Focus – Go target a niche or specific industry segment, while ignoring all the rest.
You can pick two out of the three.
A business that attempts to cover/be all things will not perform well. Also, your people will be all over the place, ending up losing clarity of its own value proposition.
For example: a new ecommerce company
They would need to consider several aspects but above all it needs to map and articulate how it is going to add value up front. To attract the competitor’s audience but also how to differentiate themselves.
Whether their product is fancy or more expensive – it doesn’t matter, what’s important is to understand potential buyers, their needs, how and when, why… the will buy from you.
I would not compete on the price tag as it can be costly in the end, but rather on their product’s benefits, better qualities and explain why … through available channels.
Each of these choices will result in different strategic directions. To make these decisions, a business strategist must understand the context in which the brand operates.
They should ask questions such as: What are the factors that affect the business in short term? Which part should we prioritise first? etc.
This means – they need to first stop and go into a situational analysis mode. This must include the following four pillars:
- Their environment
- Their customers
- The business
- Their competitors.
Here are some hints and tools for conducting your company’s situational analysis.
Your business environment is the ( overall ) outside world in which the business operates. This can go from national or global economic situation (how well is the local industry performing these days?) to new opportunities in your industry.
Note that every business will sell to a specific market needing particular attention, based on the type of product or service it produces.
It all depends on the size of the business, but analysis of your business and its environment would need to consider the political, economic, social, technological, legal and environmental. Also called PESTLE.
If you’re selling locally, just focus on micro-marketing tactics (market insights, customer behavior and social media and (your) responsibility).
All these steps will of course influence a clear set of considerations and issues that are pertinent to the overall business marketing strategy.
Once you have a clear vue of what the business’ challenge is, you can move and define how your marketing strategy will help leverage the digital channels.
Be aware that digital marketing should not be considered as separate strategy from your core strategy – many people do this mistake.
Your business marketing strategy should be at all times iterating, listening and evolving.
The good news is that digital marketing builds on the principles of traditional marketing, but with a clear advantage, which is – see the opportunities and challenges almost real time. You can then adapt using analytics and other tools offered to you by the digital medium companies.
Control your business strategy
Gather all teams, (from marketing to sales ) and set a time to analyse the (keep it short and to the point) content published, sales, analytic conversions, social media data and front-line team struggles.
Decide (visualise the best performing parts) and communicate to all attendees, but also ensure employee representative (if you are over 50 employees) has a direct participation in the business strategy meeting.
Implement and emphasise the use of metrics as a strategic control tool. This will help gather vital data at different levels ensuring that the company is going in the right direction rather than be strict with many regulations.
This will stop your employee’s creativity.
Involve everyone from the front desk to the customer service helpline (if you have one) and make them aware that they are key people and you need them to help you update control processes.
Following the above, encourage your people to participate, caring about the business by offering/dropping ideas and solutions (Temp folder) that can make a difference.
Lead by example and demonstrate how improving business with management control tools can make work easier for everyone whilst boosting growth and confidence.
You’ve may well have noticed that every created product or service begins with a plan that is discussed and approved by your people. Its initial journey begins with controlled steps or phases, tested throughout its life cycle until it takes form or shape.
A successful business has to have a documented and structured business planning with practical and organised steps in order to reach the business ultimate goal.
If you fail to apply strategic marketing and planning principles, then you’re a failing business with no chance to succeed. Also make good use of social media channels, as these quickly become the best option to promote any product or service.
If you need help to accelerate business growth – Our marketing services are designed to help you improve and increase customer value. Schedule a call or call us now – 01252 679885 for an informal chat.
Tools to use:
- Create your customer journey (free) from scratch.
Image credit: courtesy of 89studio
Page updated: 13.01.19