Marketing strategies identify the approach a company will take to leverage its strengths and opportunities and overcome its weaknesses and threats. A formal marketing strategy has many positive implications for an organization, including: a focus on specific target market segments, effective positioning relative to competitors, the identification of appropriate communication channels and messages, and a focus on metrics to monitor results.
Focus on Specific Target Market Segments
Without a marketing strategy, companies may be prone to focus on delivering products and services to everyone. By focusing on specific target market segments, companies can narrow their focus to specifically target specific market segments that are most likely to be interested in what they have to offer. Narrowing the market also can help to maximize marketing communication efforts by avoiding trying to convey everything to everyone. Specific market segment identification should include the consideration of both demographic (age, sex, geography) and psychographic (lifestyle, interests and attitudes) characteristics. The more companies know about the consumers they are hoping to reach, the more effective they will be at convincing them to buy.
Effective Positioning Relative to Competitors
Successful marketing strategies will identify the specific attributes that a company has that are better or different than what its competitors have to offer. Going into the market to offer something that everybody else offers does not serve to differentiate a company effectively enough to achieve preference in the minds of consumers. A marketing strategy focused on identifying a company's key benefits, compared to competitive benefits, can serve as a starting point for focusing on key messages to deliver to identified consumers.
Identifying Appropriate Communication Channels and Messages
Knowing who the consumers are a company wishes to target, what their other options (competitive products and services) are, and how what they have to offer is different or better than the competitors can help companies focus on the development of compelling marketing messages designed to elicit a purchase decision. In addition, a clear understanding of the target market can aid in developing specific communication channels that are most likely to reach that market, whether those channels involve traditional (mass media) or new media (Internet, social media) channels.
Focus on Metrics to Monitor Results
A critical element of a marketing strategy are metrics designed to monitor results and adjust strategies as necessary. Metrics might include such things as level of awareness, level of preference, number of inquiries or sales. Monitoring metrics on a regular basis, by communication channel, can identify those techniques that are working effectively and should be maintained or increased -- as well as those techniques that are not generating results and should be modified or eliminated.