If you don’t have marketing, you might as well not have a product to sell, because who will know about it? Marketing goes beyond mere advertising and research, it decides what encompasses everything a brand is. The marketing landscape has changed so much in the last 10 years. Customers are demanding a more tailored experience and with the rise in the ability to collect an unprecedented amount of data, businesses are able to deliver.

A few posts on Facebook and an email campaign are not going to cut it anymore. Every business no matter how small, must have a detailed marketing strategy or risk failure. So, how does one build a marketing strategy? It isn’t as difficult as one might think.

What Are You Marketing?

If you can’t explain your product or service in one sentence, you are in trouble. In order to have a business, you must offer something somebody not only wants, but is willing to pay for. It seems like a no brainer, but many brands fail right out of the gate because they are not sure what they are actually offering customers. You need to know your product or service is in context with your market. Is your product offering convenience, safety, savings, or status? The first step towards marketing your brand is to know the product you are selling.

Who You Are Marketing To?

One of the biggest mistakes businesses make is thinking their product is for everyone. Even if you are selling toilet paper, you will need to pinpoint your exact target market. Figure out who exactly is using your product. What are their needs? Their values? What does their day look like? Answering these questions will help you cultivate the perfect messaging you will need to sell your product. Use language that feels comfortable to them.

If your audience is to broad segment them, create marketing campaigns tailored for each group.

How Are Marketing To Them?

Now that you know your product and audience, the next important thing is figuring out which platforms are best to reach these markets. Just remember that while your brand’s voice and image should remain constant across all platforms, your tone can and should change to match the context. For example, on social media you can be a little less formal in your approach then you would a mailer or even an email marketing campaign.

Digitally, it is all about joining the conversation. Be a good listener twice as much as you are putting out good content. People can spot disingenuous brands from a mile away. Know what your audience is passionate about and position yourself into their conversations in a way that is appropriate and adds value.

Before You Start Collecting Data, Know Your KPI’s

Data is everywhere, so much so it can become overwhelming.The best way to handle data overload is to know what KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) you wish to be tracking. Is it site visits? Interactions? Conversion rates? This will require some trial and error on your part. Once you know what your marketing funnel looks like, you can figure out which metrics are the best for calculating ROI.

Marketing is essential for any business. You will only succeed by creating a strong brand presence and developing a marketing strategy that will help you grow.