Strategic Marketing Process eBook by Moderandi Inc. - HTML preview

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Introduction

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times . . .”

Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities

The Internet has fundamentally changed the marketing function, causing the greatest shift in the field since the inven-tion of the television.

Digital marketing, social media and mobile devices have dramatically changed how we connect with our audiences.

They’ve created a tremendous opportunity, as well as a tremendous burden.

The marketing function has become complicated.

No longer can we rely on print, publicity and a media buyer to distribute our catchy ad campaign; marketing nowadays

requires heavy IT resources and an understanding of complex metrics to effectively (and profitably) connect with our

market—busier people, who have shorter attention spans, and often suffer from information overload.

Social media, search engine marketing, email marketing, mobile devices, website optimization, content marketing . . .

it’s impossible for an individual marketer to master them all, in addition to their traditional media activities. And then

there’s strategic planning, creative development and financial measurement.

It’s overwhelming. And it has caused many marketers to specialize, focusing on a single medium as their area of

expertise.

But the reality in most small to mid-size enterprises (SMEs) is that their marketing team only has room for a handful

of specialists, if any. Most don’t have the budget to employ experts in all the necessary marketing mediums needed

to effectively reach their audience. And even if they do have the budget, they often don’t have enough work to justify

hiring full-time specialists.

If you’re not a specialist hired solely for your expertise, you’re forced to know a little about a lot—to be well-versed in

how to use a combination of digital and traditional mediums to effectively meet your revenue goals.

For the typical marketer at an SME, it’s created a quandary:

Identifying the “right things” to be doing, and then learning how to do them well

Many would argue that it’s more difficult for marketers to determine what we should be doing, instead of how to do

things right.

If we’re not sure what we should be doing, it’s easy to dive into the hot new tactic of the moment . . . without having

a strong understanding of how it ties into the rest of our revenue-generation activities.

Specialization makes it easier to perform tactics well, but specialists aren’t necessarily the best resource to determine

strategy—the “right things” to be doing. Specialists typically favor their own area of expertise.

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The 30,000-Foot Approach

This guide defines a marketing process that you can use to put structure around your daily, monthly and annual revenue-generating activities. It will help you gain a better understanding of what you should be doing, and how it fits into your

overall strategy and departmental activities.

The guide groups common activities into three buckets, to clarify how the activities fit together in the revenue-generation

process:

Strategy: Your high-level conceptualization of how your offering will penetrate your market. This is your global, long-term, go-to-market strategy, and it may cover 5 to 10 years.

Tools: The collateral, assets, software and processes that you use during the tactical execution of your strategies.

Customer Acquisition: The marketing mediums and tactics that you use to execute your strategies to achieve your

goals.

Visualizing these buckets helps to reinforce the need for strategy before tactics. Search engine marketing is a marketing

medium in the customer acquisition bucket. It’s not a strategy—it’s a tactic, supported by tools (your website, sales

literature, messaging, etc.), which should be tied to a strategy.

Our process covers more than just traditional marketing and ties together all go-to-market business activities: strategic

planning, financial planning and measurement, creative development, marketing execution and sales, and customer

retention.

Since marketing is always evolving, don’t shy away from subjects and ideas that are new. Good marketers are always

learning.

Embrace marketing, and most importantly, enjoy creating value for your market and communicating the value of your

activities to your team.

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Table of Contents

Strategy

Customer Acquisition

1

Competitive Positioning

Planning

5

Brand Strategy

49 Sales Process

8 Pricing

52 Campaign Planning

11 Distribution Channels

56 Marketing Plan & Budget

Tools

Traditional

59 Traditional Media

15 Naming

62 Direct Mail

19 Messaging

65 Publicity

22 Corporate Identity

68 Telemarketing

24 Websites

71 Trade Shows & Events

27 Sales Tools & literature

30 Copywriting & Graphic Design

Digital

33 Vendor Selection

74 SEO and SEM

36 Recruiting

77 Online Advertising

39 Customer Relationship Management

80 Social Media

42 Customer lifetime Value

84 Email Marketing

45 Return on Investment

Management

87 Customer Retention

90 Business Development

93 Sales Management

96 What’s Next?

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Competitive Positioning

Strategy

COMPETITIVE POSITIONING

BranD Strategy

PriCing

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What sets your product, service or company apart from your competitors? What value do you provide and how is it

different from the alternatives?

Competitive positioning is about defining how you’ll differentiate your offering and create value for your market. It’s

about carving out a spot in the competitive landscape, putting your stake in the ground, and winning mindshare in the

marketplace—being known for a certain “something.”

A good positioning strategy is influenced by:

Market profile: Size, competitors, stage of growth

Customer segments or personas: Groups of prospects with similar wants & needs

Competitive analysis: Strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats in the landscape

Method for delivering value: How you deliver value to your market at the highest level

When your market clearly sees how your offering is different from that of your competition, it’s easier to influence the

market and win mindshare. Without differentiation, it takes more time and budget to entice the market to engage with

you; as a result, many companies end up competing on price—a tough position to sustain over the long term.

One of the key elements that many small to mid-size companies overlook is how they provide value at the highest level.

There are three essential methods for delivering value: operational excellence, product leadership and customer intimacy.

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Here is a hypothetical example of each:

Operational Excellence

Product Leadership

Customer Intimacy

Herringer customers don’t want bells

Orange Technology’s customers

Starboard’s market is flooded with

and whistles; they just want a good

care most about quality—they want

products at all points of the price

product at the lowest possible price.

the best product.

spectrum.

Herringer focuses on operational

Orange is completely dedicated

Yet, Starboard’s customers want

excellence so they can continually

to innovation and quality. They’re

more than a product off the shelf;

offer the lowest price in the market.

constantly working on product

they want customized solutions.

For example, they just patented

improvements and new ideas to

So Starboard’s strategy is to know

a new machine that dramatically

bring to market. They know what

as much as possible about their

lowers their manufacturing costs.

their competitors are doing and are

customers’ businesses so they can

They’re not trying to create new or

completely focused on staying one

deliver the correct solutions over

better products; they just want to

step ahead in order to capture a

time.

produce more volume at a lower

greater share of their market.

cost.

Starboard knows that they can’t

Orange’s brand and culture is all

just say “We offer great service.”

Herringer’s method for delivering

about product leadership; their

Starboard delivers on their strategy

value is operational excellence;

market recognizes it and is willing to

in every interaction with their market.

it’s a key driver of their long-term

pay for it.

strategy, and their positioning

reflects it.

These companies have a complete understanding of how they deliver value to their market. It’s part of their strategy,

which makes it easier for them to win a position in their respective markets.

Here’s another way to think of it:

You can provide the best offering, the cheapest offering, or the most comprehensive offering, but you can’t provide

all three.

Another key factor in your positioning is your competition. Sure, you need to put your stake in the ground and claim

your turf. But is it turf that you can own? Can you realistically beat your competition to own it?

Rather than leaving your market positioning to chance, establish a strategy. What you’re ultimately striving for is to be

known for something—to own mindshare of the market. This is typically easier for consumer product lines than for B2B

companies, because positioning a single product against three to five competitors is a simpler task than positioning a

mid-size B2B company with numerous offerings in numerous markets.

Owning a strong position in the market is challenging for most small- to mid-size companies, but you have a better

chance of achieving it if you clearly define a strategy and build your brand around it.

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Do you see your company in any of these scenarios?

Best Case

Neutral Case

Worst Case

You provide a one-of-a-kind offering

Your offering is somewhat different

Your market sees little difference

that your market needs and wants;

from—and better than—those

between you and your competitors,

you have strong differentiation from

of your competitors, and you

and your name is not recognized.

your competitors.

communicate that difference

(though probably not as consistently

Because of this, you have to spend

Your market knows your name and

as you should).

precious budget and time educating

associates it with that “one thing”

the market at each touch point. You

that you’re known for.

Some of your market knows your

often end up competing solely on

name, but they describe you in

price, though your business isn’t

And you continually deliver on

different ways; you’re not yet known

optimized to continue profitably

it—perception is reality—so you

for that “one thing,” but at least

with falling prices.

continue to win mindshare in your

you’re occasionally recognized.

market, defending your turf and

You have to fight long and hard for

influencing your market.

You know that you could make a

every sale. It’s very difficult to meet

greater impact on your market with

your revenue and profit goals.

stronger positioning.

How Competitive Positioning Aligns with Strategy

The concept of positioning is entirely strategic. It’s the first element to address in strategic marketing, and everything

else is aligned to it. Jack Trout and Al Ries defined the concept years ago in their landmark book Positioning: The Battle

for Your Mind.

While the concept is simple—to be known for a single thing in the mind of the customer—the road to achieve it can

be complex. It’s best to have a clear understanding of your market—demographics, segments, their pains, how well

you and your competitors provide solutions, how you truly provide value, and your strengths and weaknesses—before

making this decision.

A fully-informed decision is vital, because you’ll allocate a significant amount of resources in your journey to achieve it.

Key Concepts & Steps

Profile your market

› Document the size of your market.

› Identify your major competitors and how they’re positioned.

› Determine whether your market is in the introductory, growth, mature, or declining stage of its life. This “lifecycle

stage” affects your strategy.

Segment your market

› Understand the problems that your market faces. Talk with prospects and customers, or conduct research if you

have the time, budget and opportunity. Uncover their true wants and needs—you’ll learn a great deal about what

you can deliver to solve their problems and beat your competitors.

› Group your prospects into “segments” or “personas” that have similar problems and can use your offering in similar

ways. By grouping prospects into segments or personas, you can efficiently market to each group.

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Define how you deliver value

› At the highest level, there are three core types of value that a company can deliver: operational efficiency (the lowest

price), product leadership (the best product), or customer intimacy (the best solution & service). Determine which

one you’re best equipped to deliver; your decision is your method for delivering value.

Evaluate your competition

› list your competitors. Include any that can solve your customers’ problems, even if the competitors’ solutions are

much different from yours—they’re still your competition.

› Rate yourself and your direct competitors based on operational efficiency (price), product leadership and customer

intimacy. It’s easy to think you’re the best, so be as impartial as you can be.

Stake a position

› Identify areas where your competition is vulnerable.

› Determine whether you can focus on those vulnerable areas—they’re major opportunities.

› Make a decision on how to position your offering or company.

Select the mindshare you want to own, and create your strategy to achieve it

› Review the components of your market and evaluate what you want to be known for in the future. Condense all

your research and analysis into the “one thing” that you want to be known for, and design your long-term strategy

to achieve it.

Next Steps

Develop a brand strategy to help you communicate your positioning and solidify your value every time you touch your

market. Together, these two strategies are the essential building blocks for your business.

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Brand Strategy

Strategy

ComPetitiVe PoSitioning

BRAND STRATE

A

GY

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How do you define a brand? Is it a logo, a name or a slogan, or a graphic design or a color scheme?

Your brand is the entire experience that your market has with your offering or company. It’s what you stand for, a

promise that you make, and the personality that you convey.

And while it includes your logo, your color palette and your slogan, these are only creative elements that convey your

brand. In reality, your brand lives in the day-to-day interactions you have with your market:

› The images you convey

› The messages you deliver on your website and in your campaigns

› The way your employees interact with customers

› A customer’s opinion of you versus your competition

Branding is crucial for products and services sold in huge consumer markets. It’s also important in B2B because it

helps you stand out from your competition. It brings your competitive positioning to life; it defines you as a certain

“something” in the mind of your market.

Think about successful consumer brands like Apple, Disney or Starbucks. You probably know what each brand represents. Now imagine that you’re competing against one of these brands. If you want to capture significant market share,

start with a strong positioning and brand or you won’t be successful.

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If you’re B2C, it’s likely that a few brands dominate your market. If you’re B2B, there may or may not be a strong brand

in your market. But when you put two companies up against each other, the one that represents something valuable

and memorable will have an easier time reaching, engaging, and converting customers. It’s a perception—and for most,

perception equals reality.

Successful branding creates “brand equity”—the amount of money that customers are willing to pay just because it’s

your brand. Brand equity is an intangible asset that can be tracked on your balance sheet, and can make your company

more valuable over the long term.

Instead of allowing your market to brand you, strive to have their experience with your brand align with your strategy.

Best Case

Neutral Case

Worst Case

Your market recognizes your name,

The market may not have a

You don’t have a brand strategy

knows exactly what you deliver,

consistent view or impression of

and it shows. It’s more difficult to

and you’re known for that certain

your offering, but you think that it’s

communicate with your market and

“something” in their mind.

positive overall.

convince them to buy. They don’t

have a clear impression of your

You deliver a consistent experience

You haven’t thought a lot about

offering or why it’s better.

that the market has come to expect,

branding because it doesn’t seem

both visually and operationally, at

necessarily relevant, but you admit

What you do, what you say, and

every market interaction.

that you can do a better job of

how you say it, may contradict each

communicating consistently with

other and confuse your market.

Customer acquisition happens

the market.

quickly because your brand

Competitors who communicate

influences your market.

You’re not helping yourself, but

effectively have a better shot at

you’re not hurting yourself either.

winning customers.

How Brand Strategy Aligns with Strategy

At its title suggests, brand strategy is completely strategic; it’s your plan for how to achieve your desired positioning—

how to become known for that certain “something.” It describes the consistent experience that you desire to deliver

to your market at each touch point.

Key Concepts & Steps

Audit your existing brand

› If you have an existing brand, conduct a survey of your market and your stakeholders to understand how they view

your brand. This will give you an understanding of where you are and how much work needs to be done to get to

where you want to be.

› Before creating your survey, outline what you think your brand should stand for, so you have criteria to evaluate

against the responses. If you’re not sure how to create your brand criteria, complete the next steps, and then conduct your audit.

Define your brand architecture

› Evaluate the features and benefits of your product / service. A feature is an attribute—a color, a configuration; a

benefit is what that feature does for the customer.

› Identify which benefits are emotional (instead of functional)—the most powerful brand strategies tap into emotions,

even among business buyers.

› Review the emotional benefits and boil them down to your brand pillars—the three things that your brand should

mean to your market.

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Define your brand experience

› Think of your brand as a person with a distinct personality. Describe him or her, and then convey these traits in

everything that you do and create.

› Determine your brand promise—the one thing that you deliver each time you interact with your market.

Write your brand story and positioning statement

› Write your 25-word positioning statement that conveys the essence of your brand. It conveys who you are, what you

do, for whom, and one or two emotional benefits from interacting with your brand. Use it throughout your marketing

materials.

› Write your brand story. This should convey your personality, your purpose—the difference that you’re trying to make

with your product, service or company. It builds credibility, differentiates you from your competition, and gives the

market a reason to listen to you. Seth Godin says that the two elements that must come together in a brand story are:

› The story you can confidently tell

› The worldview the buyer tells herself

When those align, you win.

Define your brand visual and operational requirements

› Choose colors, fonts and other visual elements that match your personality.

› Determine how your employees will interact with your market to convey your personality and ensure your brand

“lives” within your company.

Next Steps

Together with your competitive positioning strategy, your brand strategy is the essence of what you represent. A great

brand strategy helps you communicate more effectively with your market, so be true to it in every interaction you have

with your prospects and customers.

For example, you’ll reinforce your brand strategy through your pricing, your distribution channels, your name and corporate identity, your messages, your literature, your website and your marketing campaigns.

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Pricing

Strategy

ComPetitiVe PoSitioning

BranD Strategy

PRICING

DiStriBution CHannelS

toolS

naming

meSSaging

iDentity

WeBSiteS

literature

DeSign & CoPy

VenDorS

reCruiting

Crm

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CuStomer aCquiSition

Planning

SaleS ProCeSS

CamPaign Planning

marKeting Plan

traditional

Digital

management

traDitional meDia

Seo & Sem

CuStomer retention

DireCt mail

online aDVertiSing

BuSineSS DeVeloPment

PuBliCity

SoCial meDia

SaleS management

telemarKeting

email marKeting

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Price is one of the classic “4 Ps” of marketing (product, price, place, promotion). Since price is one of the 4Ps, it’s a key

element of every B2C marketing strategy. Yet in many B2B companies, marketers aren’t involved in pricing strategy.

Pricing is a complex subject—there are many factors to consider, both short- and long-term. For example, your prices

need to:

› Reflect the value that you provide versus your competitors

› Consider what the market will truly pay for your offering

› Enable you to reach your revenue and market share goals

› Maximize your profits (either short-term or long-term)

When you have a truly unique offering with little direct competition, it can be challenging to establish your price. Create

a competitive analysis and strong strategy to understand:

› What your prospects might pay for other solutions to their problems

› Where your price should fall in relation to theirs

When your pricing, positioning, brand strategy and distribution channels are aligned, you’re in the best situation to

maximize revenue and profits.

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Do you see your company in one of these scenarios?

Best Case

Neutral Case

Worst Case

Company A provides a premium

Company B charges an average

Company C provides business

product, sold through carefully-price for an average product.

consulting services.

selected retail outlets.

When they’re behind their sales

To grow, they drop their hourly

Their pricing is typically 15% above

targets, individual reps are given the

rates by up to 40%. This gives

the competition—they’re the most

green light to discount if needed to

them access to an entire new set of

expensive product in their class.

meet their sales quotas.

clients.

Their demand curve is relatively

Management doesn’t want to get

low rates mean they can’t afford

inelastic, meaning that their market

in a price war, but is willing to

the same top-tier consulting talent.

isn’t that sensitive to price. Much

ensure that they hit their short-term

of that results from the carefully

numbers.

The quality of their offering suffers,

selected positioning and branding

and they end up providing mediocre

over the past five years.

Management knows that they could

service for both markets.

spend more in R&D to differentiate

Company A’s products never go on

their offering and have greater

By lowering the price of their

sale, and retailers strictly adhere to

pricing power, but they haven’t yet

“prestige” brand to access a new

pricing rules and brand guidelines.

committed the budget to do so.

market, Company C has increased

its revenue, while reducing its profit

margin and damaging its brand.

How Pricing Aligns with Strategy

It’s best to define your positioning, create your brand strategy, and identify your distribution channels before you develop your pricing strategy. By doing so, you’ll ensure that your pricing reflects your value and reinforces your brand.

For example, if your method for delivering value is product leadership, you shouldn’t discount heavily or compete on

price; you should also minimize pricing conflicts with any channel partners.

Your pricing influences how the market perceives your offering. If you’re perceived as a commodity, you must either

change the market’s perception via a new positioning strategy, or compete on price and focus on innovating to keep

costs low so you can still make a profit.

Key Concepts & Steps

Align your pricing strategy to your method for delivering value

Your price sends a strong message to your market—it needs to be consistent with the value you’re delivering.

› If your method for delivering value is operational efficiency, then your price needs to be extremely competitive.

› If your method for delivering value is product leadership or customer intimacy, a low price sends the wrong message.

After all, if a luxury item isn’t expensive, is it really a luxury?

Understand your cost structure and profitability goals

Companies calculate these costs differently, so verify the exact calculations your company uses for:

Cost of goods sold (COGS): the cost to physically produce a product or service

Gross profit: the difference between the revenue you earn on a product and the cost to physically produce it

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In addition, understand how much profit the company needs to generate. With this knowledge, you’ll be far more effective when considering discount promotions—you’ll know exactly how low you can go and still be profitable.

Analyze your competitors’ prices

look at a wide variety of direct and indirect competitors to gauge where your price falls. If your method for delivering

value is operational efficiency, evaluate your competitors on a regular basis to ensure that you remain competitive.

Determine price sensitivity

A higher price typically means lower volume. Yet you may generate more total revenue and/or profit with fewer units

at the higher price; it depends on how sensitive your customers are to price fluctuations. If they’re extremely sensitive,

you may be better off at a much lower price with substantially greater volume.

Estimate how sensitive your customers are to fluctuations—it will help you determine the right price and volume combination. More importantly, you can estimate how a price change can impact your revenue.

Next Steps

Once you’ve finalized your pricing strategy, you can review your tools to make sure they support your strategy. Then,

dive into your sales process and campaign planning.

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Distribution Channels

Strategy

ComPetitiVe PoSitioning

BranD Strategy

PriCing

DISTRIBUTION CHANNELS

toolS

naming

meSSaging

iDentity

WeBSiteS

literature

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reCruiting

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