Some studies indicate that consumer responses to traditional marketing approaches are becoming less predictable for businesses. According to a 2018 study, nearly 90% of online consumers in the United States researched products and brands online before visiting the store or making a purchase. The Global Web Index estimated that in 2018, a little more than 50% of consumers researched products on social media. Businesses often rely on individuals portraying their products in a positive light on social media, and may adapt their marketing strategy to target people with large social media followings in order to generate such comments. In this manner, businesses can use consumers to advertise their products or services, decreasing the cost for the company.
Strategic planning typically begins with a scan of the business environment, both internal and external, this includes understanding strategic constraints. An understanding of the external operating environment, including political, economic, social and technological which includes demographic and cultural aspects, is necessary for the identification of business opportunities and threats. This analysis is called PEST; an acronym for Political, Economic, Social and Technological. A number of variants of the PEST analysis can be identified in literature, including: PESTLE analysis (Political, Economic, Social, Technological, Legal and Environmental); STEEPLE (adds ethics); STEEPLED (adds demographics) and STEER (adds regulatory).
However, identifying the right strategies to market your business is often likened to rocket science. How do you get your message to the right audience and do it effectively? How do you boost visibility and increase sales while sustaining a profit with a converting offer? Today, with so much vying for our attention from social media, to search engine optimization, blogging and pay-per-click advertising, it's easy to see why most are ready to pull their hair out.
Growth of a business is critical for business success. A firm may grow by developing the market or by developing new products. The Ansoff product and market growth matrix illustrates the two broad dimensions for achieving growth. The Ansoff matrix identifies four specific growth strategies: market penetration, product development, market development and diversification.
Developing competitive strategy requires significant judgement and is based on a deep understanding of the firm's current situation, its past history and its operating environment. No heuristics have yet been developed to assist strategists choose the optimal strategic direction. Nevertheless, some researchers and scholars have sought to classify broad groups of strategy approaches that might serve as broad frameworks for thinking about suitable choices.
A carefully-cultivated marketing strategy should be fundamentally rooted in a company’s value proposition, which summarizes the competitive advantage a company holds over rival businesses. For example, Walmart is widely known as a discount retailer with “everyday low prices,” whose business operations and marketing efforts revolve around that idea.
Selling: Determine where and how you plan to sell to customers. Consumer product companies, for example, sell to wholesalers who then sell to retailers. In the industrial market, the buying process is longer and involves more decision-makers. You may sell locally, nationally, or even internationally, and some companies only sell their products or services online. Your distribution and sales channels impact who buys your products, when they buy them, and how they buy them.
Research and testing: Before you can take your idea public, you should perform marketing research and testing. Marketing departments usually test new product concepts with focus groups and surveys to gauge consumer interest, refine product ideas, and determine what price to set. Researching your competitors can help you set an optimal price and generate ideas for positioning your brand in an existing market. What Is Digital Marketing? And How Does It Work?